The Hippodrome Leicester Square is an iconic venue in an iconic landmark building.
Myself and my 18 year old daughter are here for the Heliot Steakhouse embedded somewhere within. Decades ago, my young self came to dance in what was then the Hippodrome nightclub.
I shudder as I recall I wore a denim jacket and cycling shorts. Daughter cringes at this news, not unreasonably, it’s enough to put anyone off their dinner. Tonight, however, I have a stout pair of trousers in place for what is touted by some to be the best steak in town.
We make out way through the ground floor casino, busy with masked punters acrylic screened from their neighbours, concentrating to win big.
We are warmly greeted by Mike Haydon, the food and beverage director, along with executive chef Ioannis Grammenos, known as a’meatologist’ and responsible for earning Heliot’s gastronomic reputation (they currently hold three of London’s’best steak house’ trophies).
We move upstairs to the new 5th floor roof terrace bar for a pre-dinner cocktail. Tasteful greenery adorns the walls and neon lighting gives a modern feel to the space while plentiful heat lamps keep us warm.
There is a large smoking area which I imagine is where you come to celebrate your big casino win with a fat cigar.Sophia is our mixologist and my daughter goes for the Lychee Tang, a properly elegant cocktail.
I find the menu slightly on the sweet side, so I ask if Sophia can make me a Negroni Ã¢â‚¬â€œ of course she can and in minutes. We sip and chat and look out over the rooftops as the sun sets, all very civilized.
Hunger lures us back down to the restaurant which inhabits the mood-lit tiered circles of the grand theatre building and we sit in sumptuous leather swivel chairs across our table for two.
Our first courses are fantastic. Whilst I go for fish before meat with the grilled octopus with sesame, shallots and crushed potatoes, daughter goes meat before meat with the USDA Meatballs with tomato sweet pepper and feta.Mine is absolutely delicious.
Octopus is a test for any chef and Ioannis has prepared this perfectly, it’s almost melt in the mouth and the potatoes are waxy and yielding. Daughter’s meatballs arrive laid along the marrow cavity of a sectioned bone and look amazing.
Naturally, I nick one to nibble on and it is equally as good as my starter, really rich flavours and wonderful texture. It’s a shame daughter won’t countenance octopus or I’d suggest we split 50/50. The’USDA’ denotes the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which endorse all the meat served here. I don’t know if it is all flown in, I’ve heard of pigs flying but cows?
The menu caters amply for those not wishing to eat steak, but they aren’t us, so we talk of sirloin and fillet and marbling. Daughter goes for the classic Sirloin while I look forward to the dry-aged Rib on the bone that promises to be extra tasty and tender.
It turns out my daughter’s steak is more plumptious than mine which makes me envious but my Rib is packed with flavour.
Decent sized jugs of sauce accompany along with nice crispy French fries and a bit of veg to feel good;’English dirty peas and carrots’ Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Not sure what makes them dirty but they don’t taste like they’ve been on the floor.
We swap steak morsels and each is as good as the other, great quality. We fall silent as we chomp through 500grams of heaven almost in silence.
Dessert is entirely unnecessary but of course has to be done. Mine is the cookie cheesecake with vanilla ice cream, white chocolate and caramel sauce, which is more cakey than a normal cheesecake but sweet, tasty and not too huge.
Daughter gets the Almond Millefeuille with seasonal fruits and mascarpone cream which looks amazing and again is light delicate and delicious.
All in all, if you are after a prime steak then the Heliot steak house is a great option. I don’t know if it’s the best in London as I haven’t had all the rest but it must be up there.
Feeling replete, we go back down into the unique setting of the Casino.
I nip off for a comfort break before we exit to discover this is where the views reside (presumably just for the men) as large windows allow you to take in the vibrant pedestrian areas surrounding the building while you stand to pee.
I could do with an elasticated waistband after all that, perhaps I should have worn those cycling shorts?