I’m not a gambling man since I think I’ve too many other vices, one of them an addiction to good food. The Hippodrome is the UK’s largest entertainment and casino venue, with six floors of gaming, but I’m here to eat at the Heliot Steak House. I arrive with high expectations as I recently visited the nearby Empire Casino and was impressed by their Chinese restaurant.
At the Hippodrome, they tell me they serve USDA prime steaks because they think they’re simply the best in the world. Aged to develop tenderness and flavour, they come with a selection of toppings and sauces. Executive Chef Ioannis Grammenos revises the menu every three months and adds some wonderful specials every week. But we’re here for nothing more than their red meat.
The 100 seater restaurant sits on a terrace with tables overlooking the Grand Casino Floor. As you’d expect, it’s not quiet here and the flashing lights below can be quite distracting. However, you do feel that you’re at the heart of the action and there are plenty of other diners.
We start with, what else, their 28 day aged Beef Fillet Carpaccio with pickled shallots, pink peppercorn, micro salad and extra virgin olive oil. It’s refreshingly pink and tender and the pickles are a zingy complement. Goat Cheese Lollipops come as crumbed deep fried baubles and they sit on a bed of lemon curd. Served warm, the delicate flavour of the cheese is slightly overwhelmed by the curd. Perhaps something slight more sour would be better.
So to the steak – prices start at a very reasonable £25 but rise to £149 for Japanese Wagyu Sirloin. We decide to take the middle ground and go for the tasting board, three different types to share for the princely sum of £90. It arrives on a long wooden plank stacked with Argentinian Rib Eye. Hereford Fillet and Australian Sirloin. I like my meat rare but my companion is more of a medium person so we’ve ordered accordingly.
Three sauces, Chimichurri, Red Wine and Béarnaise are served on the side and the steak comes pre-sliced. The Rib Eye is glorious bloody yet exceedingly tender. Fillet is medium, perfectly cooked, while I’m glad to see the Sirloin is medium rare. It’s interesting to compare the three and, for my taste, I like the Argentinian but the Australian has the edge. I think it’s the fat around the sides which tip the balance, but we both agree that all are very good indeed.
The sides we’ve ordered are almost redundant so it’s fortunate that portions are small. Skinny fries and rosemary, creamed spinach and sugar snaps are all acceptable but completely outshone by the quality of the meat. The steaks are the star here, lest we forget.
So to dessert, and we’re really going through the motions, having been thoroughly stuffed by everything else. Red Velvet Cake with mascarpone and winter berries comes as a huge technicolour slab but is light and moist. Triple Chocolate Mousse arrives as a couple of scoops with raspberry and pistachio ice cream. The desserts deliver the requisite sweetness to send us out into the night feeling we’ve eaten well.
The Heliot Steak House is right in the heart of the West End, yet completely hidden so you’d never know it was there. If you’ve never been inside a casino, then the quality of the steak here is one very good reason for a first time visit. It’s definitely worth a gamble.
Heliot Steak House Cranbourn Street, Leicester Square, London WC2H 7JH
0207 769 8888