Unleash your inner animal with this unapologetically carnivorous restaurant
Beast Restaurant serves up meat and fish dishes to London's meat-loving diners
With the rise of veganism making its mark across the restaurant industry, some might say the glory days of filet mignon and Wagyu beef are long behind us in favour of a seemingly endless array of meat-free alternatives designed to quell our more carnivorous cravings.
A very different story is being told at Beast, a restaurant nestled between Oxford Circus and Marylebone, where diners are encouraged to return to, and honour, the most primitive human urges of discovering the very finest flesh that the land and sea have to offer. This is of course made substantially easier when said flesh is presented in the form of a luxury ‘surf and turf’ menu, and served hot from the kitchen of Executive Chef Phil Campbell, who joined Beast in 2017 after a decade-long stint with Goodman Mayfair
The offering at Beast is simple, and expertly executed: steak and seafood of the highest available quality, served in a vast, underground dining room fit for the kings and queens of centuries past. Upon entering the low-lit, cavernous space filled with long, communal, oak dining tables, suspended chandeliers and walled armoury, one has the unshakeable sensation of having found themselves in the midst of a Nordic medieval feasting hall.
Upon entering Beast from its somewhat hidden, enigmatic entrance, the mood of primal indulgence was instant. Staggering displays of what we were moments away from consuming towered before us in the form of vast tanks housing colossal Norwegian King Crabs, live shipped from the fisher boats off the Norwegian coast of Bugøynes to ensure the highest quality and flavour, and neighbouring glass cabinets displaying vast hunks of dry-aging steak suspended on butcher hooks. >>
I have seldom experienced a more immersive initiation to a restaurant’s menu. Upon settling in to our cosy corner, we were brought a selection of raw steak cuts to observe as our waiter described the qualities of each one, advising our final choice based upon our particular preferences. We opted for the USDA Nebraska Chateaubriand - medium for my dining partner, and slightly less pink for me (following a negotiation with the waiter: I wanted well-done, and we compromised on ‘medium plus a little more’). But first: succulent King Crab legs, cracked before our eyes tableside and served with a moreish creamy, citrusy dipping sauce; Tuna tataki served with ponzu, sesame and chilli; and Shrimp tempura atop a delicious guacamole and Gochujang chilli mayo finish.
Already in full swing of our feast, revelling in the clamour and buzz of the room which was packed to the gills with an international cohort of diners, the pièce de résistance made its way to our table: an outrageously tender cut of steak, the quality of which was evident in every bite.
In our kitchen tour and conversation with Chef Campbell that followed, we learned why. Each cut is hand selected, and tested for its structure, size and marbling. The prime cuts are then dry-aged for between 30 and 150 days on-site in a temperature controlled, dehumidified environment, then cooked in a specially imported charcoal Josper oven kept at 375-400°C to guarantee a smoky, evenly cooked steak with signature charring and depth of flavour.
From its architecture to its furnishings, its concept to its menu, Beast is extravagant, with an impressive air of the regal yet combined with an unflinching sense of the corporeal, reminding us, with each bite, of our very deepest instincts.