How do you like your steak? Medium? Rare? Well-done? (If it’s the latter, you need to read this more than anyone else. In fact, get a pad and pen and take notes. Seriously.)
I love my steak rare and juicy. This does pose a bit of a problem though. You see, one man’s rare is another man’s medium-rare. So I’ve had a tough as cardboard sirloin, and then the same cut literally seared and still cold in the middle. Chewing on fresh-from-the-slaughterhouse cuts of beef, no matter how pricey, just isn’t for me.
So when the Gaslight Grill promised good food and even better steaks, I was wary. Plenty of places have left me massively disappointed. I won’t name names, but a certain place in Clerkenwell needs to step up its game.
The Gaslight Grill is located behind the Lost Angel, a trendy little bar on Battersea Park Road, a stroll away from the park and the river too. It’s intimate, dimly lit and seats around 30 people. With a glass ceiling and chain links, incandescent-style decorative light bulbs hanging from the ceiling, and eclectic giant paintings it’s a beautiful place.
We were seated next to the fireplace, which meant a bit of a wobbly chair due to the slate hearth and wooden floors being uneven, but I was far too interested in the decor and colour of paint (I think it’s Farrow and Ball’s Down Pipe, but I could be wrong) to care.
The meal started with Ollie, our server, explaining the menu and running through his suggestions. The menu changes every few months – a spring menu was due to go up a day after we visited. For us, however, the choices were easy. You don’t go to a grill and have pasta. Chris, another waiter, made sure olives were brought out in tea cups, and we sipped Prosecco and scanned the goodies on offer.
I fancied a bit of pigeon, and the boy wanted duck. Just as we’d decided, Ollie rushed over to say the table next to us had just ordered the last duck breast, so we went for crab instead. When we swapped plates halfway through, pigeon was the clear winner. I can see why it’s an acquired taste, but for me it was cooked to perfection. The crab had a cheesy topping and was served in the half-shell, and was more to the boy’s taste.
Onto what makes Gaslight special: the steaks. Ollie once again ran through each option. There was sirloin, rib eye, fillet, rump and Chateaubrian – a thickercut tenderloin which is perfect for sharing. As a rare girl, I chose a 200g fillet steak. I’m a small eater, so 200g was the perfect size for me. If you have bigger portions, they also offer a 300g. The boy, preferring his steak medium-rare, was better suited for rib eye or sirloin. After talking with Ollie a bit more, he went for the latter. We also ordered some chips as a side.
Now here’s the best part. Rather than choosing a traditional sauce, like blue cheese or hollandaise, there are
about 30 different blends to accompany your meat. Even better, you get three per steak, which means plenty of dipping and sharing. This really makes the meal social, as you can pinch your neighbour’s sauce and swap as you like. We chose Stilton based cheese, Bowmore single malt whisky, mushroom, Black Fox Cider, chocolate and hot chilli and Havana rum sauces. Of them all, the chocolate sauce and the Bowmore were our favourites.
The steak arrived soon after ordering on its own wooden chopping board and salad garnish, and was cooked exactly as we’d requested. The great thing is that by ordering two different cuts of the same meat, we figured out what we liked and didn’t. Fillet has a far more delicate flavour whereas sirloin has its own distinct taste, something neither of us had noticed before.
By the time we’d cut and dipped, I was absolutely stuffed. I couldn’t manage a dessert, but we ordered a few scoops of ice cream and a coffee to finish (although no soya milk meant I had a bit of a bloaty belly afterwards).
The thing that makes this place great is the service. The waiters were attentive, but not intrusive. If you’re a steak virgin, or just don’t know what you fancy, they have plentiful knowledge to be able to recommend something to suit. And for those who aren’t beef fans, they also have a range of other dishes, from pasta to salads. I have to say they made a good night even better.
Sure, Gaslight is out of the way being south of the river, but as they admit, that just means people go there specifically to have a great time compared to the random pub crawlers looking for cheap food and drinks. And yes, the Lost Angel bar was full of people. But the mirrored doors block that all out, so having a meal and then a few drinks after can seem like two completely different nights out. It’s well worth a visit. I can’t wait to go back (I’ve already planned my next meal…)
Gaslight Grill | 339 Battersea Park Rd, London, SW11 4LS | firstname.lastname@example.org | 020 7622 2112