Steak Inn (Watford)
Steak Inn offers a unique dining experience by encouraging its customer to cook their steaks on an ultra-hot 440°C volcanic rock grill that’s placed on a specially designed platter with two side compartments.
But, what really makes this place stand out from the crowd is the Halal exotic meats – llama, ostrich, buffalo and venison – available on the menu. We have verified all the meat to be halal from the packaging. Now, if that doesn’t pique your interest, we don’t know what will.
Having been refurbished in November last year, this 46-seater restaurant is strikingly designed with warm interior lighting, antlers for light shades, comfy brown suede and leather seating, and exotic wallpaper prints, inspired no doubt by the menu, that include cheetah, zebra, snake and buffalo.
Hence, not only is their attention to detail quite obvious, but so too their concern for offering the best possible customer experience with little expense spared in the instalment of extractor fans overhead which ensure that all smoke and cooking odour is quietly and efficiently expunged.
Fear not, however, for all the beverage is entirely Halal.
And if you’re unfamiliar with which beer and/ or wine to try with your chosen steak, then again fear not, for you can either ask the helpful waiters for advice or, better still, read on…
Apparently, the Ambar beer smells and tastes close to its alcoholic counterpart… apparently! As to its taste, then it certainly has a wheaty taste to it which continues to linger on the palate. Perhaps it’s an acquired taste!
The Red Wine Cabernet Sauvignon has a somewhat uninviting vinegary smell to it, delivers a subtle, yet pleasant fruity taste, and is fairly dry.
As to the Romance en Rose Organic, then while it’s far less dry, it’s definitely more fruity, which isn’t saying much given its comparison, and seemingly softer on the tongue.
Shatler’s is a German brand, and the sparkling cocktails (or Kocktails as they’re variantly spelled here) quite refreshing and delicious.
The San Francisco was arguably the best of the three with an intensely sharp grapefruit flavour that served as a helpful palate cleanser.
The Wake Up Mai Tai was a little confused with the lemon and orange barely distinguishable. Having said that, it was agood though.
The Havanna Juicer had a solid fruity flavour that tasted familiarly similar to guava.
Be sure to give these cocktails a good mix though (hint: as uncouth as this may be, a quick and effective way of achieving this is to use the straw to blow down into the glass!)
The best of the starters. These standard Breaded Chicken Dippers had a crucnchy exterior, were nicely cooked on the inside, and went well with the premade sweet chilli dip.
Confusing concept here. These subtly marinated BBQ wings didn’t have that rich and sticky BBQ marination one expects of such wings. Instead, what’s expected here, we think, is for the premade and overly sweet, bog-standard BBQ dip to be used instead! And it simply doesn’t work. In fact, the wings taste far better as they are.
And the same approach is expected here where, again, the premade Peri-Peri dip is supposedly supposed to compensate for the insipidly spiced Atomic Wings.
Not only have we never encountered such a bizarre concept for chicken wings, the wings themselves were also fairly small in size.
For the purposes of this review, our approach on the night was to make certain we provide a comparative breakdown of how these steaks taste when cooked at medium-rare to medium, medium-well, and well-done, respectively, before concluding with our recommendation.
Coming off the stone grill sizzling like mad, the rib eye delivers a melt-in-your-mouth texture when cooked medium. Nevertheless, allowing it to cook up to and including well done results in it being chewer in texture, but without detracting too much from its enjoyment.
The chips, though standard, were crispy, while the cous cous light and fresh in taste, going well with the good quality of the meat.
Ab-so-lute-ly melt in your mouth with the meat coming off the grill soft, succulent and utterly juicy.
Thus, we’d suggest not having this as anything except medium; but, if you must, then for the love of steaks, don’t have it any more than medium-well.
This is perhaps the closest a Halal joint has come to the benchmark set by La Fiesta’s divine kosher steaks.
What we discovered was that while the steak remained far too bloody served medium-rare, there occurred a dramatic change in both texture and taste as soon as it the medium mark.
