Megan’s in St John’s Wood
Situated in the leafy and affluent St John’s Wood, Megan’s is one of those elegant local restaurants that’s inevitably full of the young and the beautiful, sipping glasses of prosecco – as we do ourselves on arrival. With its sister branch on the uber-desirable King’s Road a roaring success, expectations are certainly high for this atmospheric new expansion of the Megan’s brand.
We start with the most interesting dish on the menu. Grilled Goat’s Cheese with Figs, Honey and Pistachio reads like a dream and tastes like it too. The sweet flavour of the honey and dried fruit is a classic contrast to the saltier, more pungent taste of the cheese, and the rich, nutty sprinklings of pistachio harmonise well with both. We are sceptical about the value of charring either side but the gentle smokiness from the grill really does add an extra dimension to the dish. Chili Meatballs with Tzatziki packs a definite punch, dense and meaty with a real slug of heat. The tzatziki is a little light on the garlic but cools the spicy meat perfectly.
A well-done Rib-Eye Steak draws some worry from the waitress, who really does recommend that we have it medium. The mark of an excellent kitchen, however, is being able to cook a steak to the customer’s preference. At an exemplary offering, such as Hawksmoor, you can get one done to perfection however you want it. The trick is to give the meat a quick sear on either side, then position it and keep the temperature low, ensuring a well-cooked steak that’s still juicy. In this case, it’s clear that the steak has been cooked according to the standard method, the result of which is not especially pretty. It looks much worse than it will turn out to be, but there’s no denying that the outside is burnt, tasting less of the grill than of the charcoal – a shame, because this is clearly an excellent steak, well-sourced from a grass-fed cow. Cut away the crust though and there’s still some beautifully succulent meat inside, so the entire thing isn’t a bust. And it’s not as if we can say that they didn’t warn us.
Megan’s Burger, curiously, has the same issue to a lesser degree. It’s oddly smokey for a burger that’s still rare on the inside, and threatens to overpower many of the other ingredients. Thankfully, the soft, springy bun is able to temper that strong flavour, leaving us with a burger that’s actually quite delicious, laden with cheese and bacon. Both dishes are accompanied by skinny fries, which are seriously crispy. If they were English chips we would be bemoaning the relative lack of fluffy potato inside, but, as fries, these definitely work. Think of that one seriously golden chip that seems to come with every order and is purely defined by its luscious crunch: that’s how they all are.
Dessert is a round of Cinnamon Churros with a Chili Chocolate Sauce. The sauce is unsweetened and so distinctly savoury that it’s almost tangy – a welcome contrast to the sugary pastries we dip into it. The flavours have been the darlings of Mexican cuisine for millennia, so it’s no surprise to see them work well together here.
This just about sums up Megan’s. It’s not especially bold or ground-breaking, but the food revels in its simplicity, offering up a modern grill experience with a great atmosphere.★★★★★Food ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Drinks ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Service ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮
Photos: Aleksandra Rozanska
To book a table at Megan’s, 120 St John’s Wood High Street London NW8 7SG, call 020 7183 3138 or visit here.