Elvet Steakhouse – Forest Gate, London
A steakhouse in the heart of Forest Gate, we hear you ask? That’s right; and located on the long and busy stretch of Romford Road.
Now, at the risk of rousing the ire of Forest Gaters by attempting to answer the aforementioned question, this place claims, according to their website, not to be your typical steak restaurant:
At Elvet Steakhouse, we source our 100% premium finest cuts from Farmers and Butchers.
Yet, what makes this eatery one that should create some excitement, is that it’s a “premium” steakhouse, that also happens to be “serving only certified Halal food on your table”. In other words, not a drop of alcohol in sight.
Hence, the huge drinks bar in this equally huge restaurant, which boasts a total seating capacity of 255, is dedicated exclusively to the making of mocktails, juices and milkshakes, along with premium non-alcoholic wines, etc.
Impressed so far? Up to this point, we certainly were.
But what really got us excited, is that they’re employing the talents of a head chef who’s applied his trade at such steakhouses as Goodman, which, for those in the know, are behind the award-winning Halal-friendly steak restaurant Zelman Meats.
Impressed now? You better be (what bloody more do you want?)!
Elvet Steakhouse has two separate areas too: a 145-cover dining room at the front where all the magic is served, and a 110-cover area at the back which serves as the Dessert Room, once the final touches are made.
A black colour scheme, rustic brick layout, low hanging lights, and candle-lit light shades on every table, create a dark ambience while assuring a chilled out and relaxed atmosphere.
What a tremendous way to start any review. Superb, all round, made-to-order mocktails from a mixologist who knows a thing or two.
The sweetness of the Passionfruit was expertly balanced by the kick of the minty-lime, all of which left a refreshingly strong, tongue-tingling sensation with every given sip.
It’s been a considerable while since we had a Pina Colada that raised a pleasing eyebrow or three. This one was sublime! Dreamily creamy, with a candyesque combination of the sweet tangy pineapple coupled with the aromatic distinctness of coconut juice, all made for a dangerously addictive concoction. We’ve had enough pina colada mocktails ranging from attempted made by high-end establishments to streetfood aficionados to know how easy it is to mess this up. Elvet Steakhouse smashed it out of the park!
The Bubblegum was a playful flavour, but equally well done. With plenty of lime therein, the familiar taste of the bubblegum came through first before giving way to a citrusy tang at the end. One Lion thought the bubblegum flavour to be a little too much; the other two thought otherwise.
And these shakes confirm that Elvet Steakhouse have their beverages down to a tee.
The strength of these two classics essentially revolved around the balance achieved between the ratio of milk to ice cream. Here it was impeccable – thick, rich, creamy and milky. This is precisely how all shakes ought to be made, with bold, robust and satisfying flavours.
All in all, that impressively large, non-alcoholic drinks bar is more than justified!
A novel starter this, and one which, dare we say, actually worked, despite not being properly executed. While the Grilled Halloumi, sadly, turned out on the chewy side, the flavour amalgam of the blackcurrent jam dollop topped with a fresh raspberry, along with slithers of red chilli and a scattering of pomegranate seeds, was quite revealing.
The initial fruity burst of the raspberry smoothly gave way to the sharp sweetness of the blackcurrent jam, before the salty hint of the halloumi came through only to give way to the heat of the chilli. Pity about the rubbery cheese.
First up, the Pulled Beef. What a naughty little thing this was!
The beef was moist, tender and succulent, with plenty of sauce.
More importantly, its soft, crispy bun contained meat that actually tasted good.
As one Lion put it, “One can only imagine how satisfying the full-sized burger must be like.”
Simple, elegant, and a visual feast despite its diminutive size.
But even a cursory glance will reveal a sophisticatedly constructed patty that was cooked bang on medium.
And with a thin layer of sauce, this, nay, these were the best sliders we’ve had for some time!
And did this medium well Steak fillet pale in comparison?
Not at all!
Another fantastically tasting piece of meat.
Not only was it juicy and succulent, but just had that right amount of chewiness to it.
But it’s this Prawn Tempura that’s the starter to get. The ultra soft prawns, encased in a light and delicately crispy tempura batter, rested on a lightly tangy avacado puree, with diced onions for texture, which married well against the relatively sweet drizzle of slightly viscous pomegranate sauce.
A beautifully presented, simple, yet innovative dish, with bags of flavour, and executed just right.
Superbly pink, tender, soft and juicy on the inside, this cut with minimum effort, and had that to-die-for umami taste so distinct of a quality cut of beef.
The only thing letting this dish down somewhat were the condiments.
Hence, while the mash could have been more buttery, although given the gravy accompaniment that was understandable, it was the heavy-handed use of salt in the preparation of the latter which let this plate down.
Putting that aside, and something that can easily be rectified, the steak was simply outstanding!
We’ve had quite a few Wagyu steaks in our time. Some were merely wagyu in name; others flattered to deceive; but then there are those that enrapture and enchant. Elvet Steakhouse’s stunned us into a state of introspective silence as we collectively masticated, marvelled, savoured, and masticated some more with abandoned euphoria, giving ourselves over to it in totality.
