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The Great British Steak Off

By Anne Van Hoose

Writer Anne Van Hoose compares three steaks across Glasgow in a quest to find the best steak.

It was a fateful night in the city of Washington D.C, in 2010. My mother, sister, and I wandered through the dark streets, searching for a bite to eat. There, across from a bank, we found heaven – a fancy little steakhouse where I ate the most glorious steak chilli. My life was changed, and ever since I’ve been searching for the glory I experienced on that night many years ago. In my journey, I’ve eaten at the number one steakhouse on TripAdvisor for 2023, one of the most talked about steakhouses in the West End, and I’ve had a steak at Wetherspoons. Here is the takeaway:

The Crystal Palace Wetherspoons: 2/10

Who knew Spoons had gourmet steak? I did! I ordered it! It comes with chips or a jacket potato, peas, a tomato, a mushroom, three onion rings, and peppercorn sauce – all for £9.15! I ordered it without peas, which they were happy to do, but oddly enough, I did get some weird looks from the staff when I ordered the steak. I shared the steak with a friend, just in case of food poisoning. This way, someone could go on that journey with me, after all, misery loves company! However, it is a portion for one so you can embark on a solo expedition if you’re brave enough. Essentially, at Spoons you get what you pay for: a tough steak with no seasoning and sides that can cover up the taste of the slightly gross meat. So why does it get two stars instead of one? Great question! Because, at the end of the night, I went home with a relatively settled stomach and no food poisoning. Huzzah!

The Meat Joint: 6/10

Number one on TripAdvisor for all steakhouses in Glasgow for 2023, I had high hopes for the Meat Joint. However, on the walk there I started to question their five star rating. Meat Joint opened in 2022 on Sauchiehall Street, unexpectedly sandwiched between a kebab shop and Firewater – very atmospheric. The neon theme of Sauchiehall Street continues inside, as all customers are greeted by a bright neon sign that says “Of all the Meat Joints in all the towns in all the world, you walk into mine,” a quote from Casablanca which has been plastered on the wall. I sat at a table facing the sign and it was so bright it was hard to look across the table. Unfortunately for my boyfriend who joined me for dinner, he was facing a different eclectic piece of decor: a taxidermied fox with a taxidermied squirrel in its mouth that actively made me nauseous. The food, thankfully, had the opposite effect. We ordered the Sirloin (500gm) which is served with a salad, tomato & mushroom, chips, and peppercorn sauce. We also ordered a side of Mac and Cheese and bread. According to the bill, we only paid £34.45, but this is where it gets complicated. You have to pay £20 to hold a reservation, which you need to make in advance as the restaurant is very small. The £20 is taken off your bill instead of refunding your card, so you feel like you’ve paid very little for your meal. So we paid £54.45 for both our food and our added service charge. The food was middling for the price, the steak was probably the least tasty part of the meal. The highlights: the butter and the Mac and Cheese. The Mac and Cheese tasted exactly like a Southern American Mac and Cheese, which I have been searching for since I moved from Atlanta, Georgia to Glasgow. The butter was seasoned and went well with everything -it was the most flavourful butter I’ve had. This sounds odd and minute, but it really can add to a meal. The steak was well seasoned but chewy, even though it was only cooked to medium rare. The customer service was lovely, and we were given free Prosecco for our anniversary. The meal was definitely above average, but I could’ve made the steak at home (as I did, for only £12!)

The Butchershop: 10/10

The Butchershop is an affordable fancy meal if you’re willing to share with some friends. It was recommended to me by a coworker but I’ve heard a lot of talk around it. We ordered the D-Rump (also known as a Top-Sirloin steak weighing in at 250gm) with peppercorn sauce, chimichurri, hand-cut chips, and bread. The total bill was £33, and we split this meal between three very happily and were all fully satisfied. All of the house cuts are more than enough to share and range from £24 to £37. But, if you’re not up for sharing, I totally understand! The steak is perfectly cooked – I recommend medium rare – the outside has a nice char that adds texture and crunch to the steak. It is seasoned thoughtfully. The seasoning does not overwhelm or distract from the meat; it compliments it and adds to the flavour on the whole, and is compatible with any of the side sauces you could order. The inside is perfectly tender and melts in your mouth, which I hadn’t really thought to be possible with steak. My family always cooks steak well done, and until Butchershop, chewy steak is all I knew! And the bread! The bread was fluffy and cloudy and crispy and possibly the most wonderful thing to have ever entered my stomach. The customer service is wonderful and very adaptable. I observed staff interacting with businessmen, well-to-do patrons, and me and my rowdy group of friends. They were able to switch from serious to cordial to humorous in the journey from table to table, giving each customer a perfect experience.  It was my birthday and they even threw in a free dessert! You can find the Butchershop in the heart of Finnieston, just across from the end of Kelvin Way next to Kelvingrove Art Gallery. Its peaceful, beautiful surroundings match this serene, classy hideaway in the West End, a nice break from the hustle and bustle of student life. And it is the best steak I’ve ever had.

All were great to some extent, but you don’t always get what you pay for; the Butchershop per person was only two pounds more than Spoons because I split food with my friends. And it was the best meal I had had since that steak chilli. The Meat Joint, at the end of the day, was a tasty meal, but was nowhere near worth the price for me. I would’ve been much more satisfied if I had ordered just bread and Mac and Cheese and been on my way having spent less than a tenner. If you have a strong stomach, you can have your steak at Spoons, but you would be better off making it yourself, or having a mind-altering steak in a fancy little steakhouse. The next time you’re out for a steak, go over to the Butchershop, and experience an incredible piece of meat.


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