This was the first Goodman in London (a second branch in Old Jewry in the City opened in mid 2010), a steak house serving American beef but owned by Russians. The room itself is what one might expect – lots of dark wood, with a quite masculine feel to the décor.
The wine list spans the world and has examples such as Malbec Mendoza 2007 at £38 compared to a retail price of around £13, the lovely Tignanello 2006 at £149 for a wine you can buy retail for around £53, and at the upper end of the list the stunning 2004 Guigal La Mouline 2004 at £355 for a wine that costs £153 to buy in the shops. Bread was adequate, slices of brown and white supplied by Paul Rhodes in Greenwich (2/10). As ever, it would be nice to see a restaurant make its own bread, or in this case at least buy better.
A rocket salad with goat cheese with pine nuts (£7.50) was properly dressed and pronounced excellent by my dining companion. A lobster bisque (£7.50) could have had a bit more depth of flavour and perhaps a little more seasoning, but this was still very pleasant (3/10). The best starter was my tempura of prawns with a salsa of mango and avocado (£11). What distinguished this was the unusually delicate tempura batter, together with accurate cooking of the prawns; the salsa was a bit too fridge-cold, but overall this still very good (4/10 bordering 5/10).
Of course the thing here is the meat. At the end of the day, the successful cooking of a steak comes down to two things: the quality of the meat and the quality of the grill. A range of steaks was available, some from Scotland and some from the US. The US steak here was a choice of corn-fed USDA beef (supplied by the Greater Omaha Packing Company of Omaha, Nebraska) and grass-fed Angus, as well as some wagyu from Chile. The grill is a Josper, a Spanish Rolls Royce of charcoal grills (used also at l’Anima and Hawksmoor). In the UK we are used to grass-fed cattle, which never seem to me to quite attain the flavour of corn-fed ones, so it was an easy decision here. We tried in-bone rib eye (£36 for 600g) and also a Porterhouse (£37.50 for 600g) from the US, both of which were spectacularly good; the meat had a lovely char on the outside (thanks to the grill being used), and real depth of flavour from the good marbling of fat on the meat; both steaks were cooked precisely as we had asked (easily 7/10). I have only had better beef in very serious restaurants abroad, such as Osier in Japan.
On the side, both hand-cut chips (£4) and truffle chips (£4.50) were very good, though they’d be even better if they were triple cooked (4/10). A cheesecake at the end of meal was merely pleasant (2/10).
Service was charming.. Our waitress Kristen (an English waitress in London – I almost fell off my chair) and manager Giovanni were very friendly and helpful. Goodman seems to me to be setting the standard for steak in London.