From ‘expect a three-hour wait’ Flat Iron through to a £150 Wagyu beef cut at M Restaurant, London is a city that loves steak. While we all know the rump and sirloin, it turns out we’ve only touched the very tip of the iceberg with this feted dish. Fortunately for all of us, restaurants around the city are expanding their repertoire to include all sorts of cuts. Hanger SW6, for example, bases their menu and name on the meat taken from near the diaphragm. We headed down to Fulham to see how it compares with the rest of London's steak restaurants.
Venue and Atmosphere
Hanger SW6 is located in Fulham, as you may deduce from their name. Normally, West London is a no for me, not for any particular dislike of the area but rather a sheer laziness at having to travel more than 30 minutes on the tube. Hanger SW6, however, has created such a buzz that it’s penetrated even my East London bubble. The restaurant keeps things simple and classic, there’s none of my favourite exposed brick, rather everything is black and white. Old photos of West London are mounted on the walls and there’s a tiny white tiled bar in the corner with black metal frames hanging down.
All those clean lines and minimal colours could be cold but low-hanging lights and comfy booth tables instead create pools of intimacy. The whole place has the feel of a French bistro and on a Wednesday night, the vibe is very much date night, with well-dressed couples eating out. It’s not all polished and preened, however, as downstairs a neon sign points to the secretive cocktail bar, Below the Cut, an underground den of whisky and leather.
Food and Drink
Named after a steak, the food at Hanger SW6 is unsurprisingly very meat-based. There are a few deviations with a small plates menu that could double up as starters. Ranging from fresh seafood through to more unusual cuts such as ox cheeks, the choice is varied and inexpensive. Pigs head croquettes (£6) were chunks of flaky pork meat covered in a light sauce and crunchy batter. Smoked beef tartare (£7) was fairly true to the original with a duck egg yolk and sprinkles of charcoal adding the smokiness. The rainbow trout ceviche (£8) was a favourite as chunks of raw fish were served with avocado and pistachio for a fresh, biting dish.
You can’t go to Hanger SW6 for dinner and not try one of their steaks. We opted for the USDA Hanger (£22 for 300g) and the Only Oak Grain Fed Bavette (£17), and the difference between the two steaks was amazing. Hanger steak, also known as the butcher's cut, has been kept secret for too long; the chunk of meat was a slim tender cut best eaten before the rich bavette to truly appreciate the flavour. Add one of the four sauces to dishes (£1.50), my favourite being the thick bernaise or tingly chimichurri (£1.50 each). Sides include market greens (£4) which were sprinkled with almonds and garlic, as well as poutine (£5.50), which was unfortunately missing the trademark gravy and felt a little slapdash with goats curd unmelted on a bowl of fries.
Save space for pudding which includes a bowl of melted chocolate, in which you can dip battered bananas (£5.50), though you might just want to pour the entire thing into your mouth. If Below the Cut is free, head down to the intimate cocktail joint for whisky-based cocktail, which acts like the perfect nightcap to a night of feasting.
In a city that loves steak it can be tough to stand out. Hanger SW6 doesn't have to worry, however, with its inventive small plates, good quality steak cuts and a chic atmosphere. It's not all about the meat; head downstairs to Below The Cut for whisky, low-lights and a date-perfect little spot.