Sophie’s Steakhouse opened on Fulham Road in January 2002 (with a second branch debuting in Covent Garden in 2008), and has since carved out a reputation for being a friendly, good value, high quality steakhouse. I’ve even seen a couple of reviews proclaiming its steaks the best in town, ahead of the traditional heavyweights Hawksmoor and Goodman. We visited on a Saturday late-afternoon, and the restaurant was rather well patronised, with a fair number of Chelsea football fans filling up before the early evening kick-off at Stamford Bridge. Sophie’s doesn’t take bookings, and apparently the wait can get quite lengthy in the evenings, but we were able to walk straight in.
We opted for the Express Menu, which is available from noon-7pm and after 10pm, and at £12.95 for two courses and £15.95 for three, sounded like exceptionally good value, it must be said. I started with a Smoked Mackerel Pâté, sourdough toast that was reasonable, if nothing at all out of the ordinary.
My main, Ribeye with béarnaise & hand cut chips looked great and had a good chargrilled taste to it, but was cooked a bit too rare (requested medium rare), and was ridiculously veiny. It was so veiny and chewy, in fact, that eating it was quite an uncomfortable chore, and far from enjoying every bite, I was just glad when it was finally over. I realise that at these prices, the steaks are probably not going to be of the highest quality, but they really ought to be a bit better than this. Otherwise why serve them at all – as much as I love steaks, there are a lot of other things I would rather eat for £12.95 than a piece of steak this bad. I say either improve the quality, or if that is not possible given the low prices, then up the price because serving a steak this poor in quality is utterly pointless, no matter what the price. The accompanying skin-on chips were pretty good, as was the béarnaise sauce.
In a nutshell...
I hesitate to say Sophie’s is good value because good value implies getting something for less than, or at most, the same as, what it is worth. And whilst £12.95 for two and £15.95 for three courses, including a Ribeye steak, might sound like very good value, it’s not, because the quality of the steak was so poor, and the task of eating it so arduous and unpleasurable, that I did not feel happy paying even that much for my meal. A pity really, because the chargrilled flavour of the meat was spot on. Perhaps its a la carte steaks are indeed a match for the likes of Hawksmoor and Goodman, but after this experience, Sophie’s no longer gets the benefit of the doubt.
Sophie’s Steakhouse (Chelsea)
311-313 Fulham Road, Chelsea, London, SW10 9QH
Average Price: £15-£30