Steakout – Michelin Star Inspired New Burger Menu
Steakout has recently taken what some might see as steps towards improving their menu, while others as an improvement that’s been a long time in coming.
The Pride will certainly know which camp we belong to given our past review of their Harrow branch.
However, when we learned that the powers that be had called on the culinary skills of a chef associated with The Fat Duck, a three Michelin star restaurant that’s owned by none other than Heston Blumenthal, it’ll come as no surprise to learn that we were more than excited.
Nevertheless, it was surprising to learn that in spite of what one can imagine being quite an expensive endeavour, the experience of said chef was only restricted to their burger menu. One would think, given their name, that their steaks would also be given a makeover of sorts.
Things have also changed in other respects too since we last visited back in 2014. For one, the logo, which had Steak Out as two distinct words, has now combined into Steakout.
To recall, this is what we had to say that forgettable day:
The bun was slightly crusty where it should have been soft. But that’s probably so it could hold up to the watery and grainy texture of the meat. Yup, you heard right, watery. And since the meat wasn’t properly minced, biting into it caused the excess juice therein to run down one’s chin and fingers. In the end, trying not to feel physically sick was a challenge in itself. In fact, one of the Lions even ended up with a nasty wad of chewy, unrendered fat in his mouth.
Ouch! Never really realised how scathing we were in our assessment. Nonetheless, let it be known that FtL doesn’t mince (no pun intended) words.
Although for one reason or another we didn’t have a steak that day, we never bothered going back on account of the overall experience.
But, on learning of the measures taken to rectify this wrong, we knew a revisit to Harrow was long overdue.
It should be noted, however, that this is a tale of halves. Not only did we revisit Harrow to sample these new and, hopefully, improved burgers, but were soon persuaded to come and try their steaks, for which we decided to visit their Southall branch.
We’ve had a number of Mojitos in our time (Sen Nin’s is an example of a good one). Sadly, this didn’t quite do it for us. Yes, some people like their Mojitos a particular way, but we were all agreed that this was a little too minty to the point of overpowering the lime.
The Pina Colada on the other hand was so watery that we struggled to pick up any flavour. In fact, such was the quantity and size of the ice added that it physically got stuck in our straws!
The vanilla shake was, therefore, the winner of this trio. Not as thick as others we’ve had and enjoyed; nonetheless, the vanilla flavour was quite discernible.
Although these shakes didn’t quite deliver on the strong flavours of passion fruit or mango as one would have ideally liked, their consistency was very shake-like with both being thick and milky.
The Strawberry Daiquiris was disappointing though. Although we enjoyed the refreshingly sharp and tangy edge delivered by the fresh, off season strawberries, we were left scratching our heads over the confused combination of slush and ice chunks floating about the glass. This should have been a case of either/ or.
Either add whole blocks of ice to it, or grind them down sufficiently into a slush to ensure that no ice fragments are left big enough to block the straw, as happened to us.
In fact, we even gave them benefit of the doubt by ordering another only to be left disappointed a second time. Was this, therefore, worth the price paid for? Nope!
The gazebo wings were tangy. But there was no real depth to them other than a barely discernible Tabasco and lemony flavour. Nothing to write home about.
As for the Buffalo wings, then these were mildly marinated and, thus, mild in taste. When you think of places like The Meating Room, Pecking Order, Meat Rack, and Fat Burger, all of whom did some amazing Buffalo wings, these, we suspect, will be forgetton soon enough.
As to the BBQ, then these had a nice marinade to them and were quite BBQ-ey in flavour. Therefore, easily the best of the three.
But, here’s a question: why the need for sauce with marinated wings?!
The maths boffins will quickly calculate that these work out at £1.49 a king prawn, with the more frugal among them asking whether they’re worth it.
Well, although they were crispy on the outside and succulent on the inside, they were, nonetheless, fairly bland. The tartar sauce though made amends here because, though not in-house, this was a pretty darn decent sauce nonetheless – tarty, creamy and tangy as you’d want it.
But, wouldn’t exactly be dying for these a second time round, particularly given the price.
Now, we’re uncertain as to whether the anonymous chef from The Fat Duck had a hand in this, but whatever the case maybe, this was certainly one of the highlights of the evening.
Mild, gooey cheese coupled with the earthiness of the spinach along with just the right hint of chilli lingering in the background made this a wonderfully delicious innovation!
With large, crunchy nachos that allow for generous scoops, this gooey delight would satisfy three people… maybe!
Not bad. Rustic and non-uniform with some crispier than others.
And what a start it was too. A beef sirloin steak burger is a difficult thing to get right given the nature of the meat. Often you’ll find such an attempt turning out to be typically chewy. Not here though.
This succulent piece of thinly sliced steak was encased in a rusticly soft and lightly flavoured vinegary bun.
The flavours though were quite something. What you had here was a hint of chilli in the background that was offset by the mild citrusy tanginess of the large, thick tomato, all of which combined beautifully with the earthiness of the mushrooms, and the sweetness of the diced red, caramelised onions. Superb!
