My mother used to say when she went to a restaurant she would never order anything she could serve or cook at home, citing smoked salmon and steak. Steak features strongly on the menu at Goodmans whose Canary Wharf restaurant I visited on Thursday. I went with a friend of my husband Olly, who had a client engagement (or so he said!!). The London steak house has a interesting gastro history. In the sixties there was the safe Berni inn and Aberdeen Angus which seemed to cater for the out of town visitor offering steaks at a sensible price in an old fashioned decor. Then Chez Gerrard epitomised the more French, better cooked, steak with frites. Then came the Gaucho Grill offering Argentine steaks and now the distinctly upmarket and expensive Goodmans.
The last time I was there I had difficulty in costing their blackboard system which the waitress uses to explain the various cuts and gram weight but it’s less clear what the final cost will be. In desperation last time I left the choice to her and finished up paying a fortune. So this time I ordered more cautiously from the menu and chose a ribeye. It was absolutely scrumptious – rich, meaty, the best I have eaten outside Buenos Aires. Beforehand I chose a lobster and crayfish cocktail. This too was delicious. Such a dish can be overfilled with salad and less full of fish but this was a tumblerful of lobster and crayfish in a cayenne-treated sauce.
On the wine list they operate the Coravin system whereby you can order a very fine glass of wine which is extracted via a straw and preserves the wine in the bottle. A Hermitage la Chapelle was £76 for a 175 cm glass: the banker’s bonus wine. I felt this system benefited the profit margin of the restaurant rather than the diner and we selected a robust Argentinian Malbec at half the price of one glass of that wine.
My impression of Goodmans’ clientele is that it represented and reflected the financial community who are not put off by the price. Certainly the steaks are delicious, the service good but it had an odd fault, it was noisy and I had difficulty in hearing my friend. The only thing I can see stopping its success, as they have further restaurants in Mayfair and The City, is a banker’s tax!!! If so, they might have to include a Bulgarian house red wine alongside the Coravin selection and Daffers will be forced to shop at Primark and not Versace!!!