Sunday, 14 February 2010

The Butcher's Hook, Fulham

We don’t normally opt for a traditional Valentine’s meal, preferring to avoid all that awkward coupliness of walking into an over-priced restaurant full of quiet couples in favour of an extra special home-cooked meal. Last year James spent the weeks leading up to Valentine’s day practising the perfect steak and chips! His housemates were very grateful recipients. The test was choosing the right steak and perfecting the art of the triple-cooked chip. On the day he actually bought one steak from a local butcher’s shop and one from Asda’s extra special range and we had half of each. Surprisingly Asda’s steak fared very well.

As Valentine’s day was on a Sunday this year, and we knew we’d be hungover on the day, we were able to avoid the Valentine’s rush on restaurants and went on Friday 12th to The Butcher’s Hook in Fulham. It had a really friendly and relaxed atmosphere (it’s right opposite the Chelsea football ground so when there’s a match on apparently it’s a more of a boozer than a restaurant). I started with Carpaccio topped with rocket and comté cheese (a Swiss cheese similar to gruyere). The meat was really tasty and although I absolutely adore Comté, I think it slightly overwhelmed the meat. Never mind though – I ate the meat and then had the cheese on it’s own like a cheese platter to start!

James and I both chose the same main as, to be honest, it was the only main dish on the menu that really appealed to me. We ordered bavette steak and chips. Just after I ordered I wondered whether it was a mistake, as it’s quite a cheap cut. But I stuck to my guns (a steak craving is difficult to suppress!) and was so relieved I did! As far as I know, bavette is skirt or flank steak (if anyone wants to correct me, feel free!) and can be very tough if not treated properly. It had been cut into slices at just the right angle, making it very tender, and had been marinated in “chef’s special sauce” making it juicy and delicious. We had a guess at what was in the sauce and asked the waitress to check with the chef. The sous chef had made the marinade and unfortunately he wasn’t around to ask but we were told that it had oyster sauce in for sure. We tasted ginger and soy though this remains unconfirmed. It really reminded me of a recipe from Anthony Bourdain’s ‘Les Halles’ cookbook so I will have to dig that out, give it a go and see if I can make it as tasty as The Butcher’s Hook’s version!

Just a scoop of hokey pokey ice-cream for dessert which was tasty but not as creamy as it could’ve been.

I’d love to go back with a group of friends as the vibe in there is lively and fun. Perhaps I’ll go back on a Sunday so we can try out their steak and a glass of wine for £13.95 deal.

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