The flavours going on in this big beauty were very difficult to deconstruct, suffice it to say that the very challenge itself was proof enough that this was a very well conceived burger.
Just look at how succulent that piece of chicken is!
Not only was it juicy on the inside, but with a crispy, flaky exterior, this buttermilk buffalo chicken married perfectly with the gherkins, the red cabbage like coleslaw, large tomato, and tangy sauce, all of which left your tongue tingling with delight.
Has to be tried to be believed!
And what made this work, therefore, were the lashings of deliciously gooey and creamy cheese, along with a large, thick, tangy tomato.
All this, and a whole lot more, combined to deliver an innovatory cheese lover’s cheesy delight.
Shame they didn’t quite get the cheese to melt the way it appears in their promotional ad. Be that as it may, the truth is that this works far better in theory, than it does in practice precisely because of its humongous size.
This monster is so big that it can only ever be eaten in parts resulting in its downfall (no pun intended). What this amounts to is a disparate collection of parts that fail to marry harmoniously.
So what we had here were two 6oz medium-well patties, which were quite flavoursome, and rashers that were pretty good too – crispy and fairly strong in smoky taste… but that’s it really!
Now, if you’re looking for a challenge or something different, then by all means; however, if you’re after a burger in the traditional sense of the word, then perhaps you might want to consider its more manageable half-sized cousin – the signature cheese burger.
Yes, it was moist and succulent, and yet the lack of sufficient mayonnaise sauce, and nothing much else other than a tomato and lettuce, made it difficult to determine how this could amount to a signature burger.
Take away the signature part and what you’re left with is something average.
Note also that this and the following Naked Burger is only available at the Southall branch.
Firstly, the beef patty was woefully under seasoned. But what really let it down was this horrible odour reminiscent of unrendered fat, which, as you can imagine, put us right off.
Other than that, you have a simple salad with some coleslaw. Is it worth it? Not the way it was served to us, that’s for certain. But, if they can manage to cook the patty properly, then again it depends on whether you want something different. Conceptually speaking, the whole thing just seems out of place and, dare we say, may even detract from what is otherwise a much improved burger menu.
Up till this point, and barring a few exceptions, we were thoroughly impressed by Steakout’s burger revamp. That was until the old menu reared its head in the form of their steaks; then, all those initial doubts and fears concerning this place came flooding back in a hurry.
Being the first of the steaks served, this completely burst our bubble of enthusiasm and optimism, and brought us crashing straight down to earth!
Here was another example of a steak badly done.
In this case, not only was it bland, but the sauce used as a marinade was, frankly speaking, a wet and tasteless ultra-mild concoction of chilli, onions and water, all of which failed to come together as a whole. Hence, what we were left with was a soaking wet T-bone smothered with wet, wilting onions. Not very pleasant!
We should stop here and move on to the next item on the menu, but given we’re a review site, we’re compelled to be more … loquacious!
This was a well sized rib-eye; so to have it presented in this way was heart breaking.
Granted the meat was well cooked and quite succulent, but this was begging for some proper seasoning.
Steak Sin Alert: unseasoned, bland steak topped with gooey cheese that brought absolutely nothing to the table except… sadness!
How throwing cheese on top of a steak would ever set the pulses racing is beyond us!
S-E-A-S-O-N-I-N-G for pity’s sake!
Despite being a bit oily, this was well cooked. With a hint of sweetness in the background along with a touch of chilli, the only thing this was crying out for was a good amount of salt and pepper.
While it had a good texture, and was enhanced by a couple of sauces below, it wasn’t anything outstanding. Hence, at £17.95, let’s just say this wouldn’t be at the top of our choices.
We can confirm from the outset that things didn’t improve with the sauces.
So let’s get the worst of the lot out of the way with first. Steakout’s Hot & Spicy was, to put it plainly, inedible! It was so overpowering that it literally had all three Lions reaching immediately for their water glass! And even then, we were left with a bitter, almost acrid aftertaste lingering on our collective palates.
The mushroom sauce was perhaps one rung below the Hot & Spicy. Yes, it was edible, but only just. Not only did it have overly large pieces of mushrooms in it, but can only be best described as tasting like sour cream, and, at worst, like recently spoiled milk!
As for the pepper sauce, then not only was this way over salted, but had so much pepper that it left our tongues burning for mercy!
Nothing more to be said really!
The second batch was, how can we put this, more manageable?!
Though the menu mentioned a ‘hint of chilli’ in the Chilli Tomato sauce, what we got certainly amounted to far more than a hint, so be warned. As for the taste, then the best way to describe this is to say that it tasted like a sweet-chilli version of watered down ketchup!
Although creamy, the garlic sauce was a little too garlicky and grainy for our liking, and therefore average for what it was.
Lastly, and that too the best of the lot by a country mile, was the onion gravy, which, despite not delivering fully on the flavour of onions, still came out top. Says it all really!
