Until I visited the New Street Grill I hadn’t realised how narrow minded I was on the issue of side dishes, says William Sitwell
Until I visited the New Street Grill I hadn’t realised how narrow minded I was on the issue of side dishes. My realm of thinking in this field stretched not much further – and I’m talking side dishes to accompany a steak here – than the likes of salad, or chips, or even some veg, some greenery, that type of thing.
That was until I pitched up at the D&D Restaurant empire-owned grill on New Street, slap bang in the middle of the City. New Street Grill is part of the Old Bengal Warehouse complex, which includes a wine store, a fish restaurant, a bar and, who knows, possibly a grocery store, book shop and airport.
I was sat in the comfortable but loud and aggressively lit dining room. I rather yearned to be sat in a more inner area of lush circular banquettes, in the dark lighting that speaks of naughty, excessively long lunches.
We ordered oysters – no r in the month but these were huge, juicy, fleshy, awesome monsters – and then called for a rib eye on the bone. We called for chips and a green salad and then came the horizon-broadening side dish moment.
‘And we’ll have the lobster macaroni,’ I said. And before the word please had been offered it was one of those moments when if it were a film the camera would have zoomed in, my surroundings blurring as the lens focussed on me. There would be weird sound effects and music to heighten the experience. Down into the Alice-in-Wonderland rabbit hole I went, deep inside the portal of new experience.
‘Yes that’s right,’ I said to my companion, when normal service was resumed, ‘the lobster macaroni on the side.’
It wasn’t my idea; it was there on the menu. It was the first side dish on a list of others more conventional: triple cooked chips, salad, spinach, cauliflower cheese.
And so along it came. A few types of cheese, mixed in with macaroni and lobster, there to help down the juicy and perfectly cooked rib eye.
We had chips too and salad, just to feel we were doing something more earnest.
And it was good, clever, deeply delicious, outrageous and if you did that every day you’d soon be the size of a country estate, with outbuildings, lake, boathouse and a smattering of alms houses and possibly a small pied-à-terre in town and a weekend retreat in the south of France.
But this was a one-off moment of cheese, lobster, steaky delight. And I recommend it highly as a treat.