Restaurant review: The Grill at McQueen, London

The Grill at McQueen London Shoreditch review
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Tim Firmager

Tim divides his time being a Digital Consultant in The City and as a food and travel writer across the globe. When he's not working as one of the Lifestyle Editors here at Vada, he's planning his next trip, or on the lookout for the latest food crazes or unusual foods in London's markets.
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The Grill, the steak restaurant at McQueen joined the Shoreditch food scene back in October, with a menu created by Richard Sandiford and Richard James (previously of Hawksmoor). Partial to a hunk (of meat), we at Vada dropped in to discover what The Grill at McQueen has to offer.

The Grill at McQueen

The Grill at McQueen is situated a couple of mintues’ walk from Old Street station. You enter the Lounge Bar, which is inspired by – and entirely adorned with memorabilia of – Steve McQueen, the ‘King of Cool’. We took a seat at the bar for an aperitif before dinner, and were pleased to find a relatively simple cocktail menu – just two pages. A successful bar is not measured on the length of its drinks menu – yes there should be a few signature drinks available, but the barman should be able to conjure something based on your preferences and mood. Le Coup D’État (£12.50) made with St. Germain liqueur, Suze, a pin-prick of port, topped up with Perrier-Jouet Brut Champagne served with aromatic lavender, was a delightful start to a Tuesday evening meal. Followed by a Sea Spray (£10) – a cocktail based on Plymouth gin with an almond syrup and lemon juice brought our tastebuds to life with a wave of energy, and ready for dinner.

The Grill restaurant, a more intimate space than the lounge bar, is decorated in dark wood and leather, and a pair of chandeliers that any drag club would be envious of. The McQueen memorabilia continues, with pictures hung throughout. On that particular night we had our choice of seats, being the only guests – taking private dining to the next level.

The menu

The simple menu consists of a handful of starters and sides, different cuts from the grill and only 4 other main course options. The team are very aware of their core product and the focus on the grill menu without many distractions was welcomed.

To start we opted for the BBQ braised pork belly and slaw (£9.50), and the London cured smoked salmon (£11.50) with a glass of Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut, naturally (£11 per glass or £60 per bottle). The pork belly and slaw was a delicious combination of soft, sumptuousus meat and crunchy slaw all at once – we would happily eat a larger portion of this vibrant dish as a main course for lunch. The thick-cut salmon served with rye bread and a dill cream cheese, was delicious and well-presented.

Prices for mains at The Grill at McQueen range from £23.50 for a D-cut rump to £33 for a 300g fillet – all dry-aged for at least 28 days. We opted for a rib-eye – well-done, and sirloin – medium-rare, with béarnaise and peppercorn sauce respectively (£2.50). We shared a side of triple cooked chips (£4), scallion mashed potato (£4) and roasted chantenay carrots (£3.50). The fillet was cooked exactly how we like it, the colour of blushing cheeks when cut into. The rib-eye however was slightly more well-done than we anticipated – clearly the lesson here is to be very precise when explaining how you want your steak cooked.

The dessert menu at The Grill at McQueen has only 5 choices including ice-cream and cheese selections, reflecting their approach to a concise product list. Sticking to traditional options, the McQueen team execute them well. We opted for the sticky toffee pudding (£7.50) and the selection of Jude’s ice cream served with drool-inducing peanut butter honeycomb (£6) – neither disappointed.

Overall thoughts

McQueen pride themselves on providing an all-inclusive experience at affordable prices and delivered by attentive service. We ate a 3 course meal with three drinks each, which would cost approximately £80 per person, so is priced in line with similar steak venues in London, and we couldn’t fault the service, being provided with advise on each steak. We liked the simplicity of the menus, focussing where McQueen want to excel. The cocktails impressed, with sophistication and strong use of aromatics rather than hipster presentation. However the very-well-done rib-eye didn’t come up to the standard we hoped for, hopefully a one-off.

The Grill at McQueen is located at 55-61 Tabernacle Street, London, EC2A 4AA.

To book a table or for more information, visit mcqueen-shoreditch.co.uk or email reservations@mcqueen-shoreditch.co.uk.

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