Angus Steak House
Time Out rating:
Time Out says
Tue Nov 30 1999
Few people plan a meal out at an Angus Steak House. It tends to be a ‘distress purchase’ –something you do when you’re in the West End, footsore, tired and quite often on the brink of family violence. The red lights and awnings lure you in, like moths to the flame.
The Leicester Square branch – one of several in central London – has a large outdoor seating area, an obvious draw in the traffic-free square on a balmy evening. I sat next to the brass-framed menu at the entrance, watching a succession of tourists inspect the options. Some weren’t deterred by the high prices – for example £23.95 for a T-bone steak, with chips, sauce, salad and cover charge all extra.
My fellow alfresco diners were hair-gelled Danes, a party of Nigerian mature students and a table of Germans photographing each other. They seemed relieved to be resting and eating. None was speaking English – except to our Italian waiter. Service was charming, smooth, smiling, courteous and prompt.
Despite different owners, a new look and a slight change of name (the original chain went into receivership in 2002), the menu has changed little since the first Aberdeen Angus Steak House opened in 1968. You can still order prawn cocktail, deep-fried mushrooms, scampi and chicken Kiev (though some branches have borrowed upmarket elements from their sister restaurant group, Green Door). My rump steak, ordered rare, arrived medium. The chips were plump and crisp, the Béarnaise sauce the colour of custard. With a glass of house wine, steak and chips for one plus service came to around £30.
The last time I ate at an Angus Steak House, several years ago, it was an entirely different and truly depressing experience. The new owners appear to have put some effort into improving standards - even though the menu has remained much the same.
You can eat a lot worse in Leicester Square – but you can eat a lot better, by leaving Leicester Square altogether, and avoiding anywhere with 'Steak House' in the name (there's no shortage of 'me too' steak houses in the West End, using similar names).