Starting out as a pop-up at Shoreditch’s Owl And The Pussycat, Flat Iron is a basic proposition of the eponymous affordable cut of steak, served with the usual accompaniments quickly and efficiently. Steak for the people, if you will. But with a hipster edge and some burgeoning meat cleaver infamy.
It’s a tough one (arf) hawking lesser cuts of meat because punters still have quite high expectations for steak in any context. It’s a treat. And so it is judged more harshly than a burger at the same price point. This isn’t the best steak you’ll ever have, but it is ten pounds. And for that ten pounds, you get an attractive spread of grilled and sliced flatiron (it’s the name of the cut also) and a tiny yet delicious lamb’s lettuce salad.
The steak is cooked exactly to order; yes it does require a little more jaw work than a boring fillet but you are rewarded with a richness of flavour through a good amount of juicy marbled fat. It’s decent. Very decent. And it’s ten pounds.
Chips are £2.50 and up there with London’s finest. Superb and exactly how I like them. A modest double-fried I would say, but with smaller chips meaning loads of crispy scraps at the bottom, like batter scraps from a Geordie chip shop.
Sauces are a quid each, we had both a peppercorn and a béarnaise which were great. House red was an Italian which was spot on – not too thin and acidic like many cheaper Italian reds can be, but most overly fruity either. Perfect.
Service was friendly, both tap water and beef-dripping popcorn (!) were provided without any prompt, and of course the mini meat cleavers are a lot of fun.
It’s easy to criticise Flat Iron because clearly one can pay more to know a cow’s birthday and be happy that they were frequently massaged in between sups of beer. But as an overall experience and in the context of value (not to mention one you can do for a weekday lunch on your own dollar) it’s hard to beat. Especially for ten English pounds.
I’m not a fan of AA Gill’s particularly, and nor of Brasserie Zedel which I think is about comparable to a Café Rouge on the QE2, but I do agree that it democratises the brasserie through its pricing. Flat Iron arguably offers the same for steaks – albeit very niche rather than generalist. And that’s why I like it.