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Tuesday 8 January 2013

Dinner at ME London's new Steak Restaurant: An m-i-STK

We often get asked why we only ever write good things about restaurants and bars that we've been to. A few people are sceptical that this may be because we're being given free things, or being paid to big up these places. Others have asked if it's because we're a bit eager to please and don't want to offend people.

Let us assure you right now that we will never say that we like somewhere unless we genuinely do.

We usually don't write bad things about restaurants and bars because when we have a disappointing meal or a round of so-so cocktails, we scrub the culprit behind the rubbishness from the 3BM Little Black Book, vow never to go there again, and rather than dwelling on it and blogging about it, we hit up the next spot on our must-visit list in search of somewhere a little bit awesome to share with you and each other instead. The blog is first and foremost a place for us girls to write about the things that we love, not somewhere for us to moan or whinge or write nasty things.

Having said that, just before Christmas, for the first time since we started the blog, we had a restaurant experience so rubbish that we felt it was our duty to write a less than glowing review about somewhere we certainly don't love...

I'd been in London less than 24 hours and the London Mice had organised a welcome home, Christmassy Saturday evening out including lots of lovely food, plenty of cocktails and surprise tickets for a festive film screening.

However, this was one of those nights when things just weren't working in our favour from the very beginning.

All three of us were feeling either nauseous (noro-virus hangover) or had a sore throat/cold (laryngitis hangover). Not a great start.

I mentioned in passing that I'd watched the Christmas film that we were supposed to be seeing a couple of days before. Surprise festive film screening scrapped.

And at 4pm we got a call to say that John Salt, the restaurant that we'd booked for dinner, didn't have enough staff cover and that they'd have to cancel our booking. Dinner plans down the drain.

Cut to the three of us in Selfridges simultaneously trying to finish our last minute present shopping, snap up a couple of bargains in the sale and ring around restaurants trying to find somewhere to feed us on the Saturday night before Christmas.

After being told that everywhere that we could think of was fully booked, suddenly inspiration struck and we decided to try a steak restaurant all three of us had recently read a lot about in the press, the newly opened STK. Quick call - bingo - table available at 9pm! Things were finally starting to go our way, or so we thought...

At around 8:30pm, all shopped out and laden down with yellow bags, we pulled up outside brand new hotel, ME London, slap bang in the middle of theatreland, the home of STK. Maybe the fact that it's a hotel restaurant and in a tourist-central spot should have set alarm bells ringing or perhaps they should have started when we first read that the restaurant's USP is that it's a female-friendly steakhouse...nevertheless, in we bundled, hungry, thirsty and ready for an evening of sister catch-up.

Getting our priorities straight, we settled straight into the bar area and ordered a round of cocktails. A couple of sips in, we decided we wouldn't be ordering any more cocktails. Our drinks weren't spectacularly awful, but they were sickly sweet, artificial and generally not the sort of cocktail you'd expect a decent London bar to shake up.

Putting the cocktails behind us, we moved through to the restaurant, a large monochrome space all white leather, perspex and black marble. Sleek and shiny but just a little bit nineties nightclub. We've heard that the Miami STK is a Kardashian fav and we could definitely imagine Kim & Kanye tucked in the corner discussing potential baby names beginning with K...

Having not seen each other since September, we were far too busy babbling away to pay too much attention to the menu.  After we'd asked the waitress for just a couple more minutes five times, we hastily ordered a bottle of Malbec, a couple of starters to share and three steaks before getting round to the serious business of sister photos...

Our meal started well with a baby loaf of brioche bread served up with a scrummy basil oil.

Next up, tuna sashimi so good that it was gone before I'd managed to get my camera out. Tuna devoured, out came three baby Wagyu burgers. These babies were little mouthfuls of juicy, truffly deliciousness, the out and out star of the meal and the point at which we should have called for the bill and left...

Because next came the steaks. We'd ordered three New York Strip steaks, one to be cooked medium-rare and the other two rare. What arrived were three medium-well steaks overcooked to a very unappealing grey and a wellington boot chewiness. Admittedly, we should have sent these back but excited to see each other, we were chattering away and hadn't really realised quite how bad our meals were until we'd all chewed on hearty forkfuls. Sides of broccolini and new potatoes were fine but nothing to shout about. While the lobster mac and cheese had us divided, Mini and I liked it, Middle hated it.

Deciding that we should give STK the opportunity to salvage the meal, we flicked through the dessert menu. We'd read a review earlier in the day which had raved about the Fairground dessert so we ordered one of these to share.

Six miniature fairground themed desserts arrived in a stainless steel big wheel serving plate. From candyfloss to baby toffee apples and donuts to cones of popcorn. I'm not quite sure what we were expecting, but this mish mash of sickly sweet treats wasn't enough to pull the meal back. In fact after a couple of nibbles we pushed the whole tacky, car crash of a dessert aside. At this point Mini Mouse commented that she was pleased that we'd ordered dessert, because until that point she'd been happy to ignore the bad steaks, the poor service (verging on rude) and the club music that had gradually been ramping up since we'd arrived until we had to shout to hear each other. 

The final straw? The bill. When we finally managed to flag the waitress down to to ask to pay, we discovered that the meal had come in at a whopping £234.56. Yes we'd ordered 3 courses and yes we'd have cocktails and a bottle of wine but just over £78 each seems pretty excessive for a steakhouse that can't cook steak. 

"Not your Daddy's steakhouse" is the STK tagline, well they at least got that bit right, a week later Daddy Mouse cooked up four Rib-eyes at home that would have made the STK NY Strips blush. Lesson learnt! From now on we'll be steering well-clear of 'girl-friendly' and eating our meat in big, rugged, manly places that actually know how to handle a big slab of bloody meat...

STK? Save your cash girls and head to Hawksmoor instead.


  1. Next time you go out for a dinner, I would suggest that you should try out a restaurant that offers Asian cuisine. I will guarantee that you and your friends will enjoy it.

  2. Pretty sure you enjoyed your night out. I mean, just by looking at the photos I think, you all have fun.