not just any old iron

I’ve been on a break. It’s been a bit of a long break and although I could make excuses, I won’t. However I’ve been inspired to return to my blogging ways, and the source of my inspiration was a certain new restaurant in town – Flat Iron.

Flat Iron started life as a pop up in London this summer, and after a successful stint in this format, has found itself a more permanent home on Beak Street in Soho. The concept behind Charlie Carroll’s (ex-Wahaca adviser), Flat Iron, is that good steak shouldn’t have to be expensive. And to this end, after scouring the country for decent cuts of meat from decent animals from decent suppliers, Flat Iron hit on their namesake – the flat iron steak – which is a cut of steak (a little bit of desktop research tells me) that has, up until recently, been relatively unknown and relatively unused – due to the way that it is cut (with the grain, rather than cross grain) and tough connective tissue that runs through it. Universities in the US have spent time looking into the best way of cutting and presenting the meat – the conclusion of their research being what we now know as the flat iron steak (but AKA butlers’ steak in the UK and oyster blade steak in the lands of the Antipodes) – so called because of its resemblance in shape and size to an old fashioned flat iron. The flat iron cut is becoming popular because it can be used to sell a less expensive steak, from a more expensive animal (e.g. kobe or Wagyu). At Flat Iron they serve rare British beef breeds such as the Devon Red and White Park.

Anyway, butchery lesson over, the menu at Flat Iron is a lesson in simplicity. For £10 you can have a flat iron steak and salad (lambs leaf with dressing, served in a small glass), a choice of 4 £3 sides and a choice of 4 £1 sauces. It’s recommended that the steak is cooked medium rare – requests to have it rarer than that were ignored (and quite rightly so it turns out).

I’d like to say that the star of the show was the steak itself. However I feel it has to share the stage with the side of chips fried in duck fat, which were AH-MAY-ZING – quite honestly the best chips I’ve had in a long time (I’d like to say, ever, but I might not be doing triple-cooked chips of Heston-fame enough justice).

We also had a side of roasted aubergine (good) and a side of salad with blue cheese, pecan nuts and candied lemon (really good). But the main event was obviously the steak that presented before us and to be eaten with a mini butcher’s knife (which was actually unessential as it had been sliced into bite sized pieces anyway). The meat, however, was lovely – maybe it had a bit of chewiness/toughness to it that you wouldn’t get off, say, arump steak, but there was pleasure in chewing this steak, because every chew emitted another burst of steaky loveliness into your mouth. And this was all washed down by a carafe of delicious red wine.

I really cannot fault the food here – hence why I’ve been inspired into blogging again. Not only that, but I’ve been recommending this place to everyone since I’ve been and I’m beginning to sound like a broken record. So here at least I can say it once, and tell you all.

As is the current trend in London at the moment, you can’t book a table at Flat Iron and given that I went on a Monday, not that many people have heard about the joint yet and it was 90% full, I think there will be times when a bit of queuing action will be needed. Having said that, there is a bar in the basement for you to refresh yourself whilst you wait. And it’s definitely worth the wait.

p.s. apologies for the dark quality of the photos, but it the restaurant was dimly lit and the flash on camera gave the food a harsh quality which didn’t do it justice.Image