It happened on a Friday afternoon, the sun was shining and the outlook was good. I walked into the grand entrance of MASH London and was told my dining guest was waiting. I walked down the impressive grand staircase and wandered over to see my contact Lady C who was reading the BBB and sipping on a negroni, looking every inch the movie star like Lana Turner or Marilyn Monroe through the steam of other diners’ steaks. I was transported to another time and, with the little booth we sat in lit up by a lamp, I could just imagine being in the 1950s rubbing the shoulders with the movie stars of old.
With no rush and no push, our lovely server, Joel, introduced us to the menu and I ordered a margarita; made in my favourite way without salt on the rim. The menu has lots of choice and, as MASH is an American steak house in Regent Street, Soho, there is plenty of choice for meat lovers in central London!
The starters we chose were charcuterie comprised of duck liver, ham, salami and duck roulade. The various meats had different flavours, with the liver being smooth and creamy and a great addition to a bit of crusty bread and the ham being deliciously salty. The salami was strong, as was the duck roulade with an addition of chives to bring out the flavours, and each one smelt and tasted excellent. We also went for Joel’s recommendation of tuna tartar with avocado. The tuna was very light and delicate, a perfect starter for a balmy day, the flavours were very subtle and the freshness could be tasted with every mouthful. A sweet soy jus around the avocado added a great complexity and aroma and it was great to mix it all up together as the tastes just intensified.
After enjoying our starters, we sat ready to discuss the Dublin file in our secret booth in the old Titanic ballroom, located in the lower ground floors of the former Regent Palace Hotel which dates back to 1915. It looks very Art Deco, with a private dining room, with a wine cellar on view, and a semi-private dining room, if you so wish to be part of the bustling atmosphere without it intruding. The total restaurant seating area is 350, which makes it the second largest restaurant in London. However, the magical atmosphere and lovely décor does not make you feel like you are in a room the size of a football field, hidden a private booth you can talk intimately and quite easily while away a few hours. If you like sharing your dinner delights via social networking, the lamp on the table is perfect for photographing!
It was now onto the juicy mains after talking about the Emerald Isle! Joel brought out our three different styles of steak: Uruguayan, American New York Strip and Danish dry aged. The steak was cut in front of eyes, with the juices flowing and the smell alluring as the meat just stripped away. Joel said he has got very quick at doing this as people get ready to pounce – which is quite funny when the photograph in the entrance is two lions tearing into meat and Lady C and I felt we would soon be looking just like that! It was hard to keep decorum when the meat is cut in front of you like food porn!
It was very interesting to try the different styles of meat, each one having a different flavour with some of the cows corn fed and the rest grass fed which does change the flavour of the meat. All were very succulent and extremely good, but I think that the American meat was the most tender. On the side, we had the creamy spinach, mashed potatoes with bacon, chilli fries and beans. The sides were lovely and all served in very cute little pots, but my favourite was the mash. The one thing I would say is do not let your stomach deceive you – save yourself as the meat is a lot. Beware, you will be in a meat coma!
To go with our delightful meat, we had a glass of wine chosen by Joel, for Lady C it was MASH’s very special wine, a Charles Smith Noble Syrah CS 2011, and for me a Keystone Californian Chardonnay. Each wine went well with the dishes with the smell of the Charles Smith wine stunning, I am not a fan of red wine but I admit I tried it and it was rather tasty! This Syrah reminded us of toasty black cherries, liquorice, and dark chocolate: a perfect match for rich flavours. My Keystone had delicate aromas of white flowers with a hint of minerality, a fresh, tight acidity underscores a palate of intense lemon zestiness. A wine with subtle, smooth textures; finishing with hints of grapefruit and spices. The wine is decanted, which is a lovely touch and the glasses we had were just enough for a meal, very good glass size.
Heading back to our Dublin talk we were greeted by waiter number two, the equally lovely Henrique who organised for us to have a doggy bag (or should that be Cow-gy/ Moo-Moo bag!) of our left-over meat (which was devoured the next day!). Henrique managed to convince us to have dessert, which did sound very tempting but I think I needed to be a cow and have several stomachs to eat more! After a rest, with once again no pressure to order right away and no rush in delivering the dessert as Henrique could see we had to relax for a bit after our meat feast! For dessert, as we were in an American restaurant (although they are actually Danish!), I went for cheesecake with raspberry sorbet and slices of plum. The sorbet was a great match as I personally would have not thought the two would go together but they did; the dessert just melts in the mouth. It was very light so a great choice after the strong tastes of the steaks. Charlotte went for white chocolate crème brûlée with passion fruit sorbet; once again it was light, with a different and exciting taste being white chocolate, a real contrast to the sorbet which was tropical and sharp.
After dessert we were greeted by waiter number three, the hospitable Jacob, who showed us the private dining areas and wine cellars. He also told us that at 9pm a DJ turns up and, with the bar looking like something from LA Confidential, I imagine that could be pretty awesome for people watching and mingling in the old ballroom of the hotel with its period fixtures. We sat back down for a final cocktail to end our meal: an obligatory BBB Espresso Martini which was a wonderful way to end our afternoon at MASH, turning back the time to another era and feeling like a movie star for an afternoon of great food and great company.
I picked up my doggy bag of steak and took the Dublin file, as the next time I would see Lady C we would be in Ireland looking at another day, another case and more than likely another Espresso Martini!
The service at MASH is amongst the best in London I have received and all three waiters that looked after us (with seamless ease) Joel, Henrique and Jacob, did a fantastic job. They made the MASH encounter a laid back chilled dining experience and all three were knowledgeable, funny and great at their jobs with wonderful customer service. One of the best meals I’ve had in ages and not only was my company great but the staff made the experience too, as I said all three waiters did not push. If you love great steaks, a beautiful location and wonderful staff then treat yourself and come here. It should be on the record, off the Q.T and not hush hush…everyone needs to know about MASH!
The Bespoke Black Book want to wish a Happy Birthday to MASH for one year in London, we know that many more birthdays will be in occurrence as MASH is a Soho mecca for steak, wine, cocktails, great service and most of all . . . fun.
77 Brewer Street
London, W1F 9ZN