Lunch on the left bank. OK, so it’s not Paris. No happy smell of tear gas, no waiters with selective blindness. Gazette is however ... Read Feature
It was a random Tuesday evening.
The Queen of the Wharf (QW) and I were meant to be dining at Nancy Lam’s near but it was closed for some reason.
I still don’t know why.
This necessitated a quick change of plan and I suggested we try the new(ish) branch of British steak restaurant Arlo’s on the Northcote road. I’d heard pretty good things on the foodie grapevine.
It had been on my ‘trylist’ for a long time and my only experience to date had been an ill-advised Deliveroo, mainly because they’d managed to turn it into a character from Star Wars (Chewie).
Northcote road was fairly busy for a mid-month, mid-week evening. Arlo’s was operating at about a third of capacity, so was under performing slightly compared with it’s neighbours. It was a nice evening though and he QW and I were able to grab a table outside.
Arlo’s bright tiled interior is rather reminiscent of an extremely clean butchers but seemed surprisingly comfortable. The menus would bring a smile even to the grizzled countenance of Gordon Ramsay, being concise almost to the point of curtness.
In terms of meats the only options are different cuts of steak, three to be precise. Aside from the now ubiquitous rib eye there are two traditionally cheaper cuts of steak bavette and hanger. All of Arlo’s steaks are sourced from British farms in Yorkshire, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Those not wanting a full steak are catered for with a selection of salads, including vegan. There’s a good selection of appetisers including spiced halloumi and padron peppers. Neither the QW or I were hungry enough to justify ordering these, but the two friends sitting on the table next to us said that in their judgement they were the best starters on Northcote road. High praise indeed.
There’s actually a greater choice of cocktails than wine, with about twelve cocktails, five reds, three whites, two sparkling and one rose. I ordered the house Malbec, which at £26 I thought was a bit steep.
Whilst my wallet was feeling pain, the calendar decided additionally to kick me in the shins. Looking at the base of the menu I saw that Tuesday’s were corkage schmorkage days, when you could bring whatever wine you wanted from home or the offlicence for absolutely zero extra cost. Damn you Tuesdays!
Anyway, for the main course we decided to split a 500-gram bavette. To this we added green beans, long stem broccoli and truffle and Grand Padano coated chips, so achingly on trend they have their own meme on Instagram.
The wine was delicious and worth it’s high price tag, which did take the edge off my ire somewhat. Fruity, spicy it had enough personality to be a 1980’s game show host. No matter how good the wine though it wasn’t the star of the evening – that was the steak!
Looking for once like the medium rare cut we’d ordered, this was the sort of steak which where grass fed moors lurk in every bite. You could almost smell the rain and the peat and for £29 this was the best taste to cost ratio steak I’ve had for a long time. Easily as good as the significantly more expensive Marco Pierre White London Steak House on the King’s road that me & the QW reviewed about a year ago.
The sides didn’t let the side down of course, but they didn’t over power or over shadow the star, which can occasionally be the case. 250-grams each plus the sides was frankly more than enough food for both of us, and so we decided to skip pudding. On this occasion even the offer of payment wasn’t enough to get our neighbours to try them for us.
It’s a short selection of puddings ice creams, sorbets with a speciality brownie or ice cream Eton mess.
Instead of pudding we enjoyed a Somerset apple brandy. This was one time I was happy not to have too much hair, as this was potent enough to make it stand on end. Tasting like a sweeter Calvados, I liked it though you could feel the hangover potential in every sip.
The bill when it came was a mid-range £76 for two people. It’s annoying but if I’d brought my own wine I could have got this down to the bargain rate of about £50. My thoughts, if you like steak, go. If you eat meat but don’t like steak, go you’ll probably be converted. Try it with your own wine on a Tuesday, I doubt you’ll be disappointed.
Till next time Rob.