When one is double dating for the evening, it is essential to find a location that hits the spot for us foodie-focused and cocktail-loving females as well as gets the thumbs up from our carnivore menfolk. When I heard about halal steak restaurant Steakout, I thought I could be on to a winner; especially if the sizzling plates displayed on their Facebook account were anything to go by. With three out of four of us diners passing through Stratford on our commutes home from work in central London, Steakout’s east London venue seemed like the ideal spot to sample. I promptly booked a table and managed to wangle a 10% discount over Facebook, as we were visiting the day after a social media campaign 15% discount code expired. A 10% discount was a great compromise here so customer service was already looking good.
Steakout certainly looks the part of a steak restaurant, with its sleek and manly black boarding and minimalist red and white neon sign neatly printing its name above the glass door. I got the impression that the look the restaurant was going for city-slicked ranch; this certainly continued inside with plenty of rustic red brickwork, neat wooden flooring and accents of its trademark deep red featuring on the booth side seating cushions and in trendy glow-style lighting that backlit behind the seating booths. With two floors, it has plenty of seating, which is evidently needed as quite a lot of large groups arrived at a similar time to us. We were shown downstairs to a cosy booth for four, with plump red cushions, and steak knives sharply glistening next to matching red napkins.
Drinks were interesting. I’m just going to lay this out there; I am very much a social drinker. I don’t drink a lot of alcohol overall and I don’t really drink alcohol when I’m at home. For me, I enjoy sipping on fine wines or slurping a G&T when I’m surrounded by my family and friends, and especially if I’m out for a meal. It’s all part of the treat for me. However, since Steakout is a halal restaurant, I can only assume that that then includes a no alcohol provision clause, as no alcoholic beverages featured on the menu at all. Of course, this could be to tailor to the majority Muslim population in that part of East London, which is why I also assume the fact that it provides halal dishes has made it such a local hotspot and ensured it has a good crowd in on most evenings. I don’t have a problem with any of this, but it sure makes it hard to pick a drink when your normal soft drink of choice is tap water. That certainly doesn’t make for an exciting night out. Luckily for me, Steakout has an extensive mocktail menu, so I kicked things off with a pina colada. This coconut and pineapple concoction came in a tall, thin glass, and although the drink itself was nice, it was so packed full of ice that it felt like I was being conned slightly as it was more ice than mocktail. Considering the mocktails were similar to what I would pay for a cheap cocktail, I was a bit disappointed with this.
We decided to begin our meal with a couple of sharing starters, so we chose the spicy lamb chops and the nachos with spinach cheese dip. Firstly, the lamb chops. They were presented on a long oval black sizzling dish, with four succulent grilled chops that had been marinated in Steakout’s special spice mix sat atop a little bed of fried up onions. Each chop was a nice size, and since there were four of us, we had one each. They were very tender and juicy, so you could tell the quality of the meat was good. The spice mix added a gentle warmth to enhance the meat flavour and accent its lovely texture, but it certainly didn’t overpower. Matched with the onions, this really whet the appetite for steak later on. The nachos were pretty standard, with the crisps served in a basket next to a square black skillet dish, containing the creamy cheese spinach dip. It was basically a thick and gooey cheese sauce that was threaded with green spinach leaves, with extra cheese melted on top for good measure. It was very moreish with a strong cheddar flavour that flooded the crunchy nacho chips. It was interesting having the spinach laced through the sauce. I don’t think it added to the flavour or texture as cheese was undoubtedly the main event here, however it was a stroke of colour here and there, and when you got a bit on your nacho, it was still tasty.
For main course, we had to opt for the steak. Who would come to a steak restaurant and not have steak?!? I chose to have the 340g philly cheese steak, which was basically a sirloin steak served with caramelised onions and melted cheese all on top. Yum! There was a smaller 200g steak on offer for this dish, but for me, it was go big or go home! As well as choosing what type of steak you wanted, you could also choose what style; for example do you want your steak done in traditional Steakout fashion with its secret spicy braai rub served in a sizzling platter with the onions, or do you want to keep things simple with a more western dish, opting for a thicker cut with light seasoning? Since we were there for the Steakout experience, we all chose to have our steak cooked in the Steakout method. We then got to pick an accompanying sauce, so I went for a creamy garlic dip, and also sides. I decided to go for rice to mix it up, although with others in the group ordering fries, I knew I would be stealing some!
The steak was certainly an impressive size, filling a sizzling platter with gusto, squashing the wriggling soft onions underneath. What looked like three cheese slices had been melted on top of the steak, just to the point of stringy goo so it was soft and pliable to smear on the meat, but not bubbled with golden crispy bits. The steak was delicious, and a really lovely cut. It was juicy, a decent thickness and was just great to get my chops around. It was a hearty, meaty dish and to honest, you simply can’t go wrong with a good steak. Granted, I wouldn’t say the steak was in the echelons of Steak and Co, but it was a great piece of meat, cooked to how I liked it. There was a tiny bit of grizzle and fat, but not enough that it would come anywhere near to disturbing my enjoyment of the meal. The onions were a great addition for that classic steak and onion marriage, and the cheese helped tie all of this fantastic, full bodied flavours together under a blanket of creaminess. My garlic dip was a refreshing little accent served in a little black dip pot. I rather liked mixing it with my yellow toned rice, which was fluffy and yummy. The rice was pretty bog standard really, it just unassumingly sat on the side in a separate side bowl and let the steak be centre stage.
After this meat meltdown, it was round two of mocktails and this time I chose a strawberry daiquiri, which was a much better choice. Since the ice was blended as part of the drink, I found I had a lot more of it and the strawberry flavour was really fresh and evident. A much better mocktail all round in my opinion.
For dessert, Steakout have a typical dessert-shop style menu that’s all sundaes, waffles and stuff piled up as high as possible in a sweet mountain of high blood sugar. Divine. I tried requesting dessert, however they didn’t have my first choice because they’d run out of a certain ice cream flavour. This led to the dessert guy coming to our table to take a custom order. Sharing with my sister but with me in the driver’s seat, I went for a waffle topped with bananas and mini marshmallows and drizzled with ten ton of Nutella sauce. I then chose a Ferreo Rocher ice cream scoop while Jess went pistachio. When it arrived at the table, the waffle was generously portioned to enable Jess and I to share easily, with each scoop of ice cream in a separate bowl so we could sample our respective flavours easily. The waffle was light, fluffy and just pure yum and I absolutely adored the lashings of Nutella drenching the top of the waffle. This dessert is just a simple compile stuff together job, but when it combines all flavours and things that you love, what’s not to like?
We had a few problems with the bill at the end; the waiting staff had not amended our dessert choices, so we had to get that fixed. The good news is though that they ended up applying a 15% discount instead of a 10% and they were fine for us to have that extra off, which was nice. The service was very friendly and chatty, however no amount of banter can make up for when your food takes ages and when you can’t get anyone’s attention. Weirdly, if you go to this branch and sit on the downstairs level, a portion of the ceiling is see-through; clearly some kind of fancy clear plastic meant to create the look of space. However, we soon realised that this clear strip of floor led directly to the ladies toilets; and my sister and I were both wearing dresses with tables sat underneath the clear ceiling we were walking over. Whoever designed that was seriously in error there!
All in all though, I had a great evening and really loved every course that I ate. The meat is brilliant here, and the casual vibe is great for a weekday get together that’s uncomplicated and fun. I enjoyed the food and I most likely would go back if I happened to be nearby and had the fancies for steak.