VALUE FOR MONEY: 2/5
VENUE & ATMOSPHERE: 4/5
Note: All meat is halal. No alcohol is served on the premises
After trying HS&Co. at the London Halal Food Festival last month, ShakerFries and I, along with his friends, decided to visit to get the full HS&Co. experience. HS&Co. is an East-London based steakhouse which opened earlier this year. We all know that halal burger and steak eateries are on the rise, but what sets this restaurant apart from other halal steakhouses is the fact that they dry age their Irish steaks for 21-days, marinade it in salt and pepper alone, then cook it on a Josper Grill, resulting in a richer flavour.
It was a Friday evening and the restaurant was buzzing. Although it wasn’t packed I was glad that we made a reservation. The atmosphere in the restaurant was accentuated by the decor, which was classy and sophisticated with an old British industrial feel.
For starters we opted for the blossom honey & jalapeños wings (which we had already tried at the festival previously), the pulled beef and also the HS&Co. ghost chilli wings option. I enjoyed the honey wings more on this occasion. The exterior was crisp and smokey, the meat tender and the saucy marinade was sweet. I liked the fact that the wings were not smothered in their sticky sauce, allowing the underlying batter to remain crisp. Again, I just wish the sauce was a tad bit spicier… but we had the spicy wings for that. The uneven distribution of marinade on the spicy wings meant that although the first bite was enjoyable, the second was so hot it made you feel like you were on the Jubilee line at 5.35pm. For a dish that I hadn’t enjoyed properly before, the pulled beef was pleasant. The meat portion was generous and tender and the perfect accompaniment to the underlying crusty bread. It was however a bit bland.
For mains I went for the chateaubriand (510g) (£11.50/100g), which came with one free side. I chose the homemade coleslaw and additionally ordered the triple cooked chunky chips, with a stilton sauce to accompany my steak. I opted to share my steak with Issa, who generously agreed to allow me to order it medium rare in opposed to medium.
Our steaks arrived 10 minutes before our sides, and 15 minutes before our sauces. Needless to say I was not impressed, as by then not only was the steak cold, but after seeing the portion of the stilton DIPPING SAUCE, I realised it wasn’t worth waiting for in the first place as there was barely enough to cover my steak portions. For £1.75 I would expect there to be enough sauce to drown my steak in. The steak itself was okay as far as steaks go, especially seeing as it was marinated in only salt and pepper. The meat was overall tender, lean and had a salt and peppery crust, and I can’t fault them on the way it was cooked (medium-rare – just how I like it). Even with Issa and I sharing, there was still one cut of the steak left at the end, so the portion size was more than enough especially with the sides. The coleslaw was okay, but could have done with being a bit creamier. The chunky chips were crisp and contained a really tasty batter, and as I didn’t finish them, I ensured that I packed them to take home and enjoy later.
Whilst I was content in munching my way through my steak, I looked over to ShakerFries who was having a one-on-one battle between his knife and the sirloin. His sour look told me that his steak had been overcooked (he asked for medium), and after glancing at his peppercorn gravy I could see that it was thicker than cream (again in a dipping sauce bowl!?).
Overall the service was very good, and the staff were friendly and attentive. However I wasn’t pleased when they mixed up our order (sending BBQ wings to our table instead of blossom honey), and with the steak being served way before the sides and sauce. The restaurant is a little pricey, as it came to £160 for the 4 of us, and the sides and sauce were not included in the meal price and had to be ordered seperately (although that being said ShakerFries’ friend Jugga eats for 2). My general feeling was that although HS&Co. were good at creating an atmospheric environment, they failed to deliver a premium dining experience. Although the food was okay, I wouldn’t say it was good value for money, and for the most part it was generally an underwhelming experience.