Thursday, 22 September 2011

Steak, glorious steak... and a pretty mean Martini!

If you’re a fan of steak, I can tell you where to go. If you’re a fan of cocktails, I can tell you where to go. If you’re a fan of both... now I can, without a shadow of a doubt, tell you the best place to go.

Last week I visited Sophie’s Steakhouse on the Fulham Road, and it was UH-MAZ-ING! Situated on the stretch of Fulham Road known as ‘The Beach’, Sophie’s has been doing a busy trade for almost a decade and has a pretty substantial following of devotees. With one tweet announcing my intention to visit, I was deluged with suggestions of much loved cocktails, milkshakes and raves about Sophie’s special steak sauce. Feeling a little bit silly for not having visited before (it damages my pride a little to think I’m so late to the party with such a local favourite as this), I decided the only way to do it justice was visit post-haste, and go a little OTT whilst ordering.

Not being able to decide between all those cocktail suggestions, I left myself in the capable hands of my waitress and had her bring two drinks she thought I might like. Well, she must have been a mind-reader because the Kiki’s Mojito (Havana Rum, Raspberries and Pineapple Juice – this time jazzed up with a splash of champagne) and Chili, Passion Fruit and Vanilla Martini she returned with were spot on. I love any cocktails with berries in, and the Kiki’s Mojito walked the line perfectly between sweet and tangy. And next time anyone asks me for a drink’s recommendation, I’ll send them to Sophie’s for that Chili Martini – absolutely divine.

Having glugged down the cocktails (you know when something is just too good to savour?), we ordered a nice bottle of Rioja to help us was down the mains. And the copious amounts of sides. And that milkshake we just had to have at the end. The wine was a Viña Zaco Rioja in case you’re interested, and very nice indeed.
Although you can order hearty classics like fish and chips and Shepherd’s Pie, I felt I couldn’t very well go to a place called Sophie’s Steakhouse and not test out the meat. The boy felt likewise and soon a Fillet Steak and a Rib Eye were on their way to us. But not before we’d gobbled up the salami platter that arrived with our drinks, and a beautiful beef carpaccio that was so tasty we got most of the way through before we remembered to photograph it!

The meat at Sophie’s is not exactly cheap (you can get a minute steak for £12.95 if you’re a bit hard up, but the Chateaubriand costs an eye-watering £49.95 for two), but you can tell they take it seriously. Where most restaurants will simply list the cut on the menu, Sophie’s takes the trouble to describe the texture, level of marbling (that’s fatty bits to you and I) and differences in flavour. We ordered both steaks medium rare, and they arrived beautifully cooked, moist, flavoursome and with an equally delicious side of hand cut fries and béarnaise sauce. The chips also tasted fairly amazing when dipped in Sophie’s special Steak sauce, and extra smoky variant of BBQ sauce – yum yum!

Not wanting those poor steaks to be lonely, we may have gone a little overboard on the sides. Our neighbours’ eyes nearly popped out of their skulls as they saw the lettuce wedge with blue cheese and bacon arrive, followed by onion rings AND macaroni cheese. My absolute favourite had to be the mac ‘n’ cheese. It was extra indulgent, extra cheesy and definitely raised my chances of a heart attack by about ten notches (it would be worth it).

Rounding off, and I’m still not sure how we squeezed it in, we shared one of Sophie’s famous milkshakes. Having been recommended the Oreo one by a reader, I was mildly disappointed to find it was no longer on offer, but any such feelings were quickly dispelled with my first sip of my vanilla and toffee milkshake. De-lic-ious!

Sophie’s is a real all-rounder, and it’s no wonder we found it so busy late on a Sunday evening. The bar has a great vibe (all exposed brick, metal fixtures - loved the low hanging lightbulbs - and blackboards) and some excellent cocktails to match. The steak was really well cooked and in general the menu sticks to a hearty formula and delivers perfectly on it. It's also worth mentioning it that the service was brilliant, and both our waiter and waitress were really warm, welcoming and attentive. The booth we were sat in was pretty darn comfy too! I can’t believe I was so late to discover this one, but I’ll definitely be back again.

Sophie’s Steakhouse
311-313 Fulham Road, London SW10 9QH.
Bookings: 0207 352 0088

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