But what really surprised us is how the taste matured and intensified as the cooking process continued until it eventually resembled something akin to liver when had well done.
In our estimation, Llama meat is certainly more chewier than the rest of the meats we had, and has a taste that’s unique enough for us to posit that it may not be to everyone’s liking.
As such, not only was this relatively chewier (though less so than Llama), but, consequently, far juicier and softer when had rare to medium-rare as opposed to medium and above.
In fact, this steak had a lovely sweet undertone to it, with a taste that seemed to pleasantly linger on the palate far longer than perhaps most of the others.
Ostrich steak is more chewer in nature with its very own distinct taste. Unlike beef, this is too bloody to be had rare. However, once it’s served medium-well, it acquires a taste that one Lion imaginatively described as “weird”!
In short, the meat has a fairly strong flavour which, believe it or not, leaves an almost egg-like aftertaste. Weird indeed! Perhaps an acquired taste.
If you don’t know, then, as you might be able to tell from its deep red colour, venison is a gamey meat that one Lion described as having an almost “metallic” aftertaste. But, don’t let that put you off because venison is a naturally rich and deeply flavoursome meat.
It doesn’t take long for venison to cook either, so keep a beady eye on it; and as soon as it’s medium-rare, give it a try because in our collective opinion this is when venison tastes the best – soft, succulent and juicy with just a bit of chew to it to keep things interesting. We believe that the longer you cook this, the less flavoursome and more chewer it’ll become.
At this point, let us also mention the important fact that of the wines, the red, we agreed, went really well with all the aforemtioned steaks, complimenting the natural taste of the meat.
And let’s not underestimate the humble chicken because fast cooked on said volcanic rock, it turned out as tender and as juicy as we can honestly remember, with a certain springiness to it that surprised us.
This particular meat was lightly marinated with garlic and Peri-Peri which gave it a superb taste.
Note: these are processed burgers served in your standard sesame buns, and aren’t pretending to be anything more. Having said that though, since these also come with fries, they’re good value for money.
Comprising of two 4oz patties, this delivered that typical deep, rich flavour noted above re steak.
While one Lion described how this grew on him with each successive bite, the remaining two enjoyed it outright. It’s a simple one with mayonnaise and lettuce adding to the burgers natural sweet flavour.
Definitely recommended if you’ve never tried a venison burger before.
But, with that ultra-sweet premade BBQ sauce, this was a bit of a let down considering all the above.
Nothing to write home about.
With two patties to boot, all of which had a weird taste, this was a bit of a meaty mess.
Pretty certain a single wouldn’t have been any better because, quite truthfully, there’s nothing much there.
The Double Americano was far better though. The beef was fairly tender with that familiar bite that all processed patties guarantee, while the bacon rasher was, to our surprise, strong in flavour and quite crispy.
The relish went well with the hash brown and was tempered by the mayo.
All in all, an enjoyable eat (though we’d still recommend venison all the way).
The dough’s freshly made; the meat balls well flavoured; the toppings plentiful; the crust nice and crunchy, and there was little skimping on the mozzarella too. For what it was, a pretty good pizza.
- NO/ NO
- CHILD SEATING
- DELIVERY (WITHIN 12 MILES)
- HUNGRY HOUSE
- JUST EAT
- Halal Exotic Steaks: Llama, Ostrich, Buffalo and Venison among others.
- Cooking process that encourages the diner to fast cook their steaks on a volcanic rock grill that's been preheated to 440°C
The restaurant itself has a lovely African-inspired ambience to it which, when coupled with the mouthwatering sound and smells of sizzling steaks being prepared all around you, certainly makes for a very memorable experience.
And while Steak Inn deserves all the praise in the world for introducing this unique innovation to London's Halal culinary community, juxtaposing this with processed burgers and bog-standard pizzas, albeit pretty tasty ones for what they're worth, seems to us to just undermine all the evident hard work invested in sourcing these cuts of meat.
Discounts can be had from Gourmet Society, Taste Card, Groupon, and OpenTable.
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