I’m a bit late to the party on this one folks – It’s been a while now that I’ve been wanting to check out East London’s very own halal steak joint, HS&Co. The restaurant is the brainchild of steak-lovers and entrepreneurs Hamza Harrack and Sam Mallach (hence the name HS).
Boasting its own Josper grill, I was expecting a damn good steak. A josper, for those that don’t know, is the hottest indoor charcoal grill known to man, a rare commodity even in London. And this method has become synonymous with cooking the perfect steak.
The restaurant occupies a vast space on the high street in Stratford, a stones throw away from Westfield. The interior is decorated in a hipster-chic style with exposed brick walls, barber chairs, retro telephones and brass chandeliers… I’m immediately intrigued as I walk through the doors.
HS&Co is a pure halal restaurant serving only halal meat which is HMC certified. The owners have made an informed choice not to serve alcohol on the premises. It’s lunchtime after friday prayers and the restaurant is fairly quiet, though I expect in a few hours from now, the ambience will be quite different.
The mocktail list is inspired – I order the Disney Star Martini – a tangy passionfruit concoction with vanilla syrup and pressed apple juice served alongside a shot of non-alcoholic champagne. I find the shot to be a little misplaced but the martini goes down a treat!
My husband orders the Blue Basil – it’s served in a more manly drinking vessel and tastes strongly of sweet blueberries and earthy basil – a combination I was surprised worked so well in a drink.
We kicked off the meal with a bowl of nachos and some BBQ chicken wings – these were average at best. The wings would have benefited from extra frying to make the skins crispier and the nachos seemed stale which was quite disappointing.
For mains we both chose steaks: I opted for the tender cut of fillet whilst my husband is partial to a fattier ribeye.
Fortunately the steaks arrive and the meal takes a turn for the better. The juicy cuts of meat resting on wooden boards looked truly inviting. The Irish beef had been dry-aged for three weeks to intensify its flavour.
The steaks are seasoned simply with only salt and pepper and were branded with sexy grill marks from the Josper. The meat was tender and cooked as we requested (medium and medium-rare). The accompanying peppercorn sauce was flavoursome but didn’t overpower the steak. The sides were also excellent – buttery rosemary baby carrots , crispy french fries and house slaw.
The meal made for a heavy lunch so we skipped on the scrummy sounding desserts. A 3-course lunch including drinks and dessert would come to around £40 per person.
My verdict – East London doesn’t have many halal steak houses so HS&Co is definitely worth a visit for the tasty steaks and funky atmosphere.