The Good (and not so Good) at Goodman’s

I’d heard a lot of great things about Goodman’s. It’s one of the two steak groups in that competes for the “best steak” places in London, at least according to a number of foodies. Last year, we had our Christmas gathering at Hawksmoor last year and opted to try Goodman’s this year instead.

We had a reservation for 8:30pm but decided to meet up for a drink at Aqua first. To call that place heaving would have been an understatement with the bar full of very beautiful people, and many others simply preening themselves. It passed 8pm and we decided to try for a drink at the bar at Goodman’s rather than another one at Aqua. We arrived early. Just after 8pm and, as expected, were told that our table wasn’t yet ready. We didn’t really mind this, as we figured we were a bit early, but looking back, we really should have simply had another drink at Aqua because the bar area isn’t particularly suited for waiting, filled with other guests dining at the counter.

Time passed and at 8:30pm, one of our party decided to ask if our table was ready. The maitre de assured us that the party occupying our table was simply paying and that we would have our table after five more minutes. Five minutes passed and nothing. So we waited five minutes more before deciding to ask again. One of my dining companions asked the maitre de again who repeated back exactly the same statement, “five more minutes.” We were seated at 8:50pm. He was not impressed.

Finally getting seated (after having a reservation!), we were starting to get a bit hungry. I’m pleased that bread was placed on the table, shortly after all the menus made their way down. Soft, creamy salted butter and slightly warm rolls made good partners to tame the building hunger. Our waitress, a friendly lady, told us about the various cuts on offer and took our orders of the steak, sides and wine. A pleasant and efficient experience that would prove not to last the rest of the night.

Being with a group of Italians, we all ended up ordering the Burrata. I’d never had this rich dish before (mozzarella mixed with cream). Served with crispy chorizo, small tomatoes and a small bit of crispy sourdough (£12), I was very impressed with this dish. Unfortunately my dining partners (and I) were less impressed that we had to ask for our wine after the round of appetizers sat at our table for a while.

We finished our decadent, delicious starter with the plates sitting there for a good twenty minutes before they were taken away. Fair enough they were busy but for 12.5% service, I expect much better.

Like other, well regarded restaurants, Goodman’s have their won steak knives.

Our waitress came up to us, just before all the food arrived, apologising she hadn’t asked if we wanted any sauces. We ordered some (stilton, pepper, and bernaise) but by then all of our food arrived. It was an impressive collection of food. The four of us split a 1kg steak (Scottish grass fed only!) (£120), and unlike last year’s Hawksmoor experience, this one had been cooked perfectly. Pink and juicy, charred on the outside. Given all the sides we’d ordered, it was a good thing we didn’t order bigger steaks.

The downside was when the maitre de arrived ten minutes later, asking us how everything was going and still those sauces had not yet arrived.

Fortunately the side dishes were pretty good, worth tucking into while we waited. Above is the creamed spinach with blue cheese (£4.50).

And a delicious truffle mac and cheese (£4), though being italians and disliked pasta being treated this way, only one of my companions was tempted to try it. I found it delicious though. Eventually our sauces arrived and everything was rather complete. The steak was excellent – juicy and smoky, and did just the job.

Our dessert menu arrived, and though full, convinced ourselves rather quickly that it was worth trying some of the dessert menu. Well, we would have if someone came to took our order. It was a good half hour before our waitress returned to take our order. On top of that, our water bottle had been taken away, and not refilled during this time.

I went for the calorie dense, Brownie sundae (£6.50) (minus the whipped cream). Chunky and delicious.

A couple of of the creme brulees (£6.50) were ordered. Pretty good reports on this.

And finally a cheesecake (£6.50), also apparently very well made.

Overall I have to say that the food was definitely very good, but our experience of the evening was tainted by far too many incidents. When the bill arrived, we informed our waitress that we weren’t going to pay the service. Interestingly, her reaction was first to ask what was wrong, and then after explaining the events of the evening, said that she had to go to the manager to get her to “take the amount off the bill”. This was fascinating, because for us, the bill already showed the amount that needed paying without service. We waited, another ten minutes for the manager to return.

At the point of the evening (almost midnight and after some very nice wine and dessert wine), I can’t really remember if we had to re-explain our circumstances. She came back and said that she took off a round of drinks apologising for the service. We explained back that it wasn’t necessary, and all we really wanted to do was to not pay the service, but she insisted.

Would I come back? Given the quality of the food I think I would. Service is a funny thing, variable on lots of different factors. They did a good job to redeem themselves, and just hope that they actually took the feedback on board, rather than simply not pass it on to our waitress.

Name: Goodman Steak Restaurant
Found at: 24-26 Maddox Street, W1S 1QH

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