“Hello Steam and Rye – lovely to meet you!” I love a girlie catch up – so when a ‘What’s App’ message pings up a few days ago requesting my presence for unplanned Birthday drinks in London – I dutifully oblige! The chosen establishment for the night is ‘Steam and Rye’, a rather unconventional joint venture between Nick House (behind the likes of Mahiki and Whiskey Mist) and Kelly Brook (ex-topless model/ actress) – I couldn’t wait to go as I’d heard great things – so was very eager to give this new “it” place a go!
Located in a grand looking building, moments from Bank Station, the entrance is through a large set of doors and a dimly lit corridor. All very sultry and demure. I was judging what could be… We reach the reception desk and we’re whisked inside to our table. Once inside – it’s a whole new ball game! XXL Star spangled banners grace the walls, a bit of taxidermy scattered around and what seems to be a very cool, chilled out crowd. The decor was a little muddled – Wild West meets the Orient Express… but as kindly explained by one of the girls – The dining tables and booths are set in a “train” (amazing video screen wall art next to the tables screening moving landscapes as though on an actual train), and the standing bar area resembles the main “station”. Giving the space another once over – it all made sense now! So far – so good!
Next the menu – oh my goodness the menu. Whilst some may call it “limited”, I would call it far from that. My “main” choices were to be between Lobster, Burger or Steak… perhaps not a vegan friendly joint – but I was struggling to commit to a choice. Between us, we had a selection of each, paired with fries, onion rings, salad and “slaw” to share round. The fillet steaks were cooked to perfection (beginning to feel this is somewhat or a rarity in London) and even the small lobsters were more than sizable. All really well prepared, presented and merrily consumed.
Accompanying drinks were an eclectic mix. From the safer South Side Fizz (gin and bubbly – need I say more?) to a rather intriguing Five Dollar Shake (the menu says it all!). But the bar were very flexible and would whisk up your favourite cocktail – even if it’s not on the menu (we had a rather lavish lust for Pornstar Martinis… it’s a Birthday after all). A word of warning – the absinth cocktails… live up to absinth expectations – you have been warned. Table service was very attentive – although it did get so frequent that we questioned whether drinks were on commission for the waiting staff – over service better than under service I suppose.
This was a truly enjoyable evening and really question where some reviews have managed to call it “pretentious” and “OTT”. Yes, a little bit over decorated for some peoples’ tastes perhaps – but pretentious this place is definitely not. Booths comfortably accommodate groups of 4-12 and smaller tables for 2-4 and the mood lighting is reasonable (I could actually read the menu without seeking additional light) and the live band (which I’m told is a regular feature) were absolutely awesome. Playing acoustic covers of current and oldie songs – amazing!
Lighting not the best for photos – so there aren’t many… you’ll just have to go try it out for yourself!