The Strip Bar at Malmaison London...That's NY Strip Steak to you
When I told my friends I visited the Strip Bar at Malmaison London the other day, it's fair to say it received a poor reaction. "That's exploitation", one said, "those poor girls". After pausing for effect, I explained that it's the newly refurbished restaurant in the Smithfield's luxury hotel, and not a new table dancing venue to rival other nearby table-dancing joints The Griffin, and The Chatterbox. The 'Strip' is short for New York Strip steak, and if anything the staff are overdressed for service, in full fine dining penguin suits with bow ties, and not a heaving bosom in sight.
The Strip Bar & Steak restaurant reflects the stripped back, naked filament bulb feel of many places opening in and around Clerkenwell over the last couple of years, tied with austerely wooden, high sided black booths, black tablecloths and starched white napkins.
Strip Steak Burger
City lunches are quiet affairs at Malmaison, so if you’re looking for privacy, or something off the Smithfield ‘strip’, then Mal is your place. The menu starts at around £8 for starters and £16 for main meals and £5 for sides, so it’s not a cheap option for a meal out, but fits with Malmaison’s luxury price tag.
Lunch kicked off with cheesy muffins and salted, whipped butter – complements of the chef – and these were pretty substantial. I then went for the burger, of course, which happens to be the cheapest item on the menu. Although add fries and you’re looking at a food bill of £21, so watch out!
At its core, the burger is ground New York Strip steak – a sirloin cut from one of the premium US beef – which is a good idea in principal, but in practice sirloin doesn’t contain enough fat to make it properly juicy. The seasoning is light, which allows the flavour of the meat shine through, and the flavour is pretty good, and there is a decent caramelised crust on the patty, but overall the burger is a bit dry. It’s topped with a griddled rasher of salty back bacon with melted cheddar cheese over the top. Underneath the patty sits a pile of lettuce, tomato, onion and ketchup, adding some much needed moisture to the mix.
The bun is a classic brioche and holds together nicely, though it doesn’t have to deal with much juice from the ensemble, it does wrap nicely around the burger.
The NY Strip Steak, the signature dish at Strip Bar, is pretty decent. It came cooked medium-rare as requested, and the char-grilled crust is decent too, though again at £25 for 250g it’s on the pricey side.
The only side I sampled on my visit were the skin on fries – perfectly cooked, crisp, hot and salty, with loads of those little crispy bits at the bottom of the bowl – and a generous portion too.
Strip bar is the kind of place you go with your partner for a secluded, romantic lunch – probably followed by a night in one of their luxury rooms…
Strip Bar & Steak, Malmaison London, Charterhouse Street, London EC1M 6AH
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Nick is Hamburger Me and he likes burgers. Actually, it goes a bit deeper than that. Nick is, in fact, London’s pre-eminent burger blogger, and the author of www.hamburger-me.com where, since 2010, he's been posting about and reviewing London’s best burgers. He's a keen collector of burger memorabilia (check out his burger phone!) and he even has his own line in burger cufflinks...