Minimal. My first impression when arriving at Beer and Brew, the new no-frills steak house in Kentish Town from classically trained Michelin chef Jessica Simmons and ex-financial director Dan Nathan. Kentish Town is very unfamiliar territory for me but the restaurant was easy to find just opposite the tube station. Nestled between a pharmacy and a Western Union, its refreshingly clean, white tiled frontage set the tone for the butchery-themed interior.
Greeted and seated by Dan, his passion was clear to see as he talked us through the menu with everything locally sourced where possible. Even the Highwayman gin in my G&T came from down the road and it slipped down a treat. Does that make me more of a Kentish Towner? OK, fine.
Any teething problems normally associated with new restaurants were impossible to detect; staff were smiley, wait times were minimal and, more importantly, food hit the spot. Controversially, out of the hanger steak (£10) and the flat-iron (£12.50) I preferred the cheaper cut. To me it was more flavoursome and – forgive me for using this hideously overused word – tender. Perhaps more valuable than any combination of adjectives I can artfully compile was the girl on the next table scraping her pot of truffle béarnaise completely clean with her steak knife. I think if I wasn’t quite so full from chunky polenta fries and creamy gnocchi ‘n’ cheese I probably would have done the same.
Plenty of things set Beer & Brew apart from London’s other steakhouses. Refreshingly affordable, this place is somewhere you’d simply want to spend an evening with friends. The minimal interior lets the food do the talking and much to the joy of viral online petitions to ‘bring back the plate’ (Google it), our steaks came on big white plates with lots of space to fill with sides.
Pairing suggestion menus (and staff) intelligently suggest beers to compliment the food – I’m still undecided on which is the star of the show but I reckon, as the name suggests, they both are. For someone who isn’t much of a beer fan I was surprised to enjoy the Breakfast Stout quite so much. Chocolatey and coffee-y it washed down our chocolate brownie perfectly.
A thoughtful menu with good food at it’s core. With every table full just two days after opening I’m pretty certain that’s how it will remain – sorry Dan but I think a few more late nights are in store.