Restaurant Review: Heliot Steak House

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Courtney Maggs-Jones tries steak that raises the stakes at Heliot Steak House

You’d be forgiven for avoiding Leicester Square when in search of fine dining. The tourist trap is synonymous with, well, the T word, as well as chains and sub standard eateries (save a couple of gems).

And yet, as you emerge from the exits on Charing Cross road, you’re hit by the lights and twinkle of one of London’s most iconic casinos, without even realising that this building itself houses a restaurant gathering acclaim of its own accord.

The Hippodrome Casino, with its rich and colourful history, was renovated and restored to a true glory and reopened in 2012 by the Thomas family. One of the major reasons to visit is The Heliot Steakhouse – which has already been voted Best Steakhouse in London through a number of awards.

Heliot is so named after Madame Claire Heliot, a flirtatious and alluring performer in the early 1900’s – famed for feeding raw meat to her fourteen lions on stage. Now, you’re not here to be fed raw meat like a lion, but you are here for a great meal in such famously fun surroundings.

You feel the excited energy of the whole venue – right from the moment you walk in, to when the velvet rope of the steakhouse is unchained to let you in. All rather ‘Vegas’. But when you’re seated, expect to feel instantly removed from the hustle and bustle of the Roulette and Blackjack tables below. Almost like a box at the theatre, or indeed a private dining room (of which they have two).

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The menu is broad enough for choice and yet simple enough to not get confused. We began with the Grilled Octopus, USDA Meatballs and Prawn Cocktail for starters and the presentation was spectacular. The USDA Meatballs were served crested on the bone, with the marrow sauce within and atop the meatballs, with a real depth in flavour. The Grilled Octopus was surprisingly delicate in its presentation, whereas you might expect a plonky bowl of octopus and a sauce alongside.  Alas, the prawn cocktail was still a simple prawn cocktail.

Onto the mains – we ordered the 7oz NY Strip, the 10.5 oz Sirloin and the 18 oz Rib Eye. All were perfectly cooked to our liking, rare for the smaller NY strip and medium rare for the other two. It was great to see toppings separated from sides (and for that matter butters & sauces). These included roasted bone marrow and fried duck egg, whilst chimichurri, blue cheese butter and porcini sauces were all excellent.

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The soggy sweet potato fries disappointed slightly, but these were made up for with the triple cooked chips, peas & shallots and sautéed mushrooms. But, the millionaire’s mac & cheese (did we mention we were in a casino?), which consisted of their regular mac & cheese with added lavish black truffle and a poached duck egg (rather, fried, but we weren’t complaining) was a serious show stopper.

Service here is excellent – the staff are pleasant and attentive. They’re not pushy or in a rush to clear tables. They understand that Heliot is an experience to savour, and want to keep it that way. It was also interesting to see a real middle-eastern theme on the menu with cold and hot mezze, as well as an Arabic mains selection of meshwi, shish and koftah, presumably influenced by Executive Chef Ioannis Grammenos, with plenty of seafood options too.

But dare I say it, you must come here for the steak. They are tremendous, served exactly how they should be. This is a special and fun experience reserved for special dining and so a special steak really is the only option.

TIP: I’d highly recommend booking here pre or post-theatre (and whilst the special pre and post-theatre menus look lovely, you need to book for the full Heliot Steakhouse Menu to truly experience it).

Make it happen
Where: 14, Cranbourn St, London WC2H 7JH
Bookings: Phone 020 7769 8844 or click here to make a booking. 

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