Saturday, June 01, 2013

McQueen Shoreditch - Planning a 'Great Escape' East?

I remember reading somewhere that McQueen in Shoreditch was a tribute to Alexander McQueen…  Ermm Wrong McQueen.  The true inspiration for this bar, restaurant and club ‘all under one roof’, was the amazing ‘King of Cool’ – Mr Steve McQueen.

So in search of a good girlie gossip and a bit of a dance on a Friday night, the girls and I made our way to the winner of ‘Best Restaurant 2012’ awarded last year by the ‘London Club and Bar Awards’.

Although I’d never visited the restaurant before, I had actually been to their basement club for a dance night called ‘The Hat Club’ in which unsurprisingly everyone wears a hat ( – it attracted a ‘cool’ crowd back then, so I was expecting great things…

The restaurant itself has a separate door around the side, so you don’t have to fight your way through the busy bar to get there.  And when you arrive, a stylish space awaits...  Slick modern décor, dark wood and chesterfield sofas.  Exposed brick walls are lined with pictures of the Hollywood icon so you can have a good old swoon while you’re browsing the wine list.  And with a wide selection of red, white and rose wines, along with an extensive selection of champagnes, we were suitably impressed by the amount of choice, while there’s also a good range of beers, wines, spirits and cocktails on offer.

Just like the movie star, a blend of masculinity and sensitivity which made every man want to be him and every woman want to be with him, the McQueen restaurant has a rugged, classic appeal with a feminine touch.  Leather sofas, but with fur throws; big pictures, but beautiful thick gold frames.  Kind of like an opulent, slightly girly Gentleman’s Club.  We summised that a guy would love to bring you here on a date.  And if the date happened to be going badly, there’s always the flat screen TV on the main wall, so you can immerse yourself in a good McQueen classic.  It’s also a great conversation starter if you’re struggling for conversation…

The main menu boasts some good grill classics with big American style Black Angus steaks and burgers, while there’s lamb, pork, halibut and seabass on offer too.  We tried the Spring Menu which is served between 5-7.30pm Tuesday to Friday and for such opulent surroundings, is a steal at £12.50 for 2 courses and £15.50 for 3.

Although the portions are small, we decided that the Spring Menu is a good choice if a) you’ve shoehorned yourself into a gorgeous tight new dress which doesn’t allow much leeway for a huge 3 course dinner, and b) if you’re dancing in the club downstairs afterwards and don’t want to feel like you’d rather be at home wondering why you ate so much..

And because there were 3 of us, we actually got to try every singledish on this special (if slightly limited) menu.  Our pick of the best, was definitely the Butternut Squash, red lentil and coconut soup for starter - a rich, spicy, slightly curried blend which was delicious with a bit of pepper.  For main, (and again, after sampling all 3 dishes,) we decided that the gnocci with sautéed courgettes and toasted pine nuts in a white wine sauce was the best choice, while desert was a toss up between 3 flavour ice cream (the cinnamon was definitely a winner) while the Mixed Berry Cake with delightfully light vanilla sponge with cream had us all wanting another helping.

We followed this off with a drink in the lounge bar (also suitably McQueen inspired) and a dance downstairs where the club classics had us burning off all those calories we’d just consumed.

So if you’re looking for a ‘Great Escape’ from Central London, McQueens might just hit the spot.


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