You can always trust the Asian’s when it comes to a quality crustacean. And so when a friend from Hong Kong told me that London’s moneyed Asian cohort have found a new joint to feast on sea flesh, I was eager to get my fill. Sure enough they were here in their numbers, having flocked over from Burger & Lobster which at £20 is loose change in comparison. They were gorging on a bigger and uglier beast. The Giant Norwegian King Crab. The restaurant is Beast.
Everything about Beast is viagra’d masculinity. The name, the menu (£85 for The Beast Experience- not including drinks or service), the gauntlet to your table through the tanks of mean-looking giant crabs who scrap for space in their tanks fighting their own imminent extinction, to the dark Medieval banquet hall where you scrape up a pew and prepare to dirty your fingers and soul by gorging on the finest meat and crab in town. Of course it’s full of suited city boys chugging down bottles from the pricey wine list and acting like they are wealthy lords from some distant time. But for once this doesn’t make me want to force a crab fork up their chang-caked noses. It adds to the Beast Experience and seduces me to join the orgy. A couple of trendy crafts and a bottle of fizz later, and I’m clashing my hands and echoing my laughs around the room and frustrating the hell out of the Chinese family on the sharing table with me, who just wanted to eat their crab meat and cream their pants with Instagram snaps (or whatever-the-hell the latest app is).
Once seated it’s simple- you take the blow and order the Beast Experience. Or if you’re operating on a shoestring, watching your weight, or just a downright tosser and shouldn’t be eating here, you go for something lighter off the specials board. You can upgrade too if you’re either a group, a fat bastard, a complete baller, or maybe just somebody who gets a kick out of going for one of the pensioner crabs who thought (wrongly) that having survived seventy-odd years and grown to a whopping 7-plus kilos, that they would see out the rest of their days getting their leg over the rest of the crabs in the tank. If you’re in the latter camp, I salute you.
So the Experience starts. Well, it tries to start, for what comes as a ‘starter’ is a bit of a pointless distraction. A cock tease before the main event. An antipasti of pickled onions, olives and chunks of strong parmesan with some ancient balsamic glaze might as well be skipped. Pleasant enough, but you’re not coming here to nibble on bits of cheese.
So let’s skip to the main event. The Giant Norwegian King Crab and a slab of rare Nebraskan steak brought out on their own trays- things of pure beauty. Fuck the sides of posh smoked tomatoes, salad and new potatoes, and fuck the cutlery. This is all about ripping, tearing and fighting your way through the meat. Come through the other side with two clean trays and a greased-up mouth and chin and you’ll be a better person. The crab’s legs are huge and filled with chunks of sweet fleshy meat. Lather her up with some buttery garlic sauce and you’ll be panting. The steak is of course spot on with this being part of the Goodman family. To bring beef all the way over from Nebraska it better taste good. And this sure as hell does. Marbled, fatty, rich and juicy. It has it all. This is the fiercest surf & turf in London.
Desserts- some sort of deconstructed cheesecake and a refreshing posset of some sort- are again a bit pointless. You’re spent by then, and they’re only there for the formality of making it a three-courser and perhaps to keep back some of those complaints if it were £85 for one course.
You will crawl out packed to the gullet with meat of the land and sea and you’ll have done your bit to increase the carbon footprint in shipping these creatures over from their native homes. What can I say about Beast other than it is pure indulgent pleasure. Obviously don’t come here if you’re a damned veggie or a a nature conservationist or if you’re on a budget (the bill was £140 a head- you can do it cheaper without the fizz). This is as capitalist, manly and bullish as they come. It’s a throbbing erection of a restaurant. Go and blow your load.