Tuesday, 28 February 2017
REVIEW: Miller and Carter steak restaurant, Rickmansworth
I cook and eat a lot of vegetarian food, and often think to myself 'Sure, I could go vegetarian,' and I truly believe I could. If I had to, I could. But I don't have to. And also there's steak. Consider steak.
I didn't get into eating steak until quite late in life, and when I started to order it more and more often, I was shocked to realise I liked it rare. My dad loves to tell the story of being told off by a chef for ordering his steak well done, and... well, I'm siding with the chef. I totally get why people aren't into rare steak, but I revel in it. Bring it to me pink, and juicy and barely cooked, and I'll be happy. Still mooing? Cool.
This is a post for carnivores, my friends.
So, when Miller & Carter got in touch and asked if I'd like to review their new steak restaurant in Rickmansworth, I was very much in. It's in a beautiful location - an old water mill - with lovely views and a striking interior to match. The manager kindly showed us round, which was a rare treat for a restaurant review. It's actually quite a warren, full of passageways and extra rooms, designed to fit your needs, whether it's a dark cosy corner you're after, or somewhere light and airy. I loved the conservatory at the back, and made a mental note to come back in sunnier weather and eat outside.
Although the starters looked amazing (I was eyeing the brisket croquettes), we decided to dive straight into mains and ordered a couple of sides, too. I went for an 8oz fillet steak with a side of fries, onion loaf, wedge salad with garlic mayo and parmesan dressing (to die for) and a pot of porcini mushroom and truffle oil sauce. YUM. They are generous with their included sides here - and you know how much I resent paying extra for chips, especially when your main isn't cheap. Good show, chaps. And as a side dish, I couldn't not get the stuffed marrow bone. Just look at it.
That bone is filled with beef brisket mixed with beef dripping sauce, topped with crispy onoins and aged cheddar cheese sauce. It was amazing - so rich and deeply flavoured. Oddly, for a cheese lover like myself, I wish they'd left off the sauce. It was so rich that it rather put me in mind of nacho cheese sauce, and the brisket was incredible without it. Put this on the side in future, M&C!
Matt went similarly decadent for his side, with a half grilled lobster served with garlic butter. Obvs I didn't eat any, but he was actually a little disappointed. It was just okay. I think he had food envy, to be honest, and who can blame him? This is actually one of my Dining Theories (TM) - you should always aim to go for the dish the restaurant specialise in. At an Italian, go for pizza or pasta. At an Indian, go for curry. And at a steak restaurant, go for the meat. Straight for the meat.
Back onto the mains! My fillet was really good. 8oz doesn't always look like that much, but it was so, so, so filling and I would have been happy with half the size! It was a beautiful cut of meat, well seasoned and beautifully cooked. I often find restaurants don't know how to cook a fillet rare, but this was a lovely deep pink. And as I mentioned earlier, they were generous with their sides. The salads came before our mains, so we treated them as a little starter, and the onion loaf that comes with all mains was really good - basically a hunk of deep fried oniony goodness. Delicious.
Matt had the bistro rump fillet, which is 'cut from the centre of a rump to combine the tenderness of a fillet with the full flavour of a rump', along with Bernaise sauce and he topped his wedge salad with cocktail sauce and classic croutons, because he loves little more than he loves thousand island dressing. Again, his steak was really good - neither of us had tried a rump fillet before, so were intrigued. It tasted closer to rump than fillet, but was a great cut of meat and a generous portion.
I'm not quite sure how we fit in dessert, but we managed it, because we're heroes. Matt had the banoffee bakewell tart, and said it was 'SOOO GOOD' in this kind of creepy wheezy voice he does when he's remembering an excellent meal. It certainly looked good (in addition to seafood, I also won't touch bananas), topped with caramelised bananas and vanilla bean ice cream.
Matt will always choose a banana-based dessert, just as I will always choose a peanut butter-based dessert, even when I'm so full I feel like I'm going to die. But the chocolate and peanut butter fondant would be an excellent way to go. It was so dense and chocolatey, that the peanut butter flavour was actually fairly subtle, but at the same time wasn't lost. Every now and then you'd get a hit of it. God, it was good.
We're both quite desperate to head back for a longer, more lingering meal - them's big portions for lunch! It's a really lovely restaurant and the service was impeccable. We had a super helpful waiter who was happy to recommend dishes and was very friendly. If you're in the area, I definitely recommend a visit - the prices are reasonable (I can't get them online for some reason, but I believe some of the steaks were under £20, which I don't think is bad when you consider fries, salad, sauce and onion loaf is included) and they also do a lunchtime special menu which is really good value. I'll definitely be back. ALL THE MEAT PLZ.
Miller and Carter Rickmansworth is at Park Road, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, WD3 1AT. The restaurant kindly paid for our food in exchange for this honest review.
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