Toro’s Steakhouse – Harrow
The first thing you’re struck by when coming face to face with Toro’s Steakhouse in Harrow is how big and spacious it is. According to our estimate, this has a seating capacity of around 120, and that’s not including the basement, which is still under construction.
The restaurant has a smart upper tier, where you’ll also find their non-alcoholic bar, which can accommodate for 26. There’s then the lower level comprising of three sections: the one adjacent to the upper tier that also has 26 seats, a mid-portion leading immediately in from the main entrance which has 22, and a section to the left, which also leads to the toilets, with 48. The sheer grandeur of the place gives the impression of confidence in said brand.
And having only been open for three months, the place is, apart from being very smartly decorated, unsurprisingly clean and impressively immaculate.
We were told they hired a drinks maker of some class. They weren’t exaggerating. Among the four we tried were two that were simply outstanding.
Let’s start with one that’s not on the menu, but has to be tried to be believed: the unofficially titled Lebanese Lemonade. Difficult to describe how good this really was, so we’ll suffice with the following review feedback from 3 Lions: awesome (x2), original, aromatic, fresh, unique, tangy, minty kick, incredible after taste, lingers on the palate, lime and zesty. Seriously, this will blow your mind!
The next best is the sparkling Mojito, which was presented almost perfectly with the lemon rightly dominating over the mint as it always should.
Strawberry Daiquire was decent enough, but didn’t quite deliver on the strawberry taste nor on the clean freshness of some Strawberry Daiquires we’ve had the pleasure of. Having said that though, the consistency of the ice slush was just right.
As for the Pina Colada, then neither was it too sweet nor did the pineapple taste come through as strongly as it should have. Nonetheless, it was fairly refreshing with the slush again perfectly… slushed! Just needs more of a kick.
These medium sized wings were pleasant enough. Well cooked with a good crispy exterior and plenty of marinade.
The Lemon & Herb had the tang of the lemon, which kicked in immediately. As for the others, then the marinades tasted suspiciously similar to the Nando’s sauces you can easily pick up at any supermarket. Like we said, pleasant enough.
These had a rich buttery, tangy tomato taste to them with sweetness delivered by the red peppers. But, it has to be said though that the prawns were a little on the chewy side.
One Lion believed the marinade for this and the above prawn dish was pretty much the same except that this was more glazed. The chicken, however, was slightly on the dry side.
In all though, we’d go for the prawns and wings (in that order) over this.
We’d also recommend introducing hot plates for all dishes rather than the cold ones our starters were presented on!
Before the sauces, let us firstly give you a low down on Toro’s unique concept. The idea behind this steak out is to offer their assortment of steaks as either Sizzlers or just plain normal, with the difference between the two being that the former, which also includes chicken and prawn, are:
Served on a red hot cast iron plate sizzling hot.
Also, while the normal steaks – Rump, T-Bone or Sirloin – are only served with chips and a choice of garlic, pepper or gravy sauce, the Sizzlers offer an additional choice of either french fries, pasta or rice.
If you go for the Sizzlers, then the entertainment factor is delivered by pouring the sauce directly on to the red hot cast iron plate – and be warned, it’s not so much red hot as it is white hot – causing the plate to sizzle and spit like crazy. Hence, we’d advise extra caution and a little distance when doing the deed.
The sauces were okay in terms of flavour: the pepper wasn’t overpowering; the garlic flavour was pretty subtle; while the gravy was a little too watery.
In fact, all three were fairly watered down, and we can understand why. It’s obvious that the sizzling reaction caused by pouring said sauces on to the hot plates will be far more potent when watery in nature. Perhaps this is the reason why something as obvious as mushroom sauce, which is traditionally fairly thick in consistency, isn’t on the menu.
However, aside from the obvious spit back mentioned above, there is another potential drawback in pouring such watery sauces over your food – it can leave it unnecessarily wet and soggy. But, how to find the middle ground between achieving that intense sizzling reaction and not leaving a wet puddle? Perhaps they might consider having a thicker sauce that’s poured into the container first, and thus rests at the bottom, before topping that with a more watery version. In that way, once the experience of the sizzle has been satisfied, diners can then get down to the important part of properly devouring their food.
As soon as this sizzling Surf ‘n’ Turf delight was placed before us, we knew we were being presented with something quite unique. Comprising of butterflied prawns and fillets of steak resting atop of spicy rice and chilli fries, the combination of smells exuding from this delightfully colourful dish was quite something.