Our disappointment with the steaks was somewhat assuaged by these sundaes though.
This caramel ice cream was great, with the honey comb adding just the right amount of texture and crunch to make this sundae a memorable one.
The ice cream was creamy and, in spite of the honey comb, not overly sweet, with the whole thing ending with crunchy bits of honey comb nuts at the bottom of the glass.
If there was an improvement to be made, we’d adjust the proportion of whipped cream to ice cream with far less of the former and more of the latter.
As for the Squirrel Sundae, then it was definitely more underwhelming than the caramel, and would, therefore, be perfect for someone with a lesser sweet tooth. As such, there were mixed reviews with us.
Some of us thought this was “another sundae made up of normal ingredients, but given a catchy name”, while others considered it a “nutty, creamy combo with the sweetness of the hazelnut bringing the whole thing together into a solid ending”. In all though, two out of the three Lions were left very impressed by this little squirrel.
Sometimes it’s better not to think too far outside the box. This combination of marshmallows, hazelnuts and chocolate syrup was our invention and, truth be told, didn’t quite gel as we’d hoped.
Having said that, however, this doesn’t excuse the quality of some of the ingredients here.
Take, for instance, the star, or should that be flop, of the show, Mr Waffle. As you might be able to see from the pic, he turned out hard and dry, as if he’d just been warmed through.
But what really took the biscuit here, and a biscuit would certainly have been a better alternative, was that the waffle turned out savoury as opposed to sweet! We repeat: savoury! Perhaps they mistakenly sprinkled the salt over this instead of the aforementioned steaks.
Similarly, the chocolate sauce was more a cheap chocolate syrup than anything else.
But the strawberry ice cream is worth a mention with one Lion considering it as “wonderful” and the other describing it as “very sweet”.
But salty waffles?! Won’t be forgetting that in a hurry!
- NO/ NO
- CHILD SEATING
- BABY CHANGING ROOM (SOUTHALL)
This revamping, however, has been restricted to their burgers only.
As a result, this review has turned out to be a tale of two halves!
One half is all about these fantastically conceived and executed new burgers courtesy of the help received from a chef associated with none other than Heston Blumenthal’s world famous The Fat Duck.
And the burgers we speak of here are: the Beef Sirloin Steak, the Buttermilk Buffalo Chicken, and the Mac 'n' Cheese, which have to be tried to be believed.
That leaves us with the other half, namely the steaks, which, of course, is what STEAKout is all about. In this case, however, the steaks are no longer, assuming they were to begin with, the star of show. And this only begs the question as to why the culinary knowledge of this anonymous chef wasn’t also taken advantage of to revamp the very epitomisation and selling point of this restaurant.
It would make sense that they do because, as things currently stand, these steaks are simply not good enough to justify the name Steakout now that these burgers have stolen the show. If they choose not to, however, then perhaps they might want to rename themselves Burgerout!
We’ve said this before in regards to other establishments content with serving cheaper cuts of meat, and we believe it’s worth repeating here too:
Unless you’re presented with Grade-A quality meat à la La Fiesta, then you’ll definitely need some sort of seasoning or sauce to compensate for the ordinary.Now, we’re not saying there’s anything overtly wrong with using cheaper cuts, but restaurateurs have to understand that these can only be elevated above the ordinary and average through the use of external ingredients – and we don’t mean here the default salt and pepper. What’s required is some kind of sauce and/ or dry rub, along with making doubly sure that the steak is cooked to perfection, in order for the diner to be wowed. Otherwise, what’s the point of serving steak for the sake of serving steak?
People are dining out more and more in recent times, and the sheer variety of cuisines, particularly across London, is mind blowing to the extent that it’s helped raise the proverbial cooking bar. As such, people are no longer as ignorant as they used to be, nor are they forced to put up with mediocrity.
Hence, most of us now know what separates a good steak from a poor one.
In fact, one of the main reasons that compelled us to embark on this culinary adventure was to help raise this very bar within the Muslim community by empowering them with knowledge of everything that’s out there across the halal culinary world. Our hope was, and still is, that such knowledge will, in turn, encourage and motivate restaurateurs to raise their game in order to retain their customers.
So far, Steakout has done exactly that with their burgers. All that’s required now is to do the same with their steaks.
There was also issues with the service, which we hope will be addressed. The first is that it took 15 explicably long minutes between the arrival of the Pina Colada and the Mochito!
The second is that alongside the plates and cutlery, the table should also be wiped down and cleared of any excess tissues before bringing in the next order.
Thirdly, the staff failed to bring out plates for both the T-bone steak as well as some of the burgers. These small things should, in effect, never occur at any restaurant!
On a positive note, and one which is rare with these types of restaurants, is that both branches never failed in presenting hot plates.
Furthermore, we found the staff to be smiling and courteous, and engaging and involved enough to come over and make certain everything was well.
Lastly, of the two branches we’ve visited, Southall’s is easily the largest. It comprises of three floors with approximately 44 seats on the bottom floor, and 116 on all floors.
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