Rowley’s Restaurant, St James’s, a Must for Steaklovers

We have just returned from our lunch at Rowley’s in famous Jermyn Street in London’s poshest part of town: St. James’s. (I know what you’re thinking, we were shocked too when we found out many years ago, but Berkeley Square’s Mayfair is only the second best part of town, well, never mind.) It wasn’t our first visit and it certainly won’t be our last. We love this restaurant that could very well be London’s finest steak house.

For over forty years, steaklovers from all over town and from far beyond have come to this elegant temple of carnivorous pleasures and a good many of them will have enjoyed the same signature dish we had today (and have every time we visit): a very large portion of chateaubriand steak with herb Roquefort and butter sauce and unlimited French fries.

  

As usual we took advantage of the great offers that are out there on the internet (Ms B is very good at these types of things, and there is nothing wrong with saving 44% through Travelzoo.com, which brings the price per person down to a mere £21, including the unlimited fries and one side to share; a discretionary 12.5% service charge based on full price of the meal will be added).

The restaurant was empty when we arrived at 12:30pm, which is crazy for a gem like this, but it suited us well, because the service, which is always great, was also super-quick (which it isn’t always; never waited too long, though, not even when it’s very busy), even when a few more guests found their way into this location.

  

We studied the beautiful surroundings with tiles from the times when this was a butcher store, while we were waiting, but the wait was just a few minutes, when a medium-rare steak (the way I like it) cut into thick slices arrived in a pan and was sat on top of a small gas-fire on our table. I helped myself to my bits right away, because I didn’t want it to get too well-done. I served Ms B some of the smaller, outer slices and we let the rest of her portion sit above the fire for plenty more time.

The herb butter and Roquefort, which were melting into the sauce in a pot on the pan, went extremely well with the meat. The watercress and the buttered steamed spinach were delicious too. Not least, the French fries were cooked to perfection. No idea how they manage to make the best fries in the world without triple-cooking them (they’re only single-cooked), probably some alchemy involving shock freezing and finely ground unicorn horns. I nearly overate on the fries!

  

To me Rowley’s always had the touch and feel of an upmarket restaurant, so, when researching this blog post, when for the first time checking their website, reading the menu (I never had to, because I always knew what I was going to order) and reading other reviews, I was hugely surprised that Rowley’s themselves and most reviewers think of this fine establishment as an upmarket steak and chips joint. The menu contains fish and chips, burger, and pie (besides more fancy ones like duck confit and risotto), the wine list is decidedly unspectacular and relatively cheap, and most starters are under ten. I’m thinking they should throw out the pub dishes, upscale the rest of the menu a bit, get themselves a sommelier and go high-end.

We’ll be back very soon. 5 out of 5 in our books, even if you do not take into account the discount we received today (in which case £42 per person for the best steak in town, unlimited fries, and half another side dish in a reasonably elegant setting like this in the middle of St James’s is still great value for money, unless you think of it as a steak and chips joint, that is, perhaps).

Looking for more restaurant reviews? Click here for our reviews of Fera  and Galvin at the Athenaeum, London, Lafleur, Frankfurt, or Café Demel, Vienna.

In need of some inspiration for your next trip? North pole perhaps , Sahara, rock-climbing and off-roading near Porto, an escape room experience in London, or a ride with the great people of London Helicopter.

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