As my Aunty Margaret used to say, some people are all talk and no trousers. If I remember correctly, she was in the midst of explaining her thesis on the great transvestite orators from the early 19th to mid 20th centuries, but in abstraction, the phrase conjures up notions of bollocks-less threats, failed promises and dashed hopes.
According to their website, Sophie’s Steakhouse prides itself on “putting the emphasis back on the customer” and on its “food, service and atmosphere.” I like eating, receiving and breathing these things so some friends and I toddled off to the Fulham Road one (there is another in Covent Garden) to judge for ourselves. Was this talk, or was this trousers? In short, trousers. Great big mustard chord plus fours with velvet trim, a sheaf of forgotten fifty-pound notes in one pocket and an unopened packet of aniseed balls in the other.
Sophie’s doesn’t take bookings, so one polls up and hopes for the best. We were lucky enough to get a table immediately, but the bar is excellent should you need a place to wait. Once seated one is presented with a small plate of salami to be getting on with whilst perusing the menu. It’s a nice touch. I often wish I were presented with a small plate of salami at other moments in my life.
It’s a Steakhouse so I had lobster, because I’m a wild horse and you can’t tame me. It came fully shelled with avocado in a club sandwich. It was one of the most AWESOME (yes I used Caps Lock, what of it?) sandwiches I have ever eaten. Even thinking of it now sets me salivating. The fish and chips and steak of various kinds were received favourably by the others. We had to restrain one of our number from drinking the special steak sauce directly from the bottle.
Pudding was perhaps a little less awesome but still did the job. The fudge brownie was served warm and gooey and it in turn made me feel warm and gooey.
The service was excellent. Our waiter and waitress (both with cheek bones you could cut glass with and legs for days—where they find these people I don’t know) were intimate without being invasive and relaxed but proficient.
The atmosphere is energised, with a throng of people about the bar and, when I was there at least, there were some groovy tunes on the sound system. Although why Rhianna doesn’t know her name by the end of the song ‘What’s my name’—having so importuned for its entirety—is a mystery to me.