Whilst European chefs have been messing around in laboratories with foams and emulsions in the search for the ultimate dining experience, the Americans have continued doing what they do best – steak. When it comes to rearing and cooking cows, it really is our friends across the pond who seem to have got it down to an exact science. And whilst our intricate modern European dishes might tickle the taste buds a little, when it comes to a properly satisfying meal, a good steak takes some beating. Our visit to Palm reminded us just how good a healthy slab of red meat can be.
Having been founded in 1926 by a couple of Italian-Americans, the Palm group now includes 28 restaurants around the world, including the Chelsea based steakhouse that we visited. The venue is reminiscent of neighbourhood restaurants often seen in classic gangster movies; big wooden furniture dominates and there are some really fun details too, like dozens of celebrity caricatures liberally painted all over the walls. However, perhaps the greatest sign of the quality of food is the clientele; on the busy Wednesday night of our visit, near enough every table had an American sitting on it.
The hallmark Palm menu features steak and seafood, with highlights of USDA Prime beef and Nova Scotia lobster. I’ve got to say from the outset that this place is expensive and looking at the menu, one wonders if it’s really possible to justify £40 on a piece of grilled meat. Just one bite of the 400g Ribeye was all that was needed to realise that this steak was on a whole other planet of flavour and quality. Beautifully marbled, sweet and tender, I can’t imagine how steak could get any better. The Filet Mignon too was a wonderful piece of meat cooked to absolute perfection, with outstanding flavour. Our side order of chips were also outstanding, being crispy, light and tasty.
Starters too were good, including a portion of deconstructed style Prawn cocktail and some delicious smoked salmon. Our dessert of Baked cheesecake was another great American classic, featuring a savoury cheese topping on a thick and sweet biscuit base. A few glasses of wine from the concise and well judged list were perfect accompaniments to a great meal.
Cuisine type: Steak
Meal for two (excluding drinks): £140
1 Pont Street
Tel: 020-7201 0710