Saturday 1 May 2010

Sophie's Steakhouse & Bar, Wellington Street, Covent Garden, central London

A large, stripped-back and laid-back restaurant, the Covent Garden branch of Sophie's Steakhouse & Bar is a popular choice for informal business lunches. Bare light bulbs hang from the ceiling, the floorboards are stripped and some of the walls are bare brick. You'll likely be served by a relaxed, casually-dressed, and probably attractive, young waiter or waitress. Soon after you sit down, you get a small plate of chopped salami to nibble while you read the menu. There is a limited, but respectable express menu offering two courses for £12.50, while the main menu offers everything from an intimidating 27oz porterhouse steak for £35 down to a humble 6oz hamburger for £7. The 10oz sirloin steak (£18.50) is a filling and delicious hunk of juicy meat, but the accompanying chips can be overcooked, dry and crispy. You may need to dip them in the small pot of béarnaise sauce to bring them back to life. The baked or mashed potato might be a better option, but steak and chips are natural bedfellows. The bland side salad is mostly just lettuce.  If you don't have to get back to work, you might want to dive into the sizeable and global wine list, which starts at about £14 a bottle. 6/10