We’ve all got that one friend who’s impossible to buy for.
Whether it’s a birthday, Christmas, or random celebration… there’s literally nothing out there for them. You search high and low, visit every conceivable shop and website, tear your hair out in despair. Still nothing.
Sometimes, I wonder… why can’t all celebrations come with a gift list? (I know it lacks a little imagination, but there’s a lot to be said for an Amazon Wish List!)
Me? I’m predictably easy to buy for. A cookbook, kitchen gadget, restaurant gift voucher, bottle of gin. Easy. Sorted.
Over the last few years, something wonderful has begun to revolutionise the whole gift-buying saga… Virgin Experience Days!
You can find one of these babies for pretty much anyone you can think of. And, if you can’t, you might need to question why they don’t have normal interests and reconsider your whole friendship.
I’ve been clinging onto it for a while, but a couple of weeks ago I used up my Experience Day voucher from Christmas – a trip to the Marco Pierre White’s London Steakhouse Co. and the View From the Shard. You can buy the experience here (highly recommended!)
Note: Book for lunch then visit the Shard in the afternoon. The evening A La Carte evening menu is more expensive and isn’t included in your voucher.
109-117 Middlesex Street, London, E17JF (at the back of Coventry University London Campus). The nearest Tube station is Liverpool Street.
This is another “it does what it says on the tin” kind of place. The focus is on steak, but there are enough other dishes to keep everyone happy, even the veggies. You can check out the set menu here.
It’s located in a basement in a pretty unassuming building – you wouldn’t expect to find a fancy restaurant there, let’s put it that way!
But don’t let that put you off… as soon as you walk down the stairs, you’re led into a two-tiered dining room, with extremely friendly and attentive staff, great atmosphere, and nice decor. We sat in the upper area and enjoyed a view down across the other diners (I love people watching!)
WHAT THIS GIRL ATE
As part of the set menu, you start with a small choice of cocktails (you can see the full list, here). I ordered a fruity-sounding Passion Jazz, made with vodka, passionfruit, apple, and Champagne. The wife plumped for a Whisky Mac (absolutely not my cup of tea!) Both drinks arrived quickly and disappeared in a similar fashion.
Our starters arrived soon after (which was a relief, since I was starving, as usual!) My chicken liver parfait was smooth and flavourful, although the parfait to toast ratio wasn’t quite right. Saying that, I think this is a common problem in most restaurants. More toast, please, always!
I thought it’d be rude to visit a steakhouse and not order steak… and the 8oz. rump fitted the bill nicely. It was perfectly cooked, with peppercorn sauce (extra) and Pont Neuf chips (extra), so I was happy. I must admit, it looked a bit lost on the plate… but that wasn’t a problem for long.
As you know, it’s all about the cheese for me. So, dessert was a no-brainer. Cheese Plate! It came with a great variety of delicious cheeses… though not enough crackers! Again, more crackers, please, always!
London Steakhouse Co. is a great little hidden gem. Although we only paid for our extras (as the Virgin Experience voucher covered the rest), the menu wasn’t expensive. The food was tasty and well-cooked and the service was pleasant and welcoming. The cocktails were fantastic… although I can imagine a few glasses of Passion Jazz being lethal! I highly recommend getting the set menu, if you aren’t too fussy and are happy to pick from a smaller selection.
Price: Set menu, 27.50, peppercorn sauce, 4, Pont Neuf chips, 4.50.