As to the star of the show, then the fillets didn’t disappoint. Soft, succulent and beautifully cooked, the first thing that hits you is the heat of the pepper followed by the beautiful sweet undertone of the freshly cooked meat.
As to the prawns, then despite having a nice chilli and lemon flavour to them, these were similar to the starters in that they were a little on the chewy side.
But what really added an extra depth to this dish were the charred onions at the bottom which, while serving as a protective barrier from the intense heat of the red hot iron plate, added a lovely crispy taste and texture.
The spicy rice, with its peas, carrots, runner and broad beans, was a little on the soft side and also perhaps a little too spicy, but an interesting option nevertheless.
As for the chilli fries, then these turned out to be far too soft. Either this is how they were meant to be, which is unlikely, or the residual heat from the piping hot plate caused them to sweat. Whatever the case, they weren’t a very pleasant texture.
In all, however, a wholesome meal that’s certainly worth the money.
If you’ve come to a steak house and prefer chicken in place of beef steak, then we’ve had far better. For one, it was on the thin side; and secondly, it was on the dry side.
If, on the other hand, you’ve had the chicken wings for your starter, then there really isn’t much point getting this because it seems as though the same marinade for that is used for this.
If not, then just stick with beef, or perhaps even prawn (provided these are cooked well), because this was average.
The regular fries on the left, however, weren’t overly soft like their chilli cousins on the right, but rather crunchy, which tells us that the chilli fries are perhaps meant to be that mushy texture. If so, then it really doesn’t make sense to us since, by definition, fries are meant to be crunchy on the outside, and soft and fluffy on the inside.
In our honest opinion, they may want to revisit the chilli fries.
The Filet Mignon isn’t on the menu, so needs to be requested. Of course, given it’s a Filet Mignon, it’ll be far dearer than the other cuts; but, you are getting what you pay for here, which is quality.
Not quite the medium well we’d ordered, these steaks were quite different to the peppery Surf ‘n’ Turf, but also far richer, tender and juicier too owing to the thickness of the meat. But, what really impressed us was the Malay-oriented addition of a near perfectly fried egg taking centre stage on top. Not only did this unique and exotic touch add an extra level of flavour, but also a sense of excitement in cutting and seeing the yolk run down the sides. Definitely worth adding!
Aside from the fries, we also got pasta! Unfortunately, this simply didn’t work. Firstly, these had a tangy-chilli tomatoey taste to them, distinctly similar to the chilli fries, and so, therefore, clashed with the natural meaty sweetness of the steak as well as the earthiness of the egg.
Perhaps a far better option, and one that would be better placed on such a menu, would be to make available potato mash as an option.
Now the above is what you get when you take sizzling chocolate, throw in some delicious brownies on top, add a layer of ice cream, cover that with lashings of cream, and drizzle more chocolate all over – a complete and utter show stopper. This, however, didn’t just talk the talk, but walked it too.
The first thing that hits you with this big beauty is the intense smell of chocolate being caramelised before your very eyes. But, don’t dilly dally for very long because you need to experience the hot and cold contrast before the ice cream melts away. It’s a case of grabbing your spoons, discarding your inhibitions, and diving straight in.
Don’t forget though, the best part is getting at the chewy, caramelised chocolate at the bottom, while the fun part is doing so without burning your mouth.
What’s doubly good about this is that contrary to what you might expect, this is surprisingly light.
An absolute must!
The waffle version isn’t as good, but that’s not to say that this won’t blow you away; it will. It’s just that it isn’t as chocolatey. Ergo, if you prefer an alternative to tonnes of choc, then this is the alternative.
- NO/ NO
- CHILD SEATING
There are, however, certain areas we've highlighted above that they might want to look into to either perfect, retweak, or rework.
It's always important to remember that, as with anything, the difference between something that's there and something that's almost there often comes down to those small, though crucial details - details which could make all the difference between, for instance, serving well cooked prawns or tough, chewy ones.
Otherwise, we were very impressed with the service, the atmosphere, and the overall facilities. Keep it up guys!
This steak house is definitely worth the visit, particularly for those sizzling steaks; most certainly for those desserts; but don't you dare forget that unofficially titled: Lebanese Lemonade (which needs to be put on that menu guys, pronto)!
As per usual, we'd love to hear your views if you do visit, so do thank us below.
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190 Station Rd, Harrow,
Greater London, HA1 2RH.
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 17:00–23:00 | Sat-Sun 12:00-00:00
T: +44 (0)20 8621 0615 | W: www.torosuk.com