13 December 2012

Striking While the Iron's Hot: Flat Iron Review

What do you get if you cross the menu of Le Relais de Venise and the ambiance and attitude of the Polpo empire? Probably something rather like Flat Iron, which just opened, down the road from Polpo in Soho. Flat Iron popped up at the Owl & Pussycat pub in Shoreditch over the summer, and I thought I'd missed my chance, but fortunately, they found a place to call their own in Beak Street and I was able to check it out earlier in the week. I forgot to take my camera with me, so please excuse the dark photos; Flat Iron is too cool for iPhone-friendly lighting.

Flat Iron's unassuming Beak Street façade

Flat Iron is no-reservations, of course, and we arrived at about six-thirty, concerned about potential queues (although not too concerned as the downstairs cocktail bar is supposed to be a lovely place to wait), but we got a table for two right away. The staff were friendly and efficient, if a little first month-y. A water glass exploded over our feet, for example. "All part of the theatre," one of the waiters said. The decor is reminiscent of Polpo and its ilk, all exposed brick walls and carefully distressed, oversized lamps that hang from the ceiling.

Flat Iron's minimalist chic

We were given a mug of--tasty--popcorn to nibble on while we perused the menu, but this didn't take long, because as at the Relais de Venise, the menu is essentially, "how would you like your steak cooked?" Actually, it's slightly more complicated because only a small side salad is included and if you want chips or a sauce, you pay a little extra. When the no-frills steak costs only £10, you don't really mind paying £2.50 for chips or £1 for sauce. And when I say no-frills, the steak was delicious. It came perfectly medium rare, as ordered, and was as juicy and flavoursome as at the RdV, despite being half the price. The side salad was quite petite and came in a cute little glass, and the chips were tasty, although perhaps slightly too salty. But the steak is the reason you go to Flat Iron. Well, and because it's cool.

Medium-rare steak, Béarnaise sauce, chips and mini-salad

Given the downstairs cocktail bar, I thought I might be able to order a cocktail to go with my meal, as I didn't feel like wine, but at these early stages of Flat Iron's reincarnation, this sounded like it was going to be too complicated, so I ordered a pink lemonade instead. A few craft beers, including Shoreditch Blonde, are also available. We were too full for pudding, which was probably lucky as I don't think they are doing any yet.

Flat Iron. 17 Beak Street, London, W1F 9RW (Tube: Oxford Circus). Website. Twitter.

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