Watch our review video above and you’ll notice the ease with which the knife didn’t so much cut as glide through a thick, medium rare, and perfectly criss-crossed fillet of beautiful beef.
This was tenderness personified, though with a crust which, while being wonderfully charred, was both crispy in places and with pleasant specks of salt to it.
And while it came with a bowl of sweet caramelised onions, which made for an interesting accompaniment, along with a well made peppercorn sauce and some greens, this was all about the “Ariston” wagyu, that is to say, a steak you’ll be chewing on and on and on and on…!
Although this Sirloin Spiral was, despite again being cooked a spot on medium, evidently more stringy and far chewier than the above, not only was this hardly surprising given their superiority, but it was quite satisfying in its own right.
In actual fact, when you partner the fresh tasting garlic and parsley marination on top, with the earthy-sweetness of the superbly textured mushroom sauce, and that interesting bowl of caramelised onions, what you get is an enjoyable eat, especially with the smokey taste of the charring coming through so nicely, without it being anything spectacular.
At this point, it’s worth providing a short overview of all the sauces had (mushroom being on the inside, with the others following clockwise starting with the Green Chilli at 12 o’clock):
- Mushroom – mentioned above.
- Green Chilli – delivers a superb hit of heat with a pungent chilli taste.
- BBQ – smokey with a strong barbecue flavour to it.
- Elvet (roasted peppers, chillis and tomatoes) – a nice tomato-based sauce with a smooth consistency wherein the fruity taste of the chilli heat catches up slowly, but remains soothing.
- Chimichurri (mixed herbs) – Not the best one we’ve had. Slightly on the insipid side, and peculiarly mixed in with spring onions for textural purposes.
- Bearnaise – An extremely creamy one whose combination of mellow vinegar and sweetness of mayo worked extremely well. One of our favouries, in fact!
- Peppercorn – strong, watery, with a good amount of heat, and extremely good.
These Lamb Chops, while valiantly attempted (as is evident from the griddle marks), were slightly on the fatty side.
As such, and in spite of the smokey taste being apparent, this was the weakest main.
What’s more, the accompanying mash just seemed entirely out of place!
Following all those steaks, and in light of how well they were executed, it would have been a crime to pass over a fish dish, especially since their Instagram account claims: “Purveyors of Premium Argentine Beef & Fine Fish in the Heart of East London.”
And this one was perhaps 30 secs from being cooked to absolute perfection.
Thus, while the top was crispy, and the salmon flesh juicy, we felt it was a tad over (we prefer to see more of the juices flowing when pulling apart the flesh).
And while both the broccoli, upon which the fish rested, and the asparagus, were well seasoned, had a good bite to them, and retained a glossy sheen, the spinach was properly wilted, with a rich butteriness to it.
Overal,l a very nice dish for those seeking after a non-meat alternative.
The Elvet Pulled Beef burger was the maximised and maximal version of its smaller sibling slider (see above), with more crispy soft bun; more deliciously tasting fibrous beef strands, though slightly on the claggy side; and more sauce.
The end result was a burger jam-packed with flavour that oscillated in between the rich taste of the beef, the tanginess of the mustard sauce, and some gentle heat courtesy of the few red chillis therein.
In all, a solid burger, but one which has potential for greatness.
These Hand Cut Chips were nicely done, with a semi-rustic nature that delivered on a crispy-cum-crunchy exterior, and a soft fluffy interior.
A good assortment of leaves, tomatoes, and slices of cucumber, which were well dressed and seasoned, and simply presented. No complaints.
With a lovely gelatinous upper layer of cheese that had a smooth consistency, this Elvet Cheese Cake delivered a mild toffee flavour which, when combined with the fresh burst of the raspberries on top, culminated in a very well balanced dish.
If there was a quibble though, then it would be with the base, which was erring on the soggy side as opposed to being more biscuity in texture.
- NO/ NO
- CHILD SEATING
- DISABLED FACILITIES
Where eons before we were recommending Jewish-owned steak restaurants on Golders Green, before recently lavishing well deserved praise on award-winning, Halal-friendly restaurant, Zelman Meats in Knightsbridge, we can now boast of a fully Halal steakhouse that serves up premier steaks.
But this is where people must understand and appreciate one fundamental rule when it comes to demanding top quality food: quality comes at a price. Let's repeat that mantra so it really sinks in: quality-comes-at-a-price.
In addition, premium steaks are not meant to be cooked the crap out of! Instead, one should be looking at medium, at the very most, and most certainly no more (oh don't take our word for it, hear it from the experts like Gordon Ramsey or Heston Blumenthal). And if there is any red stuff on the steak plate, that's just indicative of the steak not having been properly rested. What it definitely isn't is blood!
Too often we've heard of people paying for a premium steak, committing the cardinal sin of requesting it be cooked well done, and then complaining about the steak not turning out juicy; well, what did you expect?!
It's time to change our ways, understand what good quality food is, and adopt it. So to sum up re premium steaks:
- Quality comes at a price.
- Request them to be cooked medium, at the very most, and no more.
- Any red stuff is not bloody blood!
They've created a Halal menu that comprises quality drinks and food too. Their attention to detail is such that all our plates came out warm. What more could you ask for?
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