"It's not much but it's ours"

Monday, June 23, 2008


When Black Friday comes
I'm gonna dig myself a hole

It was my own fault really. At the start of the week I’d bought a big Rib Steak from Jack O’Shea’s in Knightsbridge. Aged for forty days and nights, marvellously marbled and allied to my sure-fire method for cooking steak it meant I had a frankly unbeatable tea and a piece of meat that would be difficult to better in any restaurant. You could say that the stakes had been raised.

Yet a few days later, here I was, yearning for more beef. There was Hawksmoor nearby. But that would mean a cocktail or two, starters, a huge steak, a couple of sides, too much wine and a pud – ice cream of course. A major undertaking no doubt. That and the fact I always feel the need to bring the latest restaurant news to our blog’s small but loyal band of readers meant I decided to give recent arrival and nabe joint Green Door a go. Of course, being called Green Door meant I had the Shakin Stevens hit, very annoyingly, playing in the jukebox of my head as I sauntered along.

I didn’t have high expectations for Green Door. Why ? Well, it’s part of a chain for a start. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but usually is. The sister branch is in that well known gastronomic hotspot South Kensington. Has anything decent ever come out of SW7 ? Although I admit, I did like Daquise about twenty-five years ago but I was in love with one of the Polish waitresses and it was cheap. Finally and most ominously Green Door is bang in the heart of the City where the number edible meals I’ve had over the years comfortably fits on the fingers of one hand and they were a bit shaky (see what I did there) until I’d had a drink or two.

Even so I admired the chutzpah with which they bigged themselves up (“The Finest in Contemporary Dining”, “The Best Steaks in London”). Surely, they wouldn’t let me down. They didn’t, but only insofar as my very low expectations were well and truly met and in places fallen well short of. Sterling work people.

Where can I start on how mediocre this place is ? The décor which would only appear slick and sophisticated to people who grew up going to McDonalds or a Aberdeen Angus Steakhouse on special occasions. Loud and thudding music from yesteryear issued forth from a cheap soundsystem. I did ask for it to be turned down but it soon crept up in volume again.

For a steakhouse the list of slabs of meat is mundane: fillet, sirloin, rib eye and a NY strip (whatever happened to good old rump ?) and they all max out at a relatively puny 12oz. I know not everyone wants a big steak at lunch but was this all they really had ? It was all I was getting so I went with the rib eye.

First some Crab Cakes. Within their battered carapace there did appear to be some crab but it didn’t have any of the taste of that shellfish. Odd. They were the sort of thing you might get at a corporate finger buffet – which will be familiar if you work in that world.

My steak wasn’t great. It didn’t have the requested char just some hatch-markings from the grill which I suppose is how all the other steaks come. It did come rare as requested but hadn’t really been rested enough. It boasted six weeks ageing but tasted more like six minutes. There is something essentially dispiriting about eating a lump of undistinguished protein and as dispiriting experiences go this one was right up there. It wasn’t exactly bad, just not very good. Which, as I said before, was what I expected. But sometimes, just sometimes it’s nice to surprised.

Chips were workaday, probably frozen, but looked a lot better than the frites. There was some creamed spinach that wasn’t and a very peculiar béarnaise sauce that was thin and pale and not very interesting (a bit like Kate Moss). I only mention the wine because the taste reminded me of that old joke about making love on a punt.

Green door, what's that secret you're keeping ? Believe me Shaky, some things are better off not knowing.

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Blogger EdibleLondon said...

What's the punt joke?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008 9:46:00 am  
Blogger Chris Pople said...

As a self-appointed beef bore now (partly thanks to your blog, you may not be proud to know), I can't understand why restaurants find it so difficult to cook steak. JUST TURN THE HEAT UP! TURN IT UP! Get a bloody char on the thing then whack it in an oven. Perhaps it's just laziness in the kitchen not wanting to bother with two cooking methods. And yet they still want to charge £20 for it? They can bugger off. Right I'll calm down now.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008 11:59:00 am  
Blogger Hermano 1 said...

They're both fucking close to water (ay-thang-yew).

Tuesday, June 24, 2008 7:28:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I eat in the citty every day , Green Door in fact , and i think that the imbecil that wrote this 1st don t understand anything about food 2nd they are doing very good business and are well better without knob heads like your self , do us all a favor and stay away from the Green Door .... loser

Wednesday, June 25, 2008 9:01:00 pm  
Blogger Hermano 2 said...

Would you mind awfully letting us have this comment again, but this time in English, then we can respond

Thanks very much

Thursday, June 26, 2008 8:23:00 am  
Blogger Chris Pople said...

How nice that Anthony Worrall-Thompson found the time to comment on your blog.

Thursday, June 26, 2008 12:00:00 pm  
Blogger Hermano 1 said...

HS, please stop bullying our father...

Thursday, June 26, 2008 11:32:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello! Thanks for this warning. I'm still looking for a good steak and have Buen Ayre and Hawksmoor on my list. Should I keep them on the list, or have you found better ones?

Monday, June 30, 2008 10:40:00 pm  
Blogger Hermano 1 said...

Haven't been to Buen Ayre (Hackney Branch) for a year but I always liked the steaks there and the morcilla and mojellas were great.

Likewise it's a few months since I've been to Hawksmoor but I had a very good ribeye last time and the cocktails are excellent.

But don't take my word for it why not try both places and make your own mind up ? Like most things in life there are no guarantees.

Incidentally, the steak for two at Quo Vadis looks really good - I think I might try that next time I
go there.

Monday, June 30, 2008 11:17:00 pm  
Blogger Chris Pople said...

Someone - I think it was on eGullet - said that the Cheyne Walk brasserie served him the best steak he'd ever had, so that's on my to do list. But yes Hawksmoor is excellent and the Buen Ayre sister restaurant in Battersea (next door to Tom Ilic) is very good too.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008 1:21:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, I'll definitely keep them on my list then, and perhaps try Quo Vadis too! I'm going to have to recruit some meat-eaters for these...

Tuesday, July 01, 2008 2:35:00 pm  
Blogger Hermano 1 said...

Don't forget Anchor and Hope who do an excellent Cote de Boeuf as well although you have to be prepared to eat a little earlier.

Poeple have also said good things about Hix Oyster and Chop House although I wasn't that chuffed with my Onglet...

Tuesday, July 01, 2008 11:53:00 pm  
Blogger Hermano 1 said...

Re Buen Ayre I think they opened the Battersea Branch when there was a falling out between the owners. The original chef still cooks in Hackney afaik.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008 11:55:00 pm  
Blogger Hermano 1 said...

Worldfoodieguide - recently revisited QV and had the Sirloin. It was terrific - probably the best I've had recently. They have a meat locker in the kitchen where they age the whole joints. I'm going to go back and have the Rib for two. Watch this space.

Monday, July 07, 2008 10:42:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I just read your QV review, as I remembered you said you'd return for the steak. Surf n'turf! Haven't had that since Key West in 2000...I like the sound of those chips, as chips are almost as important to me as the steak itself. After your next visit for rib for two, I'll give it a try!

Friday, July 11, 2008 10:29:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting. If you do a bit of digging you will find that the people behind Green Door are in fact the same people who bought out Aberdeen Angus a few years back.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008 10:30:00 am  
Blogger Chris Pople said...

Hahaha! That explains a LOT. Classic.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008 10:43:00 am  

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