Harden's survey result
“Very English steak and chips” – this classic St James’s outfit from the 1970s (occupying Wall’s sausages’ early-Victorian premises) is, say fans, “one of those places you need to visit” thanks to its “amazing Chateaubriand” and the entrecôte steak, served on a table burner with the signature “delicious Roquefort butter sauce and unlimited fries – what more could one ask for?”. Ratings, however, seldom hit the heights here: especially given the ‘Welcome to Tourist London’ prices, it can seem “disappointing”.
A St James’s veteran from 1976, this British steakhouse inhabits some of the early premises of the Wall’s meat empire (on this site from 1836). Results here have been perennially uneven over the years, and not even the promise of unlimited fries (which accompany items like entrecôte and Chateaubriand) stopped some meals this year from seeming disappointing or overpriced.
“The (unlimited!) fries are a treat” at this venerable St James’s steakhouse, set in the original Wall’s sausages and ice cream premises. Though dogged in the past by inconsistent standards, all feedback this year says it’s a “reliable” option that’s “great for Chateaubriand”.
This St James’s veteran occupies the original Wall’s sausages and ice cream premises. Some swear by the Chateaubriand steak and “endless fries”, but others say its grills are “not special” and “overpriced for what you get” (“they have to pay for that real estate somehow”).
|Wine per bottle||£25.00|
Rowley's original branch is something of a West End institution. It occupies what was once the original Wall's butchers shop, in Jermyn Street. Steaks, however - not sausages - are the house speciality. It now has this offshoot, in the Mayfair premises that were once called Deca. The new venture is elegant and soothing, in creamily-neutral style, but without the character of the original.
We reviewed another steakhouse - Relais de Venise in Marylebone - on this page last week, and the price similarities between the two are striking. In fact the 'headline' steak/frites prices are, to within a pound, the same - around £17 (Relais) or £18 (Rowley's). Rowley's would no doubt say they charge £16.25, but they also - rather oddly - charge a £1.75 cover charge, which we have included. In either place, 25cl of wine will set you back about £6, and an espresso £2. Other differentials - a couple of pounds on the puds (around £6.50) and a few per cent more on the service charge - tend to make the Mayfair joint just a fraction pricier overall.
This new Rowleys might fairly justify its modest price differential with its better service and greater comfort. Why, then, was the Relais hopping - and Rowley's largely deserted - the lunchtimes I visited? We don't need Sherlock Holmes for the answer. The steak/frites at the Gallic import have lingered - in the nicest way, you understand - in my mind ever since my lunch. What I consumed in Mayfair, on the other hand, I ate simply as a duty (oh yes ,it's tough writing a restuarant column). The seasoning of the steak wasn't right, it wasn't cooked as ordered (though, to be fair, you can cook it a bit more on your own spirit burner), and the chips didn't scream 'Eat Me'. And, in a steakhouse, that's really all there is to it.
113 Jermyn St, London, SW1Y 6HJ
|Number of Diners:|
|Monday||12 pm-3 pm, 5:30 pm-11 pm|
|Tuesday||12 pm-3 pm, 5:30 pm-11 pm|
|Wednesday||12 pm-3 pm, 5:30 pm-11 pm|
|Thursday||12 pm-3 pm, 5:30 pm-11 pm|
|Friday||12 pm-3 pm, 5:30 pm-11 pm|
|Saturday||12 pm-3 pm, 5:30 pm-11 pm|
|Sunday||12 pm-3 pm, 5:30 pm-11 pm|