With the abundance of steakhouses in London, it can be a gamble whether you will get a premium cut or a braising steak. Perhaps the last place you would look for a surefire bet is at a casino, but the Heliot Steak House at the Hippodrome casino is a must visit for all steak lovers.
Firstly as befitting of a former nightclub and theatre, the venue is sheer theatricality. The seats at Heliot all overlook the glamorous casino floor and there is that palpable sense of excitement in the air. Whilst we don’t have anything approaching the scale of MGM or Caesar’s Palace, there is a definite sense of vibrancy and energy at the Hippodrome casino and that is especially evident dining at Heliot.
You have to love the name of the restaurant, it is named after Madame Heliot, who was one of the earlier performers at the Hippodrome in the early 1900’s. Her signature act was feeding lions with raw meat. Luckily for the kitchen team, they only have to serve beef tataki to ravenous punters.
Head Chef Ioannis Grammenos has done a superb job adding a touch of the Mediterranean to the starters, whether its quinoa salad or tuna tartare; as quite often guests do want a lighter starter before getting stuck in to their meaty steak. We opted for the seared scallops, which had a great melting pot of flavours from the pickled girolles, beurre blanc and carrot puree. It was marginally more complicated than how other chefs would have done this dish, but the flavours combined remarkably well.
The centrepiece was their steak. We went for a 200g fillet cooked medium rare. Whilst it looked worryingly small, it was actually a thick cut of USDA Prime 3-year-old grain fed beef. It had that great beefiness taste and also the chew you would expect from such prime quality beef. The meat was tender and moist and they had an extensive selection of sauces and butters to choose from to accompany the steak from truffle sauce to blue cheese butter. For those hungry ‘lions’ that wanted more, they have a great selection of sides from triple cooked chips to garlic roast field mushrooms.
However, it wouldn’t be a full house without trying their desserts and it was a spectacular ending. We ordered the almond millefeuille and dark and milk chocolate tart. The millefeuille was light and elegantly made with a welcoming selection for winter forest fruits. The milk chocolate tart was presented artistically with the cointreau and clementine jelly looking like an egg yolk and there was ample amounts of indulgent chocolate in the tart.
We are turning more and more into the Las Vegas model, where casinos are not just about gambling but also about offering great shows and refined cuisine and Heliot Steak House is up there with the best.