I have a confession to make. I have fallen from the Dryathlon wagon. The end was in sight, and yet still so far. I was offered a Champagne cocktail. It all went wrong.
This happened on Sunday evening, when I tried out an odd sort of restaurant-come-nightclub at the foot of the Strand’s sparkling ME Hotel. They call it STK, because vowels do not fit in with the cool club vibe they’re going for, or something.
On entering I automatically encountered an upsetting flashback. It was 2013. I was in Funky Buddha. I’d just been charged almost £10 for a glass of wine so acidic I wondered whether it might burn a hole right through my stomach. There was neon, and noise, and strangers kept touching me. And it looked exactly like STK.
It’s “not your daddy’s steakhouse,” squawks their marketing nonsense. People dance on the tables here. It’s DINNER with DISCO. Christ.
We tried out £30 three course deal from bookatable.com. It included one cocktail and a choice of dishes. We began with the Grand Fizz and the Martini, a drink which our chirpy waitress recommended in a way that made it sound like she didn’t actually like it at all.
We were then presented with this giant hulk of brioche, sweating in a blue cheese glaze. It was accompanied by garlicky green gloop, and I wept for Kermit and all his froggy friends.
Then there were starters. The smoked salmon tasted reasonably good, but didn’t come with much in the way of toppings/extra flavours so ended up a bit dull really. Father chose breaded pig cheeks and said the smoked salmon was preferable.
And next, the steaks. We both picked fillet, served medium rare. They tasted most delectable, actually, all charred and meaty and all that. They were chewy though, so chewy that I almost broke my wrist trying to saw a manageable chunk off it at one point. I don’t think that’s the desired effect.
Steaks were served with a mysterious ‘STK Sauce’ – which tastes like BBQ sauce at first and then kicks you in the back of the throat. Father coughed uncontrollably. He wasn’t expecting the kick. It was very dangerous.
Sides were fine and well – we had skinny chips with parmesan topping because the usual chunky chips were unavailable. Chef had had a funny turn and chopped all the potatoes up too small I suppose.
Dessert was where things really started to look up, though. Look at this miraculous tower of childhood dreams. ROSE CANDY FLOSS. Amazing.
Dad had the treacle tart, which seemed a boring choice when compared to my marvellous cloud of sugary joy, but he did enjoy it.
Afterwards we took the lift up to the Radio Bar at the top of the ME Hotel to check out some seriously impressive views.