STK is renowned as much for its clientele as its food. Located just off the Strand and sharing a building with the five-star ME London hotel, it is sleek, low-lit and situated in an enviable spot. Following the vowel-dropping trend seen in SBTRKT, Lyft, and “LDN”, it is clearly a restaurant which aims to be current.
As you may have guessed, STK’s forte is steak. Positioned as an American chophouse, they are purveyors of cuts which have been dry aged and approved by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture).
In addition to the celebrities and missing vowels, there are also DJs who perform in the evenings. All this considered, and as an establishment that prides itself on being cool and modern, just how would they fare with the wonderfully traditional and beautifully British Sunday roast?
The location seems odd for this timeworn institution. A splash of purply pink lighting illuminates the walls and the booths, complete with white leather seating, are connected via a single surface at waist height. Settling into my seat, I noticed that this surface was adorned with what appears to be crocodile skin and wondered if this could be real (my internal struggle regarding authenticity versus ethics kicking in).
With no deliberations necessary, our starter of deliciously sweet and fluffy brioche bread arrived. Presented on an STK chopping board with what appears to be a bamboo leaf connecting the bread to a chive oil dressing, there is a touch of pizazz even with this two-constituent entrée. Then, sipping a gorgeous and aptly titled Twisted Bellini, I spotted the cavalry.
The main event consists of roasted vegetables, truffle mac and cheese, parmesan truffle fries, cornbread, New York spice-rubbed rib-eye beef and a huge “Empire State” Yorkshire pudding to put it all in (the pictures simply don’t do the Yorkshire pudding justice).
While it seems unusual to eat various flour products out of another flour product, caution was thrown to the wind. Highlights include the vegetables, specifically roasted seasonal roots and squash, and the beautifully buttery, peppery grain-fed ribeye.
We finished with a take-it-or-leave-it dessert of “Junk Chalice”. Think ice cream, brownie, gingerbread, popcorn and candyfloss. It seemed a little confused and rather heavy on the ginger, meaning the main had definitely far outdone the other two courses.
Priced at £24 ($31) per person, STK’s Sunday roast serves as a great route into an otherwise exclusively-priced restaurant. While the cornbread is probably one step across the Atlantic too far, a large serving of American chophouse flare has been applied to this quintessentially English institution - and it’s worked.