There is a list as long as the Strand of restaurants in London I’d like to eat at but can’t afford. I’ll get to them eventually, birthday by birthday, and in the meantime I will enjoy my normal list of mid-range treat dinners. I ended up in MASH, which ordinarily costs more than a city break to eat at (well, a return flight on Easyjet maybe), because they were celebrating their own birthday with 50% off their steaks. I’d heard good things, and it’s not often you get top notch steak for less than £20 in Soho (apart from at the wonderful Flat Iron), so made a date with them.
It just wasn’t that good. The steaks were expertly cooked and very high quality, but by no means the best I’ve had in London (oh, Hawksmoor…) and the sides were tasty, but at £4.50 or so a go they have to be better than tasty, really. In fact the onion rings were too greasy to even be tasty, and didn’t get finished. Bad times when onion rings get left behind. But I think what cemented my negativity was the flawless service. The sort that is taught to people who don’t especially want to be serving you, but are very good at following instructions, so bring things with brusque immediacy and as much life behind their eyes as the cow on your plate now has.
High end restaurants, with their airs, graces and arseholes, will never be my favourites, but I do lust after their extravagant dishes. Exceptional food is worth the extra money, even if it means you have to iron a shirt, but I don’t think it’s worth paying a lot of money just to eat near a chandelier. Sorry MASH, your huge ballroom basement may be glitzy, but I want the food to take my breath away, not the bill.
77 Brewer Street, W1F 9ZN, 0207 734 2608