HS&Co. (Steakhouse) – Stratford
Any restaurant that comprises the following three separate sections – a comfy waiting area near the entrance, booths and kitchen-side seating, and a dining lounge with a chandelier – has to be an interesting one, particularly when all three have a distinctly unique ambience.
HS&Co. has a dark, wooden ceiling that runs the width and breadth of its classic interior look, an open kitchen with an impressively large Josper Grill, an old fashioned sewing machine, a bookshelf, and music to match.
We decided on a booth opposite the kitchen to see the three chefs, and a friendly interactive bartender (there you go, as promised) in action.
With warm lighting and comfortable leather seats, we were sold by the entire theme and concept.
The aromatic Blue Basil was simply delicious. Despite all the ice, this beverage still allowed the intense flavour of basil to come through with the taste of the blueberry left to linger thereafter. Well balanced and quite refreshing.
More a milky milkshake than a mocktail, the Honey Monkey’s thin straw managed to get blocked a little too often by all those bits of walnut. Not only was this extremely watered down by the addition of ice resulting in the subtle taste of the nuts, but the banana was a little too fresh for our liking.
Unfortunately, the fizzy Mojito was average at best with both the mint and lime just about discernible.
This was a tasty drink though. The passion fruit was strong and pungent, the apple distinctly clear running through the background, and the shot of non-alcoholic champagne more theatre than anything else.
The Lavender Lush, however, stole the show. The brown sugar combined with the lavender came through to deliver a tantalisingly refreshing mocktail. We took our time in savouring this sip by heavenly sip! RECOMMENDED!
As for the Citrus Marmalade, then it had a strong tangy kick to it, and reminded us all of a citrus-flavoured slush puppy with all that playful crushed ice. Would go down superbly on a hot day!
With the sweet honey coming through well, these well cooked wings had a nice, chewy texture, were sweet and sticky while delivering a sharp, chilli kick.
Wonderful! Not only could we smell the vanilla, but also appreciated the way in which this enhanced the entire dish, marrying as it did so perfectly with the soft, tender and meaty beef stew, as well as the earthiness of the soft potatoes, carrots and peas. Deliciously rich and creamy, full of flavour, and perfectly seasoned, if this doesn’t bring a smile to your face, then we don’t know what will.
It has to be said though (not that we’re complaining), this was a large starter and could easily pass for a light main.
As to the accompanying chips, then these seemed to be double fried, making them intensely crispy and satisfying on the outside, while light and fluffy on the inside – lovely.
Another knock out starter. This well seasoned and flavoursome Chicken Liver Pate had a rich, thick and creamy texture to it making it perfect for scooping and devouring with the firm bread. What’s more, the mildly sweet onion jam was just right in adding an extra dimension to the meal.
There’s nothing here that’ll knock you off your feet; certainly not in the way that Meat House London’s sauces did.
The Bearnaise Butter was creamy, buttery and mildly vinegary in taste.
Aside from the strange watery residue, the Stilton Cheese was strong in flavour and quite tasty.
The thin gravy was well flavoured with a very subtle vinegary aftertaste.
As for the Peppercorn, then it was just plain wrong. We’ve never understood the logic behind large bits of peppercorn left in a sauce! Its strong, acrid flavour simply overpowers everything within the vicinity. Not very pleasant, particularly when you want to be tasting the steaks for what they are.
Now, a Josper Grill is a unit comprised of a grill and an oven, and aimed at the very demanding HoReCa sector. It’s also highly rated by steak houses including the Head Chef of HS&Co.
This ever so succulent and tender 200g Fillet Steak – cooked just about medium (though they recommend medium rare) – was a delicious piece of well seasoned meat.
Whatever the Josper Grill was intended for, it does succeed in producing the most perfectly cooked steaks.
And this one went really well with the pickled red cabbage.
And this was no less special than the above! Precisely cooked to medium, this superb peppery steak was delectable with the Sirloin’s fat rendered so very well.
And with the triple cooked crispy, chunky chips equally good, all in all, this is easily worth the price.
A pretty good attempt. This Mac & Cheese had a lovely charred, cheesy top. Our only complaint would be that this needed to be creamier.
With a hint of tang from the sauce, and pickles that gave it a really good contrast of taste and texture, the herbs came through really well.
But, what really elevated this above so many was the lovely piece of tender BBQ beef smothered in authentic bean sauce.
We were of the opinion though that more of this sauce would have brought the entire burger together into a more complete whole.
Mixed views with this brisket. While one Lion was left impressed with its texture and flavour, the other two felt it to be disparate.
While the sauce over the top was good, reminding us, in fact, of home-made baked beans, the brisket was, though stringy and succulent, rather underwhelming in taste.
What a superb Chocolate Cheesecake this was!
The crisp white chocolate top didn’t quite have the sheen of a well tempered chocolate, but it marry successfully with the chocolatey mousse-cheese underneath followed by the very thick and closely textured layer of biscuit. Altogether, quite lovely!
In our opinion, this Strawberry Eton Mess is definitely the dessert to get. The crisp meringue had that familiar chewiness to it we all love, and was just right in terms of sweetness. The tangy, fresh strawberry jam and cream transformed this into a delightful sweet candy dessert to savour.
A good Apple Crumble is made up of contrasting flavours and textures. This, however, had a sameness to it that left us quite disappointed. Not only were the apples far too soft, but also too sweet. In our opinion, a good crumble should have some bite to it, with the familiar interplay of sweet and sour delivered by tart apples, such as, Bramley.
The only redeeming factor, if you can call it that, was the vanilla custard that was very well made.
All in all, way too sweet and mushy!
- CHILD SEATING
Further still, HS&Co. are in the middle of completing a private room (scheduled for after Ramadan) in the basement that will also serve as a prayer area.
Now, if we were to suggest a menu, this is what it would be: Lavender Lush for a drink, Vanilla Beef Stew starter, Fillet Steak with Stilton Cheese sauce, and a Strawberry Eton Mess to end your evening.
HS&Co. has a capacity of 85.
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T: +44 (0)208 555 3322 | W: www.hsandco.co.uk
Opening Hours: Mon-Wed: 12:00-00:00 | Thurs: 12:00-01:00 | Fri-Sun: 12:00-00:00