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Flat Iron Restaurant Review
47 – 51 Caledonian Road, London, N1 9BU
Reviewed by Michael M Sandwick
My first job at the age of 15 (back when child slavery was allowed) was bussing tables at a steakhouse. Sawdust on the floor, the smell of chlorine mixed with beer and waitresses that had been around the block a few times. They were tough. I did what they said. For 50 cents an hour! Why these happy memories came flooding back to me at Flat Iron can only be attributed to the word steak. There, all similarities end. The new shop in King's Cross is cosy, sweet-smelling and the staff are charming beyond description. As well, I felt quite sure that all were over the age of 18!
The N1 branch is number 6 in what is rapidly becoming a chain. Originally a pop-up, the concept has remained relatively unchanged. No starters, 1 steak, 1 special, a few sides and 1 dessert. Basta! Doing one thing well is the idea, and it works. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it.
Charlie Carroll is the man behind it all. A self-taught butcher, he's built his business around a lesser known cut of meat from the shoulder, the flat iron steak. It's lean, tender and flavorful and you can have one for £11! This includes a green leaf salad and they even throw in a tin beaker of popcorn! If you want a better bargain, you'll have to eat on the street.
I began with a "build your own" Bloody Mary. I love a bit of DIY and couldn't resist. My toolbox arrived without the advertised beef bouillon and celery salt. Still, I managed to concoct a spicy libation which I swilled before my blonde guest arrived. Blondie ordered an old fashioned with blood orange oil. The perfume was so gorgeous I wanted to dab some behind my ear. A wonderful drink.
On special was a ribeye from Flat Iron's own herd of Yorkshire cattle. A steal at £16. Béarnaise sauce for a £ was an absolute treat. Peppercorn sauce gave neither kick nor comfort. Fries in Wagyu dripping all but stole the show.
The wine list is almost as spare as the menu but manages to give a decent choice. I went for the staff favourite red, a black cherry Negroamoro for £9. It was indeed, packed with black cherry flavour and though tasty, had neither finesse nor finish. A mellow Spanish Tempranillo (£12) had much more depth, spice and rich tannins.
The dessert was another do-it-yourselfer; a sundae, with freshly made vanilla ice cream, black cherries with syrup, flakes of French wafers, chocolate shavings and a full canister of whipped cream. Resisting the temptation of spraying whipped cream all over (including the blonde) required a degree of self-control I didn't know I possessed. Somehow, we managed to suppress our inner 5 year-olds and prepare our puddings in an adult fashion. They were divine. Inner 5 year-olds be damned! The only thing missing now, was a bit of sawdust!