Last week, I went to road test Rangos, a new addition to tastecard boasting the best way to cook steak, guaranteeing perfection every time. Rangos doesn’t cater for a particular cuisine as such. The concept is all about having your food served to you on a hot stone. When I read this on their website I instantly thought of The Flinstones!
Rangos has been open for little more than two months. Located at the entrance of Mount Pleasant