Wednesday, 27 May 2009

The Palm

It would be IMO extremely uncouth to judge a new restaurant that's barely 24 hours old. But today I ate the best piece of steak I’ve had this year or quite possibly the best ever. This Pomp Pont Street newbie is part of an American steakhouse chain that charges esoteric prices for your moo dinner. Prior to my visit I had to visit the website to ensure that the chain had some kind of credibility and pedigree. I was so very nearly put off by a page link to Celebrity Sightings in their restaurants that are dotted all over across the pond and the rather desperate postcard picture of London Tower Bridge announcing the opening of this branch didn’t help either. Well I made it here in the end.

I think we all know what steakhouses are supposed to look like now, plenty of wood and a pseudo clubby atmosphere. If you’re lucky enough (especially for a solo diner like me), securing a banquette is heaven sent; this kind of seating effectively becomes one’s oyster as all sorts of indiscreet things can be achieved like reading the Morning Star or taking macro snaps of a cheese stick (not offered here). Giles Coren in his review of the Canteen for The Times Magazine observed ‘…through the vast street vitrine watched the swarm of suited losers bustling,…’ well there were certainly a lot of suits here and they were anything but. The ladies, ah well, the last remnants of the 80s phenomenon, Sloanies come to mind. It’s too early to comment on the service, all I can say is that the white jacketed males were charming and the waitresses likewise.

Palm is also all about white tablecloths and celebrity caricatures adorning the walls
The day I see either Katie Price or Susan Boyle embellished here, I'm out.

The raison d’être. USDA Prime beef. The American Erica Wagner in her review of Goodman damns the meat from corn-fed cows to smithereens. Poppycock, Ms Wagner! I suggest you try this kind of beef out and draw your own conclusions.

It's also worth pointing out the existence of a £15 prix fixe lunch.
The full menu can be viewed here

10oz (280g) of Aged USDA Prime New York Sirloin Steak

Medium rare as requested

It was melting, buttery, rich and luxurious.
Hardly bland and cottony as suggested by Ms Wagner.

You know that when piece of meat is of reference quality like this one, it doesn’t need a sauce as an accompaniment. I was perfectly contented after this dish.
To the naked eye this could've been a piece of seared tuna.

This is the Half and Half – cottage fries (crisps) and fried onions
I gave the French Fries a miss as they normally prove too much for lunch.

I thought Hardens were unfair with their wry criticism on Palm for serving the most expensive portion of chips in the capital. On the menu Palm quite clearly states that their side portions are served family style, personally I felt there were enough on the plate for three. You can’t get better hand-cooked crisps than what’s shown. This is the sort of dish that’ll keep the kids quiet on the table as well as obes…

Key Lime Pie

I thought by e Key lime pies have a meringue topping. I wanted to argue with myself that it cannot be anything else but a cheesecake of some sort. Whatever it was, it was delicious, zesty and light. Lovely pud.

Half and Half doggy bag.

I came here because of the ever resourceful London Eating Blog. So thank you Kate. Today was only the second of the third soft openings Palm had to offer to coincide with the official launch on Friday. Even with the 50% discount and lack of booze, you can see from the bill that the place is expensive. I'm glad that my visit here was rewarded with a fine meal, I just hope that the steak I had wasn't a one-off. There's nothing worse than a review that conflicts with contrary findings thereafter. Fingers crossed. Highly recommended if budget isn't an issue.

1 Pont Street
London SW1X 9EJ

Cheeky move with the 12.5% incurred on the pre-discounted total, sacrilege!


Kate said...

Glad you enjoyed it! The prices do seem a little steep but in that area I'm sure they won't have a problem filling seats. The steak does look pretty good!

(p.s. I've seen Key Lime Pie with and without meringue - not sure what the rules are. It's delicious either way.)

Siri said...

"macro snaps of a cheese stick" definitely sounds like something you shouldn't be doing in a place this pricey! :P

Helen said...

The steak looks very pale - is that just the light in the photograph?

I heart cupcakes said...

I was alerted to this places existence by Daily Candy y'day and thought about dragging my other half along last night for 1/2 price steak but was a bit put off by their website - am kicking myself now!

bellaphon said...

Kate- Thanks once again for the tip off...gissa more please ;)

Siri- If you had a meal with me, it'll drive you crazy! 'tis one of the reasons why I end up dining alone.

Helen- The pics defaulted from the collective of zero flash, Palm's seedy incandescent lighting and my free copy of Paint Shop. To be honest if the meat was any redder, hemophobia would get the better of me.

IHC- To rub it in more, the booze were all half price as well :6

Hollow Legs said...

If that's 50% off then it's very expensive indeed.

The steak does look very pale - in my meat tasting experience pale meat wasn't the tastiest. I don't think I've tried USDA prime.

Helen said...

Ha ha, yes I see - fair enough!

Helen Yuet Ling Pang said...

Wow, that's high praise indeed! I also read about this on City Eating. But I don't know when I'll be able to eat another steak again after the Hawksmoor steak tasting, from which I still haven't recovered!