MASH (Modern American Steak House) lives up to its name. Located in a former theatre, this restaurant combines a posh setting with a relaxed and friendly atmosphere and serves up some damn fine steaks. Price-wise, it’s about on par with Hawksmoor and Goodmans with meat running from £30-60 depending on your cut and origin. The cocktail bar rivals HawksAir and the dry aged meat that of Goodmans CW, so from the start it’s a solid contender for the best steak in London title. It ain’t cheap, but you damn well get what you pay for.
Despite the significant number of excellent watering holes in the area, I’d strongly suggest going to MASH’s bar to kill some time. The lobby at street level is a mere fraction of the full size of the restaurant with the main level being two floors resembling a cavernous space described by one of my friends as making you feel like you’re on the Titanic. The bar has a pretty impressive range of alcohols and a cocktail list to make. Don’t see anything you like on the menu? Just ask the bartenders to whip up something to your tastes and they are happy to oblige.
Worth pointing out the ice which is made from water that is distilled then run through a vacuum to extract the residual air. This results in a block of ice of remarkably clarity and almost devoid of taste – ideal for leaving the alcohol of choice in its pure form. The ice is then chipped into large cubes which reduce the dilution while keeping your drink ice cold.
They are so proud of their ice that the bartender gave us a cube (we had to wait for about 20 minutes for it to melt) and a glass of tap water to compare the taste. You can tell the difference by the pure absence of any taste in the melted ice whereas the tap water has faint traces of minerals.
Alright, let’s talk steak.
Sure – the simple answer is get some. It doesn’t matter which one you pick, the meat is superb. The gf and I opted to get a bone-in Nebraska rib eye and the Danish long-bone for our meal. The Nebraska beef is corn-finished and wet aged which gives it plenty of marbling and a slightly sweeter taste. In comparison, the Danish beef is dry aged which leads to a breakdown in the fats and makes it more appropriate to be served rare (you’ll want a normal rib eye medium rare to render some of that tasty fat).
The bone-in rib eye was good but a far cry from the Goodman CW rib eye which was pure meat perfection. In part, I think it was because my steak tended towards what I would consider medium rather than medium rare and was too dry for my tastes. MASH redeemed itself partially with the excellent garlic and thyme jus that I opted for as my sauce which was absolutely exploding with flavour.
The Danish long-bone was brilliant though and very much a pick for steak of the City. Served rare, it had a depth and breadth of meaty musky flavour that was moreish. I could have powered through that 500g steak without stopping and then asked for more. Despite the name, the bone is actually quite small (a couple of inches at most and maybe 50g tops) so no worries on that score. It needed no sauce (a sign of excellent meat) and will definitely be on my list to source in London. Hell, it’s good enough I may have to make a shopping trip to Denmark.
Starters and sides in general were pretty spot on with my favourites being the steak tartar (literally melted in your mouth) and the buttery mash. The chips were also quite moreish and while not spectacular were highly enjoyable and a great side to the beef.
Finally, we managed to squeeze some room for desserts with my deconstructed chocolate cake and my friend’s 5dollar milkshake (and alcoholic concoction which was just under a tenner) creating a great end to the meal. The bar continued to demonstrate its form with a couple of spectacular dessert cocktails that were passed around to the dismay of the order-er.
Well steak that good deserves a wine to match, no?
The bartender/sommelier of our group showed some excellent taste (and restraint) in selected a magnum of No Bull Syrah (and American wine made in Washington State and bottled for MASH) for £75. It was a medium-bodied wine that enhanced without overwhelming the steak with some strong suggestions of dark fruits but remained light on tannins. Basically, it was juicy and slightly sweet on the tongue which enhanced the sweetness of the corn-finished beef.
MASH has a wine list heavy on the American reds (about 1/3 of the list are these) in keeping with their theme and a cool wine cellar well stocked with magnums and larger. Our banterous waiter, Joel, gave us a tour of the wine cellar which included a number of Imperials – 6 litres of wine or 9 regular bottles. I don’t know when I’d order that but I really do want to one day – probably right after I win the lottery.
For our pre-dinner cocktails, I went with the bartender’s choice for my Old Fashioned – a 6 year old small batch rye from Russell’s Reserve. Sweet yet potent, it made an excellent option to start the meal off right and a further testament to the barstaff knowing their stuff. When it took around 10 minutes of slow stirring to make, I knew was in safe and capable hands.
Worth the dosh?
In our case, since it was MASH’s 1st birthday, we had 50% off the steaks so it was an astounding good value-for-money proposition. That being said, I’d still come back at full price for a special occasion as it’s the right type of place to impress but remain intimate. Keep in mind that with steaks running you around £40-50 (unless you go for the cheapest Uruguay cut at £29), cocktails around £10-12, and starters and sides on average being £12 and £5 respectively, you are likely to shell out close to £80-100pp.
Find MASH here
77 Brewer Street
London W1F 9ZN
020 7734 2608