A Man’s Steak is his own Private Kingdom

Forget About Chocolate: Sam Pearman Believes a Good Steak is Where It’ s At “There is only one right way to eat a steak – with greed in your heart and a smile on your face.”― Soumeet Lanka Rump, fillet, sirloin, ribeye, chateaubriand, T-bone, with nine different steaks on the menu at No 131 in Cheltenham, it’ s no wonder it’ s become one of their legendary signature dishes. Here Sam Pearman gives us his lowdown on why steak matters.

So, are you just a bit obsessed with steak? Why?

I think it’s one of the meals that you go out and treat yourself to. It’s hard to create the same emotional experience at home as the complete steak has lots of accompaniments and of course chips. Which all need to be delivered and enjoyed at the perfect temperature, cooked to your liking and on time. That’ s a lot of pressure at home. Plus, there’s lots of washing-up.

What is important in a steak?

The meat flavour is the most important element. For me steak is best cooked over charcoal and flame, but it’s important that the essential meat flavour shines through the smoke and char to deliver that quintessential meat experience. Of course in some cuts of meat the fat is also important, as when cooked well it renders and adds different textures and adds weight to the beef flavour which should always be paramount.

What is the difference between the different cuts and what do you recommend?

I think everyone has a different taste experience (remember Jack Sprat?) when it comes to steak. Some prefer lean meat so should choose fillet or chateaubriand, others prefer a more marbled or fatty cut such as ribeye or Cote de Beouf. A choice is great as if explained well at the time you can decide how you play it. The porterhouse is a good option as it has fillet and sirloin so a two in one option.

What is the best way to cook a steak?

The best way in my view is to cook it from room temperature, cooked fast with lots and lots of salt over hot coals. After you have cooked the meat to your liking it’s vital to stand the meat for the about the same time again to let it all relax. A lot of tough steak is simply due to rushing it at the last minute.

Are there any rules when it comes to serving a steak?

For me it should be served on a warm plate, with a very good sharp knife. After that there are so many great options – fat chips or French fries, depending on mood, and then of course are all the amazing sauces: béarnaise, peppercorn, garlic butter. Currently Stilton hollandaise is my favourite as it is hollandaise rich and velvety but also has bursts of salty Stilton helping everything along. Over the summer months chimichurri or a good salsa verde is great, lots of herbs and garlic, with hints of chilli, and olive oil in the background. (Not butter.)

There’s also the simple option of just a lovely cooked steak with English (or French Dijon) mustard which works perfectly well. Other snazzy ideas? Bone marrow (very, very rich) fried egg (good for breakfast) roasted tomatoes, and if you have a salad with a steak it should be something light and crunchy – for me a simply dressed gem lettuce salad does the job.

Where do you source Lucky Onion meat from?

We have lots of great butchers who pick the meat carefully for us. We believe in dry aged meat and nothing that has been kept in a vacuum packed bag as this tends to taint the meat when it is then cooked. A good cow is best, such as Aberdeen Angus or Hereford – these provide consistently good meat and are a good size for a commercial restaurant

Asides from 131 where have you eaten your most memorable steak?

Peter Luger in Brooklyn was utterly brilliant, an extremely simple steak with everything just right.

And your worst?

A Cote du Beouf at L’Amis Louis in Paris, a huge piece of rubbery, fleshy, undercooked (French style) beef that was served badly and with no care at all. It was also ridiculously expensive.

Anything else to add on the subject of Steak?

Don’t eat too much, it’s a special occasion indulgence.