Name: Manhattan Grill West India Quay
Where: The ground floor of the Marriott Hotel, West India Quay, 22 Hertsmere Road, London E14 4ED, http://manhattangrill.co.uk/
Cost: Average spend is around £50 per person (not including drinks). There are 6 appetisers, priced from £6.50 to £15. Steaks are £24 to £34, with non-steak main courses costing £8 to £15, and side dishes at £4-8.
About: The Manhattan Grill is a steakhouse in Canary Wharf, specializing in wet-aged USDA prime Black Angus from Creekstone Kansas, and dry-aged Scottish cuts from Inverurie – the birthplace of Aberdeen Angus steak.
Situated on the ground floor of the Marriot Hotel, right next door to the station, it overlooks the waterfront of West India Quay. The Manhattan Grill is an elegant restaurant, if a tad corporate in feel.
The dining room is long and spacious, with comfortable cream leather chairs, and an impressive open-plan kitchen. There are floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the quay, and if the weather is fine, there are outdoor tables too.
What We Ate: We started with the seared black pearl scallops (£15). With a delectable pea puree and bacon grilled until crisp, the scallops were meaty, of great quality and well cooked.
Equally good was the baked blue swimmer crab cake, presented with soft flakes of fresh crab and a dressed green salad, served with a tartar sauce (£12).
For the main course, we shared two of their signature steaks: the Creekstone Kansas USDA Black Angus Rib Eye (bone in) 16oz (£34) and the Scottish Aberdeen Angus T-bone 20oz steak which was a whopper (£32.50).
|Creekstone Kansas USDA Black Angus Rib Eye (bone in) 16oz at £34|
The steaks were both delicious, and cooked medium rare as requested. They were evenly marbled and well-flavoured, generously encrusted in salt. The steaks were served with a selection of sauces, including horseradish, chimichurri and béarnaise. I am not one to leave food on my plate, but I must admit that in the end, we were sadly defeated by the enormity of those steaks!
|Scottish Aberdeen Angus T-bone, 20oz at £32.50|
The restaurant claims to feature a Montague grill that heats up to 650°C, a grill oven that is similar in concept to a Josper grill. The steaks though deliciouls could have done with a little more caramelisation in my opinion so the benefits of a Montague grill are still to be seen.
Meat comes from Russell Hume in Chelsea, who supplies to most of the Marriot group, while the USDA steaks come from Freedom Foods.
To accompany our steaks, we chose the sides of mac'n cheese (£4) and chips (£4). The mac'n cheese was cheesy and creamy, a perfect example of a long-time favourite. The chips were deliciously chunky with a crispy outer layer while fluffy and very soft inside just as I like them.
The JW Steakhouse is another American-style steakhouse located at the JW Marriott Hotel on Park Lane, London (reviewed here). JW Steakhouse serves some of the best cheesecake I have ever tried (allegedly the best cheesecake on this side of the pond), so I was sad not to see it as a dessert option on the menu at Manhattan Grill. I had no space left at this stage of the meal, but I could have been tempted by that cheesecake!
What We Drank: We started with a couple of cocktails from the G & Tea bar next door (they are all priced at £10.50) - the Londinium 75 (with Hayman's sloe and dry, lime, champagne and passion fruit syrup), and the Red Spy (with Hayman's Royal Dock, Southern Comfort, peach and raspberry puree, lime juice), both well made and strong.
The restaurant has an Enomatic machine, and diners are invited to sample wines between their starters and steak, to decide which wine to pair with their meat choices.
For the rib eye, the restaurant's recommendation is a Chateau des Laurets 2011, from Puisseguin Saint-Emillion. The restaurant has a special relationship with the Rothschild family, and claims to have the largest variety of Rothschild wines in Canary Wharf.
We were offered 4 tasting samples of powerful wines, but opted for the Chateau des Laurets (£62) - a classic Bordeaux. This was excellent - still youthful and slightly purple in colour, it had plenty of black berry fruit, well-integrated oak and firm but supple tannins. It was a pleasure to drink by itself, but better still with the steak.
Likes: The restaurant has a small menu, but what they serve (judging from our visit) was of great quality and expertly cooked. The sommelier-led wine tasting with the restaurant's Enomatic machine is a good option I have not seen in any other London restaurant. I enjoyed sitting by the open-plan kitchen and watching the chefs preparing the steaks. The mac'n cheese was creamy, with a crispy cheese top, and well made. The service was efficient, friendly and well-informed.
Dislikes: The restaurant has a slightly corporate, hotel-chain feel to it. Annoyingly, there is no free car-parking available at the hotel or in the surrounding area even at night, although there is a multi-story car-park available over the road for a fee (£4.60 for 2 hours or £6.20 for up to 4 hours), but you can ask for a small discount at the hotel reception before you leave.
Verdict: Manhattan Grill is a local American steakhouse serving top quality beef and well-made seafood dishes. The menu is focused, well executed and priced. It is a good option for lunch or dinner if you find yourself in London's Canary Wharf. Recommended.