The Porterhouse as a restaurant is all about steak, and the staff’s immediate assumption was that that was what we were there for - fair enough, as it happened. There were other things on the menu, including a fish dish and a vegetarian option, but no one seemed to entertain the idea we might order any of these. We were immediately directed to the specials board which displayed the cuts of meat on offer that day: porterhouse, sirloin, rib-eye. These were to be ordered by weight at a minimum of 1kg, with at least 300g recommended per person. We had a kilo of rib-eye between three and a single fillet steak from the regular menu for the fourth member of the party. The rib-eye arrived thickly sliced on a wooden board, and came with a light but luxurious walnut salad and a bowl of crisp fries so colossal that even the waiter seemed mildly amused. This came to roughly £30 a head before sauces (little jugs of pepper, Béarnaise, gentleman’s relish or salsa verde) or any drinks were added.
The staff were friendly and efficient but didn't seem to know a huge amount about the food they were serving (we asked our waitress without much success for advice about whether a rib-eye might need a longer cooking time than a leaner cut) - but that didn't matter, because the chef clearly did. The food at the Porterhouse Grill is of an extremely high standard, the meat tender with a complexity of flavour brought out be careful cooking, expertly offset by rich sauces and delicate dressings, mopped up with perfectly pitched chips which either crunched or melted depending on how you combined them with the sauce.
It is expensive, without a doubt, but it’s also excellent, fun and discreetly flamboyant. As many of us choose to eat less meat it’s arguably a good idea to keep steak for a special occasion and make sure it’s fantastic quality - and for me at least the food and atmosphere here are worth the price tag, as vintage cocktails and good wines, unpretentious service and great food combine to offer an absurdly comforting sense of wellbeing.