Like its older sibling, the new branch of Flat Iron – a ten-minute wiggle away on foot through Soho – follows the same one-dish policy. The signature flat iron steak (as top blade is known over the pond) is served perfectly pink, and reasonably priced at just a tenner. It’s easy to ramp up your food bill though, once you’ve said yes to dripping-cooked chips (£2.50), a sauce (£1 each) and greens (£2.50). But the béarnaise was silky smooth, Fred’s sauce had a mild kick, and the leafy broad bean top salad had a delightful peppery crunch.
Beyond the namesake steak a handful of daily specials are explained by the eager-to-please staff. On our visit, the wagyu chuck steak (£15) was disappointingly chewy, and the burger (£15) – also made with pricey wagyu beef – scored high on flavour but low on engineering, with meaty crumbs of the patty falling apart after just a few bites.
The stripped-back look, with bare brick, antique-styled panelling and age-of-steam décor certainly looks the part in the airy dining space at the rear, though the acoustics suffer; lip-reading will come in handy if there are more than a dozen diners.
As for the mini ‘flat iron’ meat cleavers – they’re quirky but gimmicky, since the steaks come ready sliced. Oh, and they’re not to be snaffled as ‘souvenirs’, as the menu politely points out. Consider yourself warned.
By Catherine Balston