Tuesday 19 January 2010

Black & Blue Steakhouse, Rochester Walk, Borough Market, south London

In the heart of Borough Market, a foodie Mecca, this branch of the Black & Blue Steakhouse is housed in a fine old building sheltering beneath the railway arches. Ultra-modern steel and glass fittings and fixtures have been added to the soaring vaulted bare brick ceilings and walls, which have been disconcertingly decorated with pictures of cows, that remind you of exactly what you are eating. There is even a life size, yellow model of a cow up the stairs on the way to the pristine gents toilets. Black & Blue Borough also has a very spacious bar with large oval white tables where you can have a drink and browse the menu while waiting for a table to become available on a Saturday evening.  In the restaurant, the large, sumptuous leather benches arranged around the white tables are mostly packed with groups of twenty- and thirty-somethings, while couples might end up in the less comfortable chairs around the small tables for two.

Moist, warm meat
The menu plays it pretty safe, but there is plenty of choice - you can have the steak salad (£13), for example, in three variations, one of which is the house mix of walnuts, emmental cheese and lettuce, very heavily dressed with a creamy vignarette. A slab of moist, warm meat rests on top of the greenery. If you are hungry, you might prefer the juicy, fatty sirloin steak (£18 for 280g and £14 for 180g), served with a rich garlic and herb butter sauce, chunky salty chips and the house side salad of walnuts, emmental cheese and lettuce, again heavily dressed. It is a tasty and filling dish.  As well as a wide selection of steaks and grilled meat, there are also burgers starting at about a tenner and you can even have a foie gras starter for £7. To drink, 330ml bottles of international lagers, such as Budvar, cost a reasonable £3, while the sizeable wine list starts at £15 a bottle, but there are also plenty of wines available in 250 ml glasses, starting at £5. The waitresses are mostly smartly dressed and often glamorous East European women, who tend to be brusque and efficient. Safe to say, meat lovers will probably enjoy the Black & Blue Borough experience. 7/10