MASH Steak House
A selection of top growers from the USA
Pristine worldy steaks
Art Deco interior
With a misleadingly modest street frontage, the actually mighty MASH handsomely unravels deep beneath Brewer Street in a Mad Men-esque set of red leather and marble, replete with low-lit lockers of ageing meat and antique spirits.
This art deco vault was once part of Europe’s largest hotel, the Regent Palace, which became Europe’s largest lodging (1,028 rooms!) on opening in 1914. However, according to MASH’s operators, the 1960s saw the reputation of the hotel decline. “Its location in the vicinity of Soho made it an obvious meeting point for ladies of the night to ply their trade. Rumour has it that if you phoned the concierge desk and asked for an extra pillow, a deal could be done…”
It was later overseen by Marco Pierre White who ran Titanic. Today, the huge dining room unites gently-rested steak with à point wines, continuing the foolproof concept launched by leading sommeliers in Copenhagen in 2009.
As the name suggests, North America is the vinous focus, says Sicilian head sommelier, Salvatore Castano (formerly of Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester). “And I believe we have the biggest selection in London.”
Verticals, in magnum, may include: Au Bon Climat, Hanzell, Diamond Creek, Qupé and Ridge, as well as bottles of Dunn Vineyards, Opus One, Harlan, and Screaming Eagle. However, not all concerns liquid Californian sunshine, as Castano, who recently returned from a visit to another of his favourite regions, Burgundy, notes. “London is a magical city with wines from all over the planet.” Hence, this is a global list reaching from China to Chianti with plentiful instances of best friend to steak, rested Bordeaux, as well as Burgundy, the treasure trove from Italy, not forgetting stickies, including bottles of venerable Madeira.
Producer dinners included Napa’s Bucella, founded by a couple who fell in love with the valley during their honeymoon, Klein Constantia from Stellenbosh, and, by popular demand, Mendoza’s Catena, as well as a masterclass charting the Evolution of Bourbon.
Dishes may include oysters on the half shell or oxtail consommé, followed by cuts from Denmark, Japan, Scotland, Uruguay and the USA, served according to preference with herb butter, chilli-cheese balls with bacon, or sautéed jalapenos with onions, followed by chocolate cake or Comté, and a white barrel-aged Negroni at the brilliant bar.
“We always try to help guests pair wines with our dishes, and one I really love is grilled, 90 day dry-aged Danish rib-eye with Heitz Cabernet Sauvignon,” says Castano.
By Douglas Blyde.
With little street frontage, the actually mighty ‘MASH’ handsomely unravels deep beneath Brewer Street in a Mad Men-esque set of red leather and marble, replete with meat lockers on view. This vault was once part of the 800-room Regent Palace Hotel before being overseen by Marco Pierre White who operated it under the ominous title, ‘Titanic’. Today, the Danish-owned, ‘Modern American Steak House’ unites gently-rested steak with gently-rested wines within, continuing the near foolproof concept launched by sommeliers at the top of their game in Copenhagen in 2009.
A number of MASH’s board members trained and worked as sommeliers – and erudite manpower on the floor is the key to success, particularly in carefully assessing guests’ requirements, including the importance of respecting budgets. Indeed, this is a list devised to deliver to the discerning, notably good value.
Sicilian head sommelier, Salvatore Castano long harboured a vinous interest, with his arrival in London, principally a position at Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, widening his appreciation of the globe as a vineyard. ‘As soon I got into London everything changed,’ he says. ‘A magical city with wines from all over the planet…’
At MASH, Castano further accrued greater a gamut of grape-based knowledge while working with sommelier, Jess Kildetoft. ‘He is one of just 249 Master Sommeliers on Earth and looks after all of the MASH restaurants in Denmark as well as London.’
At MASH Copenhagen, lists may exceed 3,000 bins, while London features circa 900. A particular focus is lavished on the dedicated cellar, part of which is visible beyond a glass partition, of North American wines. ‘I believe we have the biggest selection in London, which we’ll probably enlarge.’ Wines may include the full frontal, boldly labelled wares of Charles Smith, the Washington State producer who formerly managed Danish rock bands. Also neatly racked are tantalising flights of Amuse Bouche, Au Bon Climat, Diamond Creek, Dunn Vineyards, Hanzell, Harlan, Opus One, Williams Selyem, Ridge, as well as Domaine de la Romanée Conti, although there are plentiful pleasures sub £40, too.
Dishes may include MASH Tartare with piquillos or half a lobster thermidor, followed by, of course, steaks from Uruguay, Denmark, Japan (including Kobe wagyu), the USA and Britain – and it can be good fun to compare the character of the cuts with willing friends. Followed by a few Old Fashioneds at the brilliant bar.
‘As an American Steak House, we sell full bodied Americans, Bordeaux and Italians. Obviously, the wine will change depending on what kind of Angus you’ll choose,’ says Castano.
Incidentally, producers and punters take note – according to the list, MASH ‘charges a reasonable £20 in corkage fee per bottle of 75cl and allow a maximum of four bottles per table.’
By Douglas Blyde.
Half of the Modern American Steak House’s six board members trained and worked as sommeliers, including founder, Jesper Boelskifte, a victor, multiple times, of national and Nordic sommelier championships.
At MASH, Copenhagen, the list tips over 3,000 bins, a figure London’s Brewer Street branch clearly aspires to. Curated by sommelier, Jess Kildetoft Sorensen, these include, but are most certainly not limited to, an extraordinary array of Californian and Oregon wines, many in flashy large formats, visible in the cellar through plate glass windows.
This is the Mad Men-esque in decor set to come to savour, deep beneath Piccadilly, verticals of Screaming Eagle, Opus One, Dominus and Dunn. It is not only the cellars which are visible to diners, incidentally. The team are mighty proud of their cabinets of Danish, British, Australian, Japanese, Uruguayan and USDA cuts which fringe the bar.
Glass from : £ 7.50 (150 ml)
77 Brewer StreetW1F 9ZN
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