Review: It’s Norfolk’s newest steakhouse - but what is it like?
- Credit: Archant
The sister restaurant to a city centre eatery, Steak in the Stix is Norfolk's newest steakhouse. Lauren Cope put it through its paces.
In my books, a good steak is harder to find in a restaurant than to cook at home.
A searing hot pan, plenty of salt and butter (and a decent extractor fan) - it's hard to go too far wrong with a good quality bit of meat in your own kitchen.
But I've left many a steakhouse underwhelmed, and my most memorable experiences have been at national meat-lover Mecca Hawksmoor.
So I went to Steak in the Stix optimistic, and reassured that - as at sister restaurant Prime - I wouldn't need to finish cooking my steak on a hot stone, not my favourite dining concept.
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With variety in mind, we chose one dish off the nibbles menu - warm ciabatta with bacon butter (£5.50) - and one off the starters - meatballs with tomato fondue, beetroot salsa and Parmesan crisps (£7.50).
Warm bread with salty, meaty butter and bits of bacon was, unsurprisingly, a delight, while three meatballs were soft, with a sweet tomato sauce and beetroot salsa, something I'll be trying at home.
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While there are plenty of non-steak mains - beef bourguignon (£17.25), pan fried skate wing (£21) and vegetable assiette (£12) - it seemed silly to go to a steakhouse and avoid its speciality.
So we plumped for the Chateaubriand, a 20oz thick cut from the tenderloin fillet (£56), with thick cut chips and skinny fries (included in the cost of the steak), a side of buttered seasonal greens (£3.50), peppercorn sauce (£2.50) and bone marrow gravy (£2.50).
The steak size was generous, cooked as we requested (medium rare) and served with two herby roast tomatoes. As you'd hope from fillet it was tender, and had a lovely smokiness.
The chips were crispy (despite being a dedicated skinny fry fan I preferred the thick cut), the buttered greens buttery and garlicky, and peppercorn sauce creamy. With the sharpness of the tomatoes, it was a thoroughly well-balanced plate.
The bone marrow gravy was umami-packed, but was quite thin and not as unctuous as I've had elsewhere. Both sauces were also served in shallow dishes, without spoons - not so much of a problem for the peppercorn sauce, but an odd choice for a gravy.
Content (and pretty stuffed), we avoided dessert, but the menu includes sticky toffee pudding (£6.50), toffee apple crumble (£6.80) and a cheeseboard (£10).
Inside is beautiful, with exposed brick, velvet bar stools, a woodburner and a bright teal and navy theme. It's very modern, light and airy and feels new. Based in rural Cawston, it's a destination restaurant, but a really lovely spot for a family meal, first date or special occasion.
The service was friendly, helpful and quick. My main whinge was that despite it being almost entirely empty (we arrived at 6.30pm), we were seated next to the only busy table - a family booking - tucked away in a corner. It seemed a waste in such a lovely space.
Still quite early, it was quiet when we went, but it felt relaxed and upmarket without pretention. Our somewhat cramped table in the corner - complete with hungry children staring at us longingly from the next table - meant we did lose some of that ambience. I can confirm, though, that it is an ideal place for 90s fans - the soundtrack included Samantha Mumba and Shayne Ward (X-Factor winner in 2005. You're welcome).
All your usual - when we went Yardbird, Greene King IPA and Old Speckled Hen were on tap, along with ciders include Old Mout. There's soft drinks, wine and spirits.
It's spacious, and there is disabled access into the building.
With the restaurant having recently undergone a refurbishment, they are as clean and modern as you'd hope for.
Plenty of parking in the car park out the front.
It's not cheap, but good quality steak isn't. You're looking at about £20 to £25 for a 10oz, £56 for a Chateaubriand for two and £70 for porterhouse for two. All come with a choice of chips or mash included in the price, which isn't always a given. Sauces are £2.50 and sides hover around £4, which I thought was fairly decent value. For us, two half pints, one nibble dish, one starter, a Chateaubriand, two sauces and a side came to £81.
The steak was the nicest I've had out in Norfolk. It's also a lovely spot - particularly for the warm summer months. I could definitely imagine a birthday party, family occasion or even a wedding reception being held there.
In a small village and half an hour out of the city centre, it's likely someone will need to be designated driver. The challenge for Steak in the Stix will be establishing itself as a destination eatery, and encouraging people to make the trip. It was difficult to fault our meal, but certain touches - namely the seating choice and bone marrow gravy - took the edge off of the premium steakhouse feel. Would I make the trip again? Probably. Would I recommend you do? Yes.
Value for money
From £7.50 to £12.50 for starters and £12 to £70 for main courses
Steak in the Stix at the Ratcatchers - Cawston, Norwich, NR10 4HA
- Our food reviews are always independent. They are the opinion of the reviewer based on their experience of the venue when they visited. The establishment is not aware of our visit, is not informed we intend to write a review and bills are paid by the reviewer. The choice of places reviewed is also independent and is not based on venues which do or do not advertise in our publications.