Where better to take three women for dinner than a place that proudly serves pretty much nothing else but steak. This was my first experience of Goodman, having remained a loyal fan of Hawksmoor for the last few years. What tempted me to jump ship was Hawksmoor’s Air Street venture which felt too impersonal and big, almost like they’d buckled under the commercial pressure and finally taken that step from independent British steakhouse to a huge corporate beast. Given Goodman’s Mayfair location I was expecting it to be a real stuffy affair, but walking into the confidently masculine dining room, I was surprised by how laid back it felt. It was filled with post-work suits, but had anything but a corporate atmosphere, and even in the back private dining room where we were seated it had a constant warm buzz.
Things got off to a solid start with Beef Carpaccio (£8) which wasn’t doused in a dressing, allowing the flavour of the beef to come through.
The Tiger Prawn Tempura, with Avocado, Mango and Cajun Mayonaise (£12) was a solid starter, but a little on the safe side. The batter was light and crispy but they could have been braver with the cajun spice, as more of a hit of heat would have worked perfectly with the cool freshness of the mango and avocado.
I had the Buratta with grilled sourdough and olives (£13), although I don’t remember the olives. This was the first time I’d the this soft Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream and I wasn’t expecting the flavour to be so subtle. The only complaint was that it was all a little too mushy, and would have benefited from the sourdough being crisp rather than soggy. It just needed some bite to compliment the smoothness of the cheese.
The Pan Fried Foie Gras, Roasted Fig, Oyster Mushroom and Truffle Honey (£15) sounded incredibly indulgent, but sadly there just wasn’t much of it. There were a lot of figs which were delicious covered in the truffle honey, but only a tiny amount of the Foie Gras, and not enough to justify the price tag.
The Goodman 400g Ribeye (£34) was a stunning caramel brown and had my meat juices flowing as soon as I saw it. It was as tender as they come and absolutely packed with flavour. Was it as good as the Hawksmoor ribeye? Not quite. There’s no way to explain this other than that the British beef at Hawksmoor just has a deeper flavour to it. The Béarnaise sauce was great, but the real star was the Stilton sauce. This had an incredible depth of flavour almost like a meaty stock that had been reduced down for hours.
The 250g Fillet (£34) was slightly overdone in both cases. Fortunately this didn’t have any impact of the taste and it was still a juicy steak. As tends to be the case though, it was some way off the tastier ribeye cut. Also it seemed a little heavy on the price even for a fillet.
For sides the Truffle Chips (£5.50) and Beef Dripping Chips (£5.50) were perfectly crunchy. The Mac and Cheese, Truffle Sauce and Parmesan (£5) wasn’t sticky and cheesy enough for me. The Creamed Spinach with Gruyere Cheese (£4.50) was the pick of the bunch, basically because there really wasn’t any way you could kid yourself that you were having a healthy portion of spinach. The only disappointment was the Carrots with Honey and Ginger Glaze (£3.50) which were overcooked and too sweet.
We shared the New York Cheese Cake and Berry Compote (£7) which was about as heavy as a cheesecake can get. This wouldn’t usually be a complaint, but after putting away two bottles of red and a 400g steak I’d have preferred something a little lighter. Of course I cleaned the plate though.
Just as heavy was the Cookie Sundae (£7) which was easily enough for two. Plenty of cookies, caramel and cream. This was a real a belt loosener.
Overall the food was solid, but didn’t quite live up to the £70 per head price tag. What made me forgive this though, was the service, which was flawless throughout. Our waitress really was as good as they get. I find Hawksmoor can be a little bit like a conveyor belt where the staff are all just part of that steak churning machine. Here the waitress was incredibly relaxed and gave us plenty of much-needed time to let the kilo of food settle. There’s a lot to love about Goodman and I’ll definitely come back, but if like me, you can only convince your partner to go to a steakhouse on a rare occasion, then I’d sooner return to Hawksmoor.