Rowley’s is somewhat of a St. James’s institution; it’s been serving its signature steak swimming in Roquefort butter sauce and unlimited fries for over thirty six years.
The dining room had a touch of the old school about it in a glamorous kind of way. It was packed and the atmosphere was noisy and echoey yet not intrusively so. The menu was fairly short and concise and featured a lot of the old classics that my parents are so fond of.
To start, the chicken liver pâté (£8.50) was simple (and simply presented) yet perfectly made. A mouthful of the smooth pâté and congealed butter atop a slice of crust-less white toast was a most pleasant one. The same for the prawn cocktail (£10.50); there’s nothing wrong with simplicity if you get it bang on and that was certainly the case here.
For main we opted for the chargrilled 28 day matured entrecôte steak (small at £24.50) but we asked for the Roquefort butter on the side. The steak was served on a heated skillet left on the table which was a nice touch as it kept the meat warm and added a touch of theatre to proceedings.
We also went for a rather huge T-Bone steak (£38.50) which really was exquisite. Both steaks had enormous flavour which was bettered by the gloriously darkened crust on the outside of the meat – it was seriously impressive beef (from the Lake District). The fries were cracking too and as they were unlimited you kept getting them fresh from the frier which was great.
Desserts were perhaps the weaker part of the meal; the steamed treacle sponge pudding with custard (£8.50) was good but the tarte tatin (£9) appeared to have fallen apart a little somewhere along the line.
There’s something about Rowley’s that we found utterly charming. Perhaps it was our incredibly sweet waitress who described the dishes with such passion and enthusiasm. On a wet and windy Thursday, sitting in there with a bottle of Berry Bros & Rudd Ltd ‘Good Ordinary Claret’ and a nice bit of steak was most delightful.
I dined as a guest of the restaurant