Zelman Meats is the latest opening from Moscow-based restaurant group Goodman, which owns steakhouses all over London (and is where I recently took Michael for his birthday), as well as the steak and king crab concept Beast and the beloved Burger & Lobster chain.
Zelman Meats has replaced the group’s failed venture of Rex & Mariano, a seafood restaurant that focused on good value which I longed to visit but unfortunately never got round to doing so – although the good news is that they apparently plan to reopen in a different location.
Zelman Meats embodies much of the same concept as Rex & Mariano, but with a focus on meat rather than fish. Thus the menu changes regularly and offers just 2 or 3 options of excellent value meat – think brisket, chateaubriand, the best burger, the best ribs or Brazilian picanha – with the aim of executing each item perfectly.
The décor is very much in keeping with its Soho neighbours; the vibe is dark & sexy with deep red leather banquettes, industrial-style low-hanging lights, exposed ventilation, a bistro-style tiled floor and quirky prints plastered on the walls.
The crockery has been ‘borrowed’ from the group’s other restaurant offerings, resulting in a mismatch of Goodman plates with Rex & Mariano water bottles which, despite the obvious self-promotion, actually works quite well and gives a kind of inclusive family vibe to the place.
Dinner was a seriously long overdue affair with some old school friends of mine. Cecily & I got involved in the ‘NV Fiol, Prosecco Extra Dry, Veneto, Italy’ (£6.00 each), whilst the boys grabbed a beer (£4.50 each).
We passed on starters, but the limited options are a nod towards the venue’s former successful incarnation; raw (£2.00/4.00) and baked ‘Holy Fuck’ (£8.50) oysters, the famed raw Sicilian red prawns (£12.00), and a caprese salad (£8.00).
On the day that we visited there were 3 meat options hand-scrawled on the oversized chalkboard to choose from; sliced picanha (£6.00/100g), sliced chateaubriand (£9.00/100g) and smoked short ribs (£12.00 each).
Minds made up, we did our upcoming meat feast justice and ordered two bottles of my family favourite, ‘Doña Paula Estate, Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina, 2013’ (£30.00), to accompany our meal.
Then it arrived, in all its glory.
In the end, the four of us opted to share 300g of each of the picanha and chateaubriand and two short ribs.
What can I say? Each cut was beyond delicious.
The picanha was soft & smoky, whilst the chateaubriand had a more meaty bite and a deep, earthy flavour. The rib meat fell off the bone, was incredibly succulent with a good char, and had both a smokiness & sweetness to it thanks to a slow marinade in homemade barbecue sauce.
Honestly, I couldn’t pick a favourite. They were all exceptional, especially when considering the price.
We tried all of the sauces too (obviously, you know me well enough by now); béarnaise, BBQ and chimichurri (£1.00 each), with my favourite being the béarnaise, but all of them were most pleasing.
As for sides, we had the triple cooked chips (£4.50).
Grilled courgette with chilli, mint and feta (£6.00).
Roasted aubergine with yoghurt and harissa (£7.00).
And grilled portobello mushrooms (£6.00).
The chips and mushrooms were entirely on point, whilst I found the courgette and roasted aubergine (usually an easy winner for me) a little bland based on their bold descriptions.
Nevertheless, we hoovered the table clean and could easily have enjoyed more of the same.
As for puds, only one is offered per day, with our day’s special being a large slice of homemade treacle tart, served with a generous dollop of clotted cream (£5.50), though I hear ‘Will’s Nan’s apple pie’ is quite the favourite too.
We had such an enjoyable time at Zelman Meats; finally, somewhere you can enjoy a top quality steak dinner for an affordable price in London.
The surroundings and service were relaxed and the food and prices fantastic.
I will most definitely be returning.