Monday, 7 July 2014

Feast with the Beast

I can't remember the last time I was this excited about writing a review. This beast is special.

From the guys behind Goodman and Burger & Lobster, came another specialised menu restaurant of steak and crab. The underground restaurant is hidden behind Oxford Street with no marked entrance. I only took a punt with the massive bronze bear in the hallway and was invited to take the lift down to the restaurant. I was greeted by a huge tank of swimming Norwegian king crabs, next to slabs of beautiful beef being dry-aged. 

As I was sipping on my Knickerbocker at the bar, Divy offered me a quick intro to see the custom made Texan grill; glaring coal in the middle of the grill rocking the temperature up to 6-700 degrees, searing the dictionary-thick steaks in no time. To quote Divy, it's a beast. 

The dining room is organised by 3 long benches with overhanging medieval style candelabras to create a Hogwarts / Oxbridge banquet ambiance. This works well for groups, and couples are mostly sat beside each other. Some say it's slightly awkward to have strangers sitting opposite them during a date; I don't mind it much as it allows another type of casual intimacy, and it also meant I didn't need to shout across the bench.

Our feast began with the a quarter-wheel of Parmesan, pickled artichokes and onions and olives, served on a silver tray. We weren't sure what to do with the balsamic vinegar and olive oil, though apparently the viscous, sweet vinegar is supposed to go really well with the powerful and nutty cheese. We went easy on the nibbles to save space for the steak and crab to come, and I was a tad conscious of having onion and cheesy breath. 

About half an hour later the first of the two mains arrived - The steaks are dry aged for 30-60 days, on our evening, this beautiful hunk of meat was dry aged for 6 weeks, plenty of time to pack the flavours in. Approx 700-800g of rib-on-bone per pair, I think they throw in some sirloin for the third leg. I love my rib-eyes. Our server recommended medium as opposed to my usual medium rare, because it allows more melting of the rich marbling on the Nebraskan steaks - okay. 

The two-inch thick cut came sliced to show off its ruby red centre, piping hot and no leakage on the skillet. And this could be the juiciest and most flavoursome rib-eye in the history of beef - exploding with fatty goodness and meaty succulence, it's the highest quality of steak one could only dream of and simply exquisite. The truffle sauce was also delicious though not necessary. All came with perfectly dressed leaves and smoked heritage tomatoes.

I didn't think it was possible, but things got even better with the arrival of the Norwegian king crab. The long legs of the crab were incredibly fleshy, just some gentle tearing of the cracked shell exposes the long sword of muscles, which were moist and firm, oozing the freshness and sweetness of the Arctic Sea. The taste of fresh crab is just unbeatable, so delicate, so clean and sweet; it quite effortlessly blows fresh lobster out of the water. It came with two sauces, creamy lemon butter and a lighter soy sauce with sweet chilies, and some excellent roast carrot, beans and celeriac. 

I wish I could rewind this dinner and put it on loop.

The feast finished with a choice of desserts: lemon mousse and deconstructed cheesecake. They were pretty unnecessary. If we could have it our way, we'd have the king crab as starters, beef and more king crab and then finish with a serving of king crab. Apparently that wasn't an option - what a shame.

At £75 per head without drinks, Beast is not an everyday diner. And yea okay it's pretty steep, but honestly I thought it was fair. For the quality of steak and crab they offer, it's definitely worth forking out for. Service was friendly and staff were passionate about the food they were serving, the mains were out-of-this-world and there a fun vibe about the place. Like I said, some may not like their concept and sitting arrangement, but for the more open-minded who enjoys something special, Beast is THE place.

3 Chapel Place
Tel: 0207 496 1816

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