Is there anything in life better than a well-cooked steak? For me it is the pinnacle of foodie achievement and I make it my business to check out the choice cuts on each and every menu I find myself in possession of.
The atmosphere here is buzzy and unpretentious with the sort of décor I like to think of as stylish-rustic: plenty of wood paneling, neutral coffee-palette tones and simple modern lighting. Service is informal; you won’t find hushed tones and nose-in-the-air waiters here, instead you’ll get attentive, friendly staff and help with the book-length wine list.
Having visited the du Vins numerous times I knew I wanted steak and built my dinner around this, asking sommelier Romain for something to match the fillet. He suggested the Domaine de Fondrèche Fayard 2009, a meaty blend of Grenache, syrah, Mourvèdre and Carignan, which went tooth-smackingly well with the beef and is something I would almost certainly not have chosen myself (I’m a new world aficionado, it has to be said).
I started with the artisan cheese and charcuterie plate which was almost impossible to resist after a quick nose around the Cave au Fromage: a climate-controlled cheese room stacked with more varieties of artisan cheese than your average delicatessen. Served on a wooden board this was the perfect, light choice for pre-steak sustenance, leaving me ready for the hunk of beef to follow.
As ever, the steak was cooked to perfection and as juicy and melt-in-the-mouth as rare fillet should be. The chips were just the right side of salty and the sides I ordered rendered unnecessary by the sheer size of the portions.
I had just enough room to finish with more cheese, allowing me the chance to try even more varieties from the fabulous cave.