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Sophie’s is a meating place with style

It’s a macho, meaty approach at a new Soho eatery where prime cuts get top billing

08 February, 2018 — By Tom Moggach

Steak is, of course, the star turn at Sophie’s Steakhouse. Aged for 70 days, it arrived well rested with skinny fries

TWO strong currents are swirling through the restaurant scene: plant-based cooking versus a more macho, meaty approach.

Sophie’s Steakhouse is definitely the latter – a new eaterie in Soho inhabiting the shell of the defunct Moulin Cinema. Here, their fire pit is star of the show. Flames are tamed by the bespoke “infernillo” grill: a 2.5 metre spherical creation crafted from cast iron, with all manner of chains, grills and pulleys.

To be fair, the chefs also give a nod to vegetables and seafood. But prime cuts get top billing – from côte de boeuf to a 70-day aged rump. Sophie’s is vast, with oodles of cash lavished on the design. In the first of the rooms – with seats for over 100 – gawp at the soaring ceilings and a gigantic oval island bar, made from blackened zinc.

To the right, up a few steps, is the steakhouse itself. This is almost as large, with a swoop of tables around the fire pit and open-plan kitchen.

We kicked off with a drink at the bar before sitting upstairs, near the chefs. The menu is short. Pick from four “Raw” dishes, for example, priced £5 to £9, including a gravadlax, endive salad and two carpaccios. Our beef carpaccio was a bit of a dud: under-seasoned and crying out for salt, lemon juice or a punchier dressing. “Ember cooked” leeks, too, were a bland distraction.

Grilled octopus was much better, a subtly charred tentacle paired with baba ganoush-style aubergine sauce.

For the main event, we shared a special of rump steak. Aged for 70 days, this had a terrific depth of flavour. Ours was cooked rare and well rested before serving, with skinny fries and a trio of sauces.

Surprisingly, the top dish of the night was the most modest –their own smoked butter and fresh bread, costing a very reasonable £4. The butter is miraculous – rich and moreish. I ordered seconds and smuggled some home.

Steak is a luxury and should never be cheap. I advise sharing dishes at Sophie’s if you want to keep the bill down. Nab a table in the main restaurant space, near the bar, where the atmosphere is more lively. The mood is more subdued upstairs.

Unfortunately, on our visit the fire pit was actually out of action. Teething problems with the extraction system should be solved by early March.

If you decide to make a night of it, also try a cocktail at the new Jack Solomons bar next door. This is open Wednesday to Saturday from 6pm until late. Deliberately hidden in the basement, you’ll get access by asking politely at the deli next door.

Downstairs is this opulent speakeasy, drenched in velvet and red leather. The name is borrowed from a famous boxing promoter in the 1940s, who used this site as his training gym.

Feisty drinks include the Nipper Morris, who was one of his bantam weight fighters – and steak devourer, no doubt.

Sophie’s Steakhouse
42-44 Great Windmill St, W1D
020 7836 8836
www.sophiessteakhouse.com

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