City eats ~ Flat Iron Steak, Soho

Do you ever get red meat cravings? Those evenings when no other meat will satisfy your appetite? After visiting Flat Iron Steak a few Saturdays ago, drawn in by the smell of a tasty steak but beaten by a long waiting list, I found myself with one of those cravings. I also saw a challenge I am determined to overcome – mastering the no reservation restaurant. So last Thursday we went to the Beak Street branch to try our luck, test our tactics and enjoy a dose of protein.

Whilst Flat Iron Steak is a no-reservation restaurant, they won’t leave you waiting in an actual queue down the street. When you arrive, they’ll give you an approximate wait time and you decide whether to take a buzzer and go to the bar or leave your mobile and wait for a text. After realising there was an hour and a half wait on the Saturday, I joined the waiting list about an hour before we wanted a table, gave my mobile number and went shopping. Forty minutes later my table was ready.

Flat-Iron-Steak-Wall-interior

They hold it for 10 minutes and I got there just in time.

As the name suggests Flat Iron Steak has a very basic concept.

Flat-Iron-Steak-Wall-Menu

A £10 flat iron steak (although there’s also a special steak on the menu and I spotted a burger when leaving), sides including dripping coated chips and various greens from £2.50, plus a sauce for £1. The only menu you’ll find at your table is the drinks one.

Flat-Iron-Steak-Menu

Probably all you need with a good steak.

James and I both went for the simple option of steak and chips, no sauce.

Flat-Iron-Steak-Wall-steak

Apologies for the poor quality picture, I was starving! The steak was delicious, juicy and perfectly cooked for my liking (I go for medium). The chips were nice and crunchy too.

I managed to get James in shot to give you an idea of the portion size 🙂

Flat-Iron-Steak---James

It doesn’t look like a huge portion but we found it was just enough for us.

Flat Iron Steak is a great option when you get a red meat craving but you don’t want to spend the kind of prices you find in the likes of Hawksmoor down the road (it’s obviously not vegetarian friendly…). You need to be pretty relaxed about your dining time and be happy to go for a drink for an hour, or fit in some shopping whilst you wait (this will also distract those hunger pangs!). It might also be worth mentioning the tables are a little cosy so if you’re in a small group, it might best to save your juicy gossip for cocktails (or beers) after.

Our visit to Flat Iron Steak got me thinking about other tips I’ve discovered for tackling no reservation restaurants over the years. Here are mine so far (warning – they may be totally obvious!)…

  • In the week try to get there around 6pm, it may seem a bit early but I’ve always found the queues a bit shorter as most people haven’t yet made it away from their desks or have gone for a drink first. Arriving 6.30 – 8pm is guaranteed to be busy.
  • If you’re desperate to go somewhere try visiting at different times to the masses, maybe a late lunch on a day’s holiday in the week, an early breakfast rather than brunch at the weekends or a Monday night rather than the end of the week.

What do you think about no reservation restaurants? Do you have any you’d recommend? Do you have any top tips for mastering the city’s no reservation culture?