Going out in South London for a bit of steak on a Wednesday evening? Perfectly normal. Spotting a big-deal celeb and fangirling over your bavette? Probably not so normal.
Last week, we went for a steak dinner at Arlo’s in Balham, and found out that it wasn’t just us who loved the food there…
Yep. On the right of this sign, is the one and only JOHN FREAKIN’ BARROWMAN. I didn’t actually realise until after I’d taken this picture, so it’s definitely not creepy.
(The creepy part came when I went immediately to his Twitter to find out he actually was in the UK, then spent the rest of my meal trying not to stare and hoping we coincidentally left at the same time as he did. We didn’t…)
Star-spotting aside – there’s definitely a lot to get excited about at Arlo’s. Working in the area, it’s a place I’d walked past plenty of times before, but never really looked into the menu.
Which, it turns out, is pretty simple – steak, steak or…steak. With a streamlined menu approach, diners can choose from either a Bavette, Hanger or Ribeye steak. There’s also the option of the Bavette steak to share. I’m THE worst decision-maker, so simplicity in menus makes dining out a lot less stressful for me. Because no one wants food envy, right?
The interior of the restaurant reflects the simplicity, with white walls and pops of colour, and framed cocktail recipes propped up around the green booth seating that lines the edges of the space. I didn’t realise until later on that there’s actually more dining space downstairs, more than doubling the amount of people able to eat in the restaurant.
Starter options are pretty simple at Arlo’s – you can opt for some Kalamata and Smoked Green Olives (£3.50), Spiced Halloumi (£4) or Grilled Padron Peppers & Smoked Sea Salt (£4). Or, if you’re really hungry/up for sharing, you can get all three for a tenner. Which, of course, we did.
The olives were flavoursome and rich, with the stones still inside – hence the red dish! Anything involving halloumi gets a thumbs up from me, and the addition of the spices gave it a mild kick I really enjoyed. And the Padron Peppers were very easy to eat our way through, fresh and beautifully seasoned.
On to the main event…hello, steak!
We had a voucher to cover some of the meal cost, so to get the best deal we chose the Bavette Steak to share (£45 for 500g + sides + 2 sauces). The restaurant focuses on ‘butcher’s cuts’ – the lesser-known cuts of meat that don’t usually get the exposure as more well known names (sirloin, rump, etc). Bavette steak comes from the flank (side), and is a lean cut – meaning lots of flavour.
And this one certainly had plenty of that going on. Cooked perfectly to our medium-rare request, the meat was tender and juicy and oozing with a strong beefy taste. All their steaks come from grass-fed British native breeds – and the freshness and quality that this delivers definitely shows in the finished product.
Although the steak was certainly well enjoyed, there was another part of the dish that really shone. With the steak served on top, its juices made their way down into the hand-cut chips below, giving them a meaty touch without creating soggy fries. Genius. Somewhere between skinny fries and full chips, the crisp crunch of the outside and sea salt seasoning made them the perfect thing to mop up with. Served with classic, crunchy Garlic Bread and fresh Chargrilled Tenderstem Broccoli, it’s the ultimate steak dinner – quality taste without the high-end price tag.
As well as dinner, Arlo’s also has a brunch menu which branches out a little more beyond the traditional steak and chips, still incorporating the steak they’re known for. Drinks are pretty standard for a London restaurant, with wines starting at £22 a bottle, and a selection of cocktails available.
At heart, the restaurant really puts its focus into one thing – steak, in case you missed that part – and it does it very well indeed. Simple, well-cooked cuts of meat with a small selection of complimentary sides, starters and desserts. Arlo’s tagline is that they’re ‘serious about steak’ – and this definitely shows in their tasty offerings.
1 Ramsden Rd, London SW12 8QX
*We were given a complimentary voucher to put towards our meal, in exchange for review
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