We were having dinner at Flat Iron off Beak Street, which is a wonderful, wonderful place. It’s just fucking typical that as soon as I proclaim all over the internet that Carnaby Street is full of overpriced crap I go to two amazing places within twenty-four hours of each other, but that is life. Decent restaurants in the area are like buses, apparently. Or boys.
Flat Iron is famous for having only one thing on the menu, making it half the length of London’s second shortest at Burger & Lobster. That one thing is steak, and it’s (very nearly) as cheap as the chips.
(In all fairness, they do also do specials – today a cut of the famously succulent Wagu beef at a bargainous £18.)
We arrived at about 7pm on a Wednesday fully expecting to queue. Flat Iron doesn’t take reservations, and the restaurant is actually quite little despite its overwhelming popularity. We were given a buzzy coaster thing and ushered downstairs to the basement bar, where they tried to serve us red wine in tumblers. Call me a crotchety old bastard, but when I drink wine I want it in a wine glass. Especially at £20 a bottle.
The wait was only about twenty minutes – half of what they predicted – and they made up for their tumbler gaffe by immediately pouring us glasses of iced water at the table. I love it when restaurants do this; it’s one of the few American things that should be wholeheartedly embraced in the UK. I hate asking for tap water and damned if I’ll buy mineral at a 900% markup.
On to the steak, then. Not much to say to be honest, except that it was very good. Generously proportioned, juicy, well-cooked. To be expected really; you’d hope they’d had enough practice. The steak comes with a well-dressed side salad, and there are plenty of other options on offer, including chips (£2.50 – standard fries, nothing to write home about) and creamed spinach (£3.00 – dreamy). And, of course, there are plenty of sauces to roll your morsels of tender cowflesh around in – Béarnaise, peppercorn, horseradish and homemade salsa at a pound a pop.
Less than £15 a head later and we were stuffed, but there’s always room for an, er, aerated caramel flavour pudding served from a pressurised can. It’s the only thing they do and is squirted into a comedy-sized miniature mug at the table:
Yes, that is a little dish of sea salt you sprinkle all over your caramel creme. You’d think it would taste like shit, coming from a can, which is why I declined until I tried my dinnermates’ desserts. Holy shit. It’s homemade, and more like a sweet whipped cream than the disgusting chemical kind of I was imagining. And it’s costs £2.50. TWO POUNDS FIFTY. That’s practically the cost of a wee at Euston these days.
The nicest thing was that even though the restaurant was small and they were very busy, we weren’t rushed to finish and pay up. You’d expect them to be boshing everyone in and out to get as many bums on seats as possible, but it wasn’t like that at all. Top marks all round, to be honest. Except for the tumbler thing, but considering the great food, great service and rock-bottom prices, I guess I can forgive that.
We visited Flat Iron on a Wednesday evening and waited about twenty minutes for a table. We got change from a twenty for a steak, two sides, a dessert and a tip, and the cheapest bottle of wine is £16. You can sign up to its mailing list on its website here, and find the restaurant on Beak Street, W1F 9RW.
Author: Emily Gibson
Emily is an urban adventurer, blogger and
glutton foodie on an epic quest to uncover the best things to eat, drink and do in London. She lives in East London and loves ceviche, cycling and magic shows. Lifelong nemeses include beetroot, beards and wine served in tumblers.