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.