Review of Beast
I had heard so much about Beast Restaurant, a steakhouse near Bond St Station in central London focusing on exotic meats. So it seemed fitting on 14 February, the day of love, to passionately indulge in Beast’s exotic steak selection.
The mascot of the restaurant is a Bear and at the restaurant’s reception you’ll find an enormous wooden bear looming over you. Entrance to the restaurant proper is via a lift which takes you down… exactly one floor.
I actually started laughing at the pointlessness of it until the lift stopped, the doors slowly opened and then I gawked and whispered ‘oh my god’ at the sight of huge cuts of ageing steak. And next to the aged steaks, enormous Norwegian King crabs. Let me revise my comment about the lift; it was totally worth every single penny that Beast spent on it.
The restaurant is a stunner. After walking past the bar the restaurant opens up with three rows of long wooden tables lined with candelabra. The kitchen was open at the back revealing an enormous custom-made grill (which I jealously eyed up most of the evening). It’s an oxymoron, but I felt like I was at a modern medieval banquet. Despite sitting at a long row table, the seating is spacious and comfortable.
After being seated, our waitress talked through the menu. She explained in detail the different breeds and cuts of steak they had on offer. I was so impressed by her knowledge that I wanted to know about her favourite steaks and seriously considered her recommendations.
Beast Restaurant is unabashedly meat focused. This is not a safe space for Vegetarians (or worse). In fact there is no vegetarian option. Beast is a steak lovers fairy tale: Holstein and Galician Blonde beef from Northern Spain, Wagyu beef from Japan, Simmental beef from Finland and USDA beef from Nebraska.
I narrowed my choice down to the Galician Blonde and the Holstein from Basque country. I chose an 800gm Chateaubriand (the largest part of the fillet) from the Galician Blonde because of its superior age and the fact that I had never had Chateaubriand from a Spanish cow. Sides and drinks included chips (minus the truffle) and the smoked vegetable salad to go with it and the Barman sours cocktail to wash it down.
The Galician Blonde:
The Galician blond, known as Rubia Gallega in Spanish, is a breed of cow native to the northern parts of Spain. These cows live long lives in the mountainous grasslands near the Spanish-Portuguese border. By long lives this can be up to 18 years before slaughter but is typically 12-14 years.
This is a major cultural difference from British cows which are usually slaughtered between 2 and 3 years of age and USDA cows which are lucky to reach their second birthday. The older steak from the Galician Blonde may not be as tender as the veal from USDA cows but results in steak that has a much deeper and beefier taste. If you want to know more about Rubio Gallega and Basque beef you can read my feature on it here.
I enjoyed the barman sours so much that I had downed it and was onto my second when the steak arrived. The steak was an enormous cut of Chateaubriand, sliced and served on a cast iron serving platter.
The steak was beautiful; from its blackened seasoned crust to interior shades of red. The steak had been expertly grilled and the crust delivered a fantastic barbecue taste. The rest of the steak delivered a perfect balance of beefiness. The steak was not as tender as other Chateaubriand I’ve had, but this comes with the territory of eating an older cow. However, the benefit of the slight chew was that every bite delivered a delicious taste.
After a rough few months at top steakhouses (see here, here and here), I was having a thoroughly excellent steak. The meat sweats had started and I was savouring every bite. Was this happiness? I think it was.
The sides are worth comment. The chips are chunky and delicious and the salad is quite unusual. The vegetables are smoked a little. The end result is a mixture of smokiness and balsamic flavour. It won’t work for everyone, but I enjoyed it.
You can call it love, you could even call it Bestiality for I am infatuated with Beast. From the moment I walked in, to the brilliant service, delicious drinks, sides and outstanding steak I enjoyed my evening at this restaurant.
The only thing I didn’t love about Beast Restaurant was the cost, but like Beast’s lift, it’s about the experience and this steak experience was worth every penny.