£10 is a crazily low price to charge for a steak in London. £10 is an even crazier price to charge for a really good steak in London. But, if you do one thing really, really well as Flat Iron has, you can get away with the £10 steak being the only entree on your menu.
Flat Iron has managed to thrive on this to-the-point, excellently succulent steak. They offer amazing sides, quick, non-pretentious service and NO reservations. It’s truly amazing and you have to try it – for just ten quid, you won’t be disappointed. The opening of their second location already shows that they are doing some right. Oh so right.
Flat Iron is another joint that started from humble pop-up roots. The summer success of the pop-up encouraged owner Charlie Carroll to open his first permanent location on Beak Street in Soho. There, he served up just one entree: a gorgeously pink, perfectly cooked and sliced steak.
Since then, a second location has opened on Denmark Street and a rotating special entree has been added. Though it doesn’t sit on the menu, both times I visited the special was the Flat Iron burger.
The steak is king though. Flat Iron sources all their beef from their own herd of rare breed cattle. Their herd is located in the area of Thrisk in North Yorkshire. They even give their head cattle farmer a shout-out on their menu: third generation beef farmer, Charles Ashbridge. Top marks, Chuck!
The Flat Iron steak is served up pre-sliced on a butchery board, hot from the grill and glistening in the lamplight. I recommend nothing past medium for a perfect flavor, lovely pink color, and tenderness. Your tenner also gets you a side salad with a mustard vinaigrette dressing. Sprinkle on some sea salt and try it with classic béarnaise, horseradish cream, or peppercorn sauces – or try Flat Iron’s tangy “Fred’s Sauce” which is almost like a creamier cocktail sauce with a bit of a kick, each costs £1. You’re armed with a mini butcher’s cleaver to attack your steak with, a quirky and fun way to make the mood even steak-ier.
Sides include creamed spinach, bee-dripping fries, broccoli and a special asparagus when in season. All the sides are priced between £2.50-£3.50, so I recommend sharing them around the table and just going for the whole spread! Add them to the steak, side salad and a sauce and you’re doing to be well-fed for around £16. It bears repeating, that price is amazing in central London.
The burger offering is also delicious. Do what I did: bring a friend who will graciously go halfsies – get your self one steak and one burger to split and share. The burger is simple as far as burgers go, but it tastes or so good smothered in béarnaise sauce. Flat Iron adds diced shallots to the mix and serves the burger up on a seeded brioche bun that stands up admirably in the face of gooey béarnaise onslaught.
I gotta say, it’s more satisfying in the belly and on the wallet at £10 then the Burger&Lobster’s £20 burger could ever be. No need for additional frills here, the meat, bun, sauce and shallots hold their own and though I may be struck down for saying so, you don’t even need cheese on this bad boy!
For dessert, you again have only one option. But it’s a good one: the salt caramel sundae. It contains Paul A. Young salted caramel at the bottom of a sundae glass, covered in milk soft serve ice cream. You’re then armed with two mini pitchers, the first containing Madagascar chocolate syrup and the second filled with vanilla bean and Marker’s Mark bourbon syrup. All for a reasonable £3.50.
It’s funny to realize that on the Flat Iron’s table-mat-sized menu, only the middle third is needed to show off all their food choices. They keeps things cheap by being ridiculously good at one thing. The other two thirds are filled with their drinks (I recommend their old fashioned) which in a way is how it should be. Maintain focus on your strengths, don’t spread yourself thin, and let the steak be the superstar. I can’t say enough about what Flat Iron offers for what, by London standards, is an amazing bargain. Their steaks are succulent, their burgers are delectable and their sides and desserts are complimentary to both without breaking the bank.
The queues can be long, but it’s well worth the wait. Put in your name and Flat Iron’s automated system will text you when your table is ready. Thank me later!
Flat Iron – 46/50
Beef (9): Excellent rare-breed cattle from Yorkshire, butchered and cooked to perfection.
Bun (8): I don’t normally like seeded buns, but this one contrasts well with the béarnaise sauce.
Toppings (10): Simple, perfect.
Value (10): I haven’t found better value in London in 5 years.
Ambiance (9): Going for the shabby chic feel, exposed brick and unfinished wood make up your surroundings.
You can visit Flatiron near Carnaby St. on Beak Street or at their new Denmark Street location. Visit their website here.