ME Hotel’s appointment of Vincent Menager to oversee the menu development for their STK steakhouse must have been strategic but also happens to be pure inspiration.
The French-born chef has a star-studied career below his belt already, having catered for BAFTA, British Fashion Awards, the Prince’s Trust Gala and Royal Ascot events, as well as worked for the Sofitel Group.
His latest appointment has placed the ME Hotel on the Strand firmly on London’s map of culinary distinction.
Lest you think that STK is a mere steakhouse, consider its funky decor of a NY cocktail bar and matching music piping down while hotel guests and Londoners down drinks, eat and generally create the kind of atmosphere other restaurateurs would kill for.
We opted for an early dinner as we had booked to see the first night of Porgy and Bess at the ENO.
This was a mistake as we didn’t want to leave, but had to, without having the dessert portion of our taster menu.
We did have cocktails because, quite simply, the ambiance lends itself to it. Two Manhattans and a Pisco Sour, both perfectly well executed.
We opted for red by the glass thereafter and the single grape Shiraz was astonishingly good.
SNAPPER CEVICHE with citrus, seaweed, hot pepper and puffed rice cracker
SOY WASABI TUNA TATAKI with radish, black sesame seed pesto and puffed wild rice
I find that Ceviche is a dish one either hates or loves based on preparation and seasoning. This one is simply heavenly, with the seaweed deliciously fresh, the orange segments marinated just right, and the fish melting in the mouth. The puffed rice cracker is incredibly more-ish but do NOT make the mistake of devouring all of it as the main courses are both outstanding and generously sized.
The Tuna tataki arrived exactly as it should: red on the inside, black on the outside, and the delicious pesto did the rest of the work for making it another fantastic starter. The wild puffed rice was a welcome novelty for me although I couldn’t identify it at the beginning.
ROASTED ATLANTIC SEA BASS with pine nuts, mussels, parsnip and watercress
BEEF STEAK, New York Strip Prime USDA, cooked blue
The sea bass rested on a bed of mashed parsnip, dressed in the cooking juices and beautifully presented with watercress.
The steak was perfectly cooked (one can always tell the chef is French by the cuisson of the beef) and accompanied by half a dozen of fabulous, must-try sauces on a separate wooden tray.
I need to reserve special space for the accompanying dishes because they represent a meal in their own right.
TRUFFLE MAC & CHEESE
ROASTED BROCCOLINI, CHILLI, PINE NUTS AND PECORINO
PARMESAN TRUFFLED CHIPS
Each and every one of the above was a masterpiece and if you are a vegetarian, you can perfectly well feast on them alone.
The truffle Mac & cheese was rich with a lingering taste of the generous truffle shavings on top. The truffle chips were finger size, flat, fully coated with truffle and salt, and unlike anything I have ever tasted. My companion exclaimed at this point that “even the regular fries are amazing”.
I wasn’t planning on tasting either the broccolini (once tasted, I had to finish it) or the creamed spinach, but am glad I did as they both deserve a full star.
Do not expect to have long meaningful conversations at the STK steakhouse. This is a “happening” place, full of music and life, where you go to degustate outstanding food, watch London’s cool and trendy people, and simply soak in the cosmopolitan atmosphere so generously enhanced by great food and drinks.
The service is on par – unstintingly obliging (our waitress was smiley and solicitous without imposing with endless offers of bottled water).
In conclusion, the STK steakhouse at ME Hotel is an exciting destination in its own right and perfectly positioned for theatre and show goers, as well as Central London residents.