Last Saturday for lunch, Ms B & I decided it was time for a juicy steak, so we walked the short distance over to Boisdale Mayfair, next to Marble Arch.
Ms B, or voucher-chick, as her schoolfriends used to call her back in the day, had found a 50% off deal on Open Table. She had already visited the Boisdale Canary Wharf a few months ago with work colleagues and highly recommended the steaks (I had previously only been there for drinks). There are two more branches, one in Bishopsgate and one in Belgravia.
Boisdale is the brainchild of self-styled enfant terrible Ranald Macdonald , a man admiringly described by Tatler, the pompously posh periodical or manicured millionaires’ magazine, as “the most politically incorrect restaurateur in Britain.”
The younger of Clanranald and eldest son of the 24th chief and captain of Clanranald, Macdonald’s background sounds as if he spends his days tossing cabers somewhere in the Outer Hebrides. However, in interviews he quickly clarifies that he’s proud of his roots but at the same time pretty much as far removed from them as possible: a big-city boy bon vivant with a penchant for the finer things in life, mainly: whisky, cigars, jazz music, wine, and steak, in that order. His restaurants have been called Scottish men dens and boys’ dale.
Well, we were really there for the steaks, and, sitting on the outside terrace next to several couples and a family, the testosterone levels of our environment seemed at a manageable level.
Boisdale advertise that they source only the finest Scottish ingredients. The salmon and shellfish are from the Hebrides, the beef comes from Aberdeenshire and apparently there is highland lamb when it comes into season in autumn.
Service was quick and friendly. After short deliberation, we decided to go for the 7oz fillet steak (£32.95 minus 50% off) and the 12oz rib-eye steak (£38 minus 50% off), each with Bearnaise sauce (included in the price stated here). We added two sides of wilted spinach (£5.50 each minus 50% off), a large bottle of still water (£4.50) and a pint of cider (a very reasonable £5.35).
The food arrived after about 20 minutes and both steaks were proper medium, as ordered. At a steakhouse of this reputation we were expecting nothing less. But it is still always a great experience to get medium when you order medium in England. Three out of four restaurants, including relatively pricey (non-starred) ones, in our opinion don’t know how to do medium. They usually give you a well-done or just slightly pink steak, not proper medium.
Both steaks were neither tender nor chewy. We probably would have preferred the meat to have less of a bite. However, both steaks were very flavoursome and the Bearnaise sauce was truly delicious (even though way too little). My rib-eye had plenty of streaks and bits that I cut off and left on the side of the plate, but in my book that’s how it should be. After all, that’s where a good part of the taste comes from. I’m no fan of kitchens cutting off most of the white parts.
The wilted spinach was nothing out of the ordinary, but made a good side dish.
Our total bill, including a 12.5% service charge, and after the 50% discount, which had saved us over £40, came to £62.30, which is a bargain for what we had and for this part of town. Even at full price (£103.28) we would consider this a decent price tag, even though we’d probably not be willing to pay that much. Overall, 3.75 out of 5 in our book, 4.5 out of 5 if you take into account the 50% discount.
Thank you for stopping by and hope to see you again soon.