Vegetarians look away now. Everyone else, welcome to Le Petit Beefbar: it does what it says on the tin. The Beefbar concept – to offer the highest quality meat in a modern yet luxurious surrounding – was first realised by ‘artistic director’ Riccardo Giraudi in 2005 with his flagship restaurant in Monte Carlo. Since then, the brand has expanded across the world and has just opened its first UK outpost in Chelsea.
The modern yet luxurious vibe was evident straight away as we entered the restaurant, in the form of a dazzling, uplit horseshoe bar that dominates the front of the room. People were perched on stools sipping unusual-looking cocktails, which inspired us to order some drinks as soon as we sat down on the red leather banquette at our table in the dark-wood-panelled dining room. My friend considered trying one of the signature tea-infused cocktails, but instead plumped for the El Frances: Courvoisier VSOP, Olmeca Altos Reposado tequila, crème de cassis, crème de peche and fresh lemon juice. She was delighted to report that each of the fruity elements held their own. My maple lemonade was a revelation: why have I never mixed maple syrup and lemon juice before? A sweet-and-sour masterstroke.
The meal of small and large sharing dishes began with a spectacle. A plate arrived covered with a cloche. As the waiter lifted this, wispy clouds of sweet-smelling smoke billowed into the air, eventually clearing to reveal two bao. But this dish wasn’t just smoke and mirrors: the buns were sublime, their softness and mild flavour contrasting beautifully with the tender jasmine tea-smoked Wagyu brisket, crunchy jambon d’entrecôte crisp and piquant Asian barbecue sauce inside. Our first encounter with Beefbar’s eponymous meat was a hit.
Our first encounter with Beefbar’s eponymous meat was a hit
Less successful were the kebabs – three mini discs of flatbread with shredded black Angus beef on top – and the shawarma, a wrap filled with 300-days grain-fed Wagyu and Angus beef. These dishes were quite similar: they both came with a lip-smacking, citrusy tahini sauce and the balance of each was upended by too much bread and salad. The shawarma is priced at £39. If the meat is a delicacy worth that amount, it seems a shame to smother it with cheap ingredients.
The fillet steak, however, spoke for itself. It was simply but exquisitely seasoned and cooked, medium rare, and perfectly tender and flavourful. We chose the £38 cut, but the menu also features a £160 Wagyu rib-eye and a £230 kobe steak: ideal choices for ballers practising for a visit to Salt Bae’s joint. Le Petit Beefbar is transparent about the provenance of its meat. We learnt that the steak we ate was of Hereford breed from Wexford in Ireland and had been fed on grass. They clearly put something magical in the Wexford grass. The steak came with chips and a boat of La Sauce Beefbar, a collaboration with French restaurant Relais de Paris. It was a herby, buttery, truffley triumph, simultaneously rich and light, that expertly complemented the meat. On the basis of this and the tahini cream, I’d nickname this place Le Petit Saucebar.
There were luscious sauces involved in the final course too. The menu lists only two desserts, so we ordered them both. The first was a thick slab of brioche french toast with liquid salted caramel and buttermilk ice cream that was unrelentingly sweet, a bit stodgy and utterly impossible for one person to finish. More exciting was the gelato mantecato: a deep, round dish of fior di latte ice cream surrounded by five little pots of toppings. We swirled the deliciously tart, deep pink raspberry coulis into the soft, pure white gelato and then threw in the caramelised nuts and fresh berries. The chocolate and caramel sauces didn’t go to waste either. A really fun way to end the meal.
So, the food was mainly excellent, with some notable disappointments. The service followed suit. All the staff were hugely knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the Beefbar brand and its menu. It was actually fascinating to chat to them at length – something I usually tend to avoid. Although the chips arrived cold and the cocktail wasn’t mixed quite right, they were quick to whisk them away and bring us up-to-scratch replacements. And the milk for our coffee was cold, even though we asked for it hot. But I have no beef with this place. I’m sure petits blunders like that are teething problems and London’s Beefbar will find favour with the city’s population of high-rolling carnivores.
The vibe Laidback fine dining for meat lovers.
The food Beef: in many forms and of escalating price.
The drink Unusual cocktails and mocktails, plus a long list of mainly French and Italian wines.
Time Out tip Chat to your waiters. They take pride in knowing their stuff and will be delighted to share.