Steaks have often been capturing the headlines for their endlessly expensive cuts and lengthy ageing process. You might think steak ordering is the exclusive preserve of city bankers. However, the opening of Arlo’s in Balham shows that dining out on steaks can be an affordable experience.
Their slogan might be “serious about steak” but the decor is definitely more lighthearted than other steak restaurants. They have a clean, white-painted exterior with smart planters that just draws you in to look at their menu and what Arlo’s is all about.
The clean designs extend to their interiors: there are more spotless white walls inside, the furniture is comfortable and functional. There are lighthearted touches with neon signs and warm tin light shades.
Arlo’s has been created by former L’Atelier des Chefs managing director Tom McNeile, who wanted to make steak dining a more accessible experience. The simple menu doesn’t have many items but they have been carefully selected to bring value to the diners. They source their beef from grass-fed cows from British native breeds. You do see more unusual cuts of beef here like bavette, 7 bone and dry aged deckle.
They don’t have a starter section as such but snacks for you to graze on whilst you wait for your steak. The padron peppers were crunchy and tasty although no particularly filling. They clearly didn’t want to spoil your appetite before the main attraction.
The dry aged deckle is often referred to as “butcher’s butter”. That melt in your mouth tenderness comes from the rib eye cap and runs the full length of the prime rib eye roll. It was cooked to a beautiful pink colour when asked for medium rare. It was very juicy tasting without too much fattiness attached to the meat. What did disappoint was the chimichurri sauce; it had the right amount of herbs and spices, but very little oil, so it came across as very dry. The chargrilled tenderstem broccoli was firm and had a lovely gently charred taste to the stems.
Desserts is also a simple selection with 4 choices; I opted for the palate-cleansing lemon posset. The dessert had a strong texture and appetising citrusy notes, which was the ideal way to end a steak dinner.
The success of Arlo’s really demonstrates that steak-dining doesn’t have to be expensive and high-end experience, but something accessible for all.