Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Oh Dear, a Steak House Overdid It; Table for 2

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Oh Dear, a Steak House Overdid It; Table for 2

Article excerpt

Byline: GEOFF LAWS

REMEMBER those days when a restaurant boasted the only thing they served was steak? How many ways can you do that?

Firstly there's grilled and then there's ... ? So, a steak house has to know exactly how to grill steak and, here's the other crucial element in the mix, chips. Yes, steak is only half a meal without proper, and I do mean proper, chips. Those spindly, catwalk thin potato strands will not do. Proper chips are golden, chunky, floury hearted, deep-fried wedges.

These ingredients are the test of a great steak house. With that in mind, we ventured forth to Northumberland's county town, Alnwick, and the market place cafe by day that becomes Louis Steak House by night.

The decor is as bold as the idea that a steak restaurant can be revived, and Louis' certainly cuts a dash in that respect. The question to be asked was whether the quality of the food matched the quality of the attractive and imaginative look of the place.

The first courses slipped easily over the bar with a mousse light, herb rich chicken parfait floating well above average. The crisp salad garnish added fresh bite to the dish. The French bread had been freshly toasted some time ago, but had become weary in waiting to be served and was easily left on one side.

My companion's grilled field mushrooms were deliciously moist. Each hearty half had melted brie drifting down each side and was topped with a jewel of cherry tomato and a sprinkling of toasted breadcrumbs making this a great little dish.

A decent interval passed before the much heralded steak dish arrived. Fillet mignon, the queen of steaks, was served with grilled mushroom and tomato garnish and, joy of joys, a bowl of perfect chips.

The steak deserves some attention as the star but sadly the chef had treated this delicate cut brashly.

Having ordered it medium rare, which the menu specified meant seared outside and warm, pink inside, it arrived thoroughly cooked within an inch of its life. Any hope of pinkness was long gone and no amount of peppercorn sauce could revive it. The chips, however, were in a different league and fairly sizzled with vivacity making stealing an asbestos finger challenge. …

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