When the chips are down, eat steak at Heliot Steak House, Leicester Square

05 Jun 2016

Leicester Square = Tourists. The two go hand in hand and being the typical, grumpy Londoner that I am, I tend to avoid it like the plague, especially when choosing somewhere to dine.

Overpriced restaurants, bog standard food and cinemas galore! There are also quite a few casinos, so ordinarily, I saunter by without batting an eyelid.

The Hippodrome casino stands proudly on the corner of Leicester Square and the steakhouse is located on the first floor, which means a meander through the casino to get there. Amidst the bright lights, lies rows of roulette tables and card games aplenty, and it really is impossible to walk straight past without stealing a sneaky peek.

Now, pardon my snobbery, but I did have some preconceptions about eating at a steakhouse…in a casino…in one of London’s biggest tourist traps! Don’t get me wrong, I love steak, in fact if it was the last meal I ever had, I’d be ok with that!  A lot of places claim to be the best in town and here was no exception – their website even stating that they were ‘judged the best steak restaurant in London by the customers of Bookatable.’ Hmmmm. I was unsure of what to expect.

The outcome? I was pleasantly surprised! Not just with the steaks but with the impeccable service too. I felt like I was in a high end dining establishment rather than a casino in Leicester Square! Our waiter, Carmine, was a star – after finding out our likes and dislikes, he suggested a number of dishes and a wine to match – El Muro, Tempranillo Garnacha – a soft and fruity red that works wonderfully with steak.

Yes, that’s right, I got steak at a steakhouse – well, it would be rude not to wouldn’t it!? After another of Carmine’s recommendations, we opted for a fillet and a sirloin and were not disappointed! The fillet was super soft and tender, it practically melted in my mouth and I was intrigued by the array of sauces on offer – not just your run-of-the-mill peppercorn, but truffle, red wine sauce and blue cheese butter too. Our steaks were paired with triple cooked chips (not the best I’d ever had, but certainly not the worst) and the most decadent sounding dish on the menu, ‘Millionaires Mac n cheese’ – what else would you expect someone at a casino to order with their winnings though, right? I was salivating at the prospect as I am a big mac n cheese fan and this boasted truffle shavings and a poached duck egg too, but after the brilliant steak, I was slightly disappointed with the heavily breadcrumbed side and no sign of the gooey cheesy goodness that I yearned for.

My disappointment was short-lived however, with the sight of Baked Alaska on the menu. I’d never actually had it before, but always wanted to try it – so it had to be mine. Instantly 90’s nostalgia came to mind, as did my terrible attempt at baking one when I was 15 (consequently leaving a huge ice cream/meringue puddle in the oven to my mum’s dismay!) The meringue was soft and almost sickly sweet and I gobbled down every last mouthful.

We were well and truly wowed by the service we received, and the food wasn’t bad either. Overlooking the main casino gaming floor, the 150 seat steak house is a dream for anyone that loves people watching. Plus, as well as the great view of the main casino, my partner tells me that the view of Leicester Square from the men’s toilet is pretty incredible too, so be sure to check that out. (If you are a man!)

Clare

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