Behold the tomahawk steak in all its glory. It’s the size of a Flintstones brontosaur rib; mammoth proportions.
For the uninitiated, the ‘tomahawk’ cut is a massive on-the-bone rib steak. It is cut from the fore-rib with the thickness determined by the width of the bone to which the steak is attached – meaning it’s huge – generally two inches or thicker. One glorious tomahawk generally weighs in at between 1 – 1.2 kilograms (2.2+ lbs). Bask in its majesty…
Served with the entire rib bone attached for an amazing presentation, the cut gets its name for resembling a tomahawk axe. Tomahawk steaks have a good amount of inter-muscular fat because of their location on the cow, so cooked to a nice ‘medium’ allows that delicious fat to melt away into the rib steak, giving it amazing flavor.
MASH has been on my list of must-tries in London for quite some time. Plus, the tomahawk is a cut I’ve wanted square off against since I was old enough to appreciate steak. Mission: Completed.
MASH (an acronym for Modern American Steak House) actually got its start in Copenhagen, Denmark, back in 2009. After achieving steak-y success in the Danish capital, MASH went on to open in three more Danish locations before landing in London in late 2012.
The London location on Brewer street near Piccadilly Circus is a huge underground venue that looks like it must be a converted casino from the roaring 20s. The art deco decor and stylish red booths hark back to the steak houses that the Great Gatsby would be at home in.
The bar alone is a work of art – similar to the grand scale of the Cafe Monico bar that I wrote about recently – but in a restaurant five times as large. Yet, the night I was there it was conspicuously quiet. Apart from an office party raging in MASH’s boardroom-esque private dining space, the place was not busy.
The lack of a crowd didn’t deter my group from covering the table from corner to corner with delicious steaks, sides and beverages and then commencing our attack run.
Ordering a tomahawk is not something to be taken lightly; nor is it something that you should take on solo. Always have a spotter or an accountabili-buddy when devouring a steak of such massive proportions. They bring it to your table on a massive cutting board and carve it into a heated cast iron serving skillet.
The tomahawk, if cooked correctly, has very little solid fat left on it. The inter-muscular fat melts deliciously into the beef and keeps it soft and juicy. MASH’s tomahawk comes from Australia; one kilo of grain-fed prime beef from mixed breeds. Those 1000 grams will cost you just £65, so between two people I think it’s worth the price!
We also went for a veritable smorgasbord of sides to accompany the behemoth steak: creamy spinach smothered in mild cheese, crispy fries, chili fries, fluffy beer-battered onion rings, sautéed corn with bacon, and a dish of béarnaise sauce.
Side dishes cost £4.50 per selection, across the board for all 15 possible choices you could order.
I feel that I should warn vegetarians: MASH is not for you. They have some fish options for the pescetarians out there, but no mains for vegetarians on offer. If your significant other drags you along, you’ll be confined to the starters and veggie sides. You’ve been warned!
Overall, MASH’s list of beef options from around the world is very impressive. They have cuts of beef sourced from the US, Britain, Denmark, Uruguay, Australia, and Japan – including certified Japanese Kobe and Wagyu meat. I fought an internal battle over which kind of steak to order because there are so many great options facing you. In the end the tomahawk was great, but I’ll definitely need to try some of their other cuts in my next trip.
Their cocktail list and bar menu is impressive as well – and their bartenders mix a mean Old Fashioned. Right up my street. Overall I don’t know why more people weren’t dining at MASH. Maybe they are suffering from their subterranean location, tucked off a side street in Piccadilly. Or perhaps the word just hasn’t spread nicely for the Danes. Either way, they seem to be soldiering on and delivering a mean steak.
You can visit MASH London at 77 Brewer St in Soho, W1F 9ZN or visit their website and checkout all the other locations in Denmark and Germany.