I have this weird personality flaw. It’s not me ‘trying to be kooky’, like the lead female character in every teenage romcom ever, with their “Oh, I eat my dessert first at meal times” (some Robert Pattinson film I watched once). I genuinely know that this is weird and that I’m a minority.
For some reason I don’t like ordering steaks in restaurants.
I will add, I’ve tried to remedy this steak hate on several occasions. Once, in Paris, in an incredible restaurant. Another time, in Barcelona, in a restaurant of a similar standard. It’s almost like, if ever I’m in a fancy eatery, I think “maybe today’s the day that my love for steaks will begin”. Then it arrives and I feel like I’m just chewing a lot of the same stuff, with the occasional chip in between. It’s just not my bag.
So, with that in mind, imagine how chuffed I was when Tom told me he was taking me for a ‘special meal’, to a ‘special restaurant’ for a ‘special night out’ -he had me, hook, line and sinker. Then, he dropped ‘the steak factor’ and I saw through his plan: ‘special’. He’d used girl code to rope me in. Clever.
However, it was his excitement for the evening which actually what roped me in. Flat Iron has been Tom’s favourite London steak restaurant for ages, apparently, and he was yet to try their Tottenham Court Road branch. Along we popped, one Friday, for our special night and, if I’m being honest, I wasn’t expecting to love it. I know. What a kill joy.
Well, London, allow me to introduce you to the restaurant which forever changed my opinion of steaks. Flat Iron has, without sounding too phoney, genuinely changed my meat-eating life.
I’ll cut right to the chase; the food. I went for their speciality, conveniently called ‘The Flat Iron’, with peppercorn sauce and chips. As our cheeky-chappie waiter slid the wooden board onto the table in front of me, I ate with my eyes first. It looked impressive. The long pieces of pink, juicy steaks are served, slightly bloody, and sliced into oval medallions, before being laid across the board like a deck of fanned-out cards. Then, there’s the taste and the texture. It was like no steak I’d ever had before in my life – if I’d have eaten it with my eyes closed, I would have thought it was meat-flavoured caramel. Granted, that sounds disgusting, but what I mean is, it melted in my mouth, it wasn’t tough and fibrous, it was mouthful after mouthful of hugely flavoursome little steaky parcels.
I was totally seduced, and felt tempted to tear into the private kitchen area to offer rapturous applause to the chefs. But I didn’t. However, I didn’t think Flat Iron could possibly get any better, beyond the steaks, but there were extras. Encores. Added bonus scenes.
The knives at Flat Iron are so freakin’ cool, they’re almost worth making the effort for, alone. They’re miniature meat cleavers. I mean, come on.
Wait, there’s more. The pepper grinders are, by far, the most beautiful pepper grinders I’ve ever seen. They’re like beautifully ornate, miniature, antique coffee bean grinders. They’re incredible. They sell them in Flat Iron and I’ve added it to my Christmas list – above ‘new GHD’s’. Y’know?
Then, Flat Iron offer a small selection of sides including dripping cooked chips – which are as good as they sound – and this roast aubegine with tomato, basil and parmesan number – which Tom almost enjoyed more than the steaks. For any fans of this humble purple veg, this is a must. Their salted caramel sundae is also well worth ordering.
Finally, I loved the vibe of Flat Iron – without sounding douchey. What I mean is, they don’t allow reservations, so you don’t get ‘a certain clientele’, it’s a real mix of people who were lucky enough to get a table. Then, the staff are super-chilled and friendly and rock up to your table with their dressed down attire and their serious passion for the steaks they’re serving. Finally, considering this place is in central London, it’s surprisingly relaxing in Flat Iron. A soft pink hue glows from a steak-themed neon sign above the bar, candles are lit throughout – to compliment the low lighting – and you’re left to take your time and enjoy your evening, for as long as you need.
We both finished up feeling full, extremely satisfied and weirdly chilled out. After saying goodbye to the staff, we made our way through the quiet rolling chatters of other diners, towards the door, with heavy eyes. Then, we landed back on the pavement in Tottenham Court Road to a screaming cacophony of sirens and car horns and bus engines, which brought us right back down to earth. Our bubble had been popped, but my new-found love for steak would stay with me, going forwards – as would my die-hard Flat Iron loyalty.