Outside Sophie's you find little drinking tables, great for a sunny day on this quiet street
Originally uploaded by Manne.
For our weekly Saturday after gym lunch we went to Sophie's Steakhouse on Wellington Street near Covent Garden (there is another branch in Chelsea).
Reason for going was the bold statement by @Catty made on her blog a few weeks ago: "Sophie's Steakhouse: maybe the best steak to have touched these lips (ok, it's the second best)"... Even if just the second best, still a bloody big claim considering the fact that Hawksmoor and Goodman's usually reign supreme in the London steak department.
Of course we had to go.
Arriving just before 14:00 the place was quite busy with the Saturday lunch trade. We didn't have to wait but were taken to a nice table in the back, overlooking the restaurant, straight away.
Although a lot of people noise levels were comfortable. Music playing in the background (Jamie Cullum) was at a perfect level to be heard but easily ignored.
You can tell there is a lot of New York inspiration in the decorations (photo).
Exposed brickwork, naked light bulbs in galvanized metal holders, creative lighting arrangements around the air vents under the ceiling... It works though, the place looks great.
Love the huge flower pot (photo) that occupies the centre of the front dining room (there is another, even bigger dining area in the back, this restaurant clearly seats a LOT of people).
As we sat down we were brought a generous plate of really nice salami, and were asked what we wanted to drink. This is the only part about going to restaurants after the gym I don't like, I just can't bring myself to get a cocktail. So Virgin Mary for me (photo) and a chocolate milkshake for Wendy (photo) along with a big bottle of sparkling. Water.
There are a lot of exciting items on the menu (forgot to snap a photo, dang) and a few standing lunch deals like "Steak and frites with a glass of red, 9.95". Great value!
However, we also found a more disturbing "Sunday means kids eat for free" offer, so clearly going here on Sundays for brunch is out the door. Shame, since they serve weekend brunch to 16:00, commendable!
Ribs were cooked to fall-off-the-bone-perfection, succulent and satisfying. They were however served smothered in what I can only assume was the Sophie's Steakhouse sauce which while pleasant mainly tasted of tomato. I prefer my ribs more smoky, sticky and spicy. I would rate these ribs over Bodean's though!
Courgette fritters are a current infatuation of mine and these were great, even better than Byron's (Byron, your chocolate milkshake kicks Sophie's ass though).
That said, if you really want courgette fries perfection, go to Polpetto on Dean Street in Soho where chef Rachel has the most fantastic secret recipe.
Onion rings were more batter than onion, and simply bland. Not worth the effort.
We came for the meat though, and Wendy ordered the 16oz sirloin steak, rare. Steak came with fries, and wow, what fries they were. Rough cut, cooked with skin on and without a doubt some of the best fries I have had in London.
Cutting into the steak, we were very happy diners indeed.
Cooked just right, griddle seared outside with a glistening crimson core. Seasoning was excellent, and while very rare, it was still heated through. Was it the best steak in London though?
For puddings we had Eton Mess and since menu boasted home made ice cream a bowl of coffee ice cream and apple sorbet.
At this stage someone at Sophie's Steakhouse picked up that we were in the restaurant, as @sophiessteaks tweeted me, kindly asking if we wanted a drink. Again, damn this gym malarkey! Just as well, I would never have been able to reply "sure, bring me a vodka espresso martini" over Twitter anyway...
While the Eton Mess was brilliant, lots of fresh quartered strawberries and full of chewy meringue pieces, the ice cream was total #fail. Apple sorbet was ok, but nothing special, coffee ice cream was at first bite full of ice crystals and when going for a second bite my spoon simply was not enough cutlery to deal with the ice cube at the bottom of the scoop. Not very enjoyable, should have tried the cheesecake instead!
All in all a very nice Saturday late lunch, and we were really happy with our meal, not least thanks to the friendly, smiling service and quick delivery of all orders.
Noise: none. Sound levels very comfortable, maintaining a conversation was effortless.
Menu: inspiring and a good read.
Loos: didn't go.
Price: £67.10 (excluding service, which was not added to the bill automatically).
Will we be back: Yes, definitely. Have to try that Lobster and Avocado Club.