Restaurant Review: McQueen, EC2
Jon Dean has his fill at the coolest new venue in town at a Steve McQueen inspired venue in Shoreditch
If something’s worth doing it’s worth doing properly, or so the old saying goes, and it seems that trendy urbanite haunt McQueen took this mantra to heart when developing the restaurant side of the business.
In line with the rest of the premises, the eatery is a tribute to the Bullitt star and erstwhile coolest man in cinema, Steve McQueen.
Tasteful black and white prints of the man himself hang on the rendered brickwork and shimmer in the sexy low-level lighting, whilst leather chairs and fur carpets soften the edges.
Likewise the menu pulls no punches, either on price or quality.
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Head chef Anupam Som, plucked from nearby vegan phenomenon Saf, has developed an American style menu of immense quality, without being too elaborate, that should tempt most palates.
At the top of the menu, the mustard crusted beef carpaccio is a tender, peppered delight, while the goats cheese with grilled summer vegetables was creamy, rich and full.
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Also in the starter section, the crayfish bisque with lobster bits is incredibly tasty, although to my carnivorous sensibilities it would have benefited from a bit more lobster and a touch less bisque.
Lastly for the appetisers, the braised pork terrine is as soft as its 16 hours in the oven would suggest, and when served with the black pudding becomes a dark and mysterious concoction.
The main menu is divided into al a carte and grill sections, and predictably I found the thrill of the grill hard to resist.
In one of the most indulgent moves of my culinary career, I ordered the surf ‘n’ turf steak, which consists of a six ounce fillet steak accompanied by half a Maine lobster.
As if that combination wasn’t luxurious enough, I had the lobster served thermidore and the steak with lashings of pepper sauce.
It was, in a word, delicious. The meat was melt in the mouth, the sauce rich but not overpowering and the thermidore everything I hoped it would be.
At this point Mr Som emerged from the kitchen to give us the lowdown on what we were eating. The key was to use premium produce to make food that people understood.
To this end, the beef was certified by the United States Dairy Association, and came from Aberdeen Angus cattle that had been reared on the lush grasslands of California. The lobster was the best they could lay their hands on and came in at a budget-busting �37.5 per kilo.
Not to be outdone, the chips held their own by being fried in duck fate and rosemary vermouth. These touches were not lost on me as I enjoyed a triumphant main course.
At this stage, lesser mortals might have felt a touch of gout coming on and given up. Well aware of my reporting duty, however, I bravely tackled a slice of slow-baked New York cheesecake. It nearly finished me off, but I am happy to report that it would have been a soft, moist, sweet but tangy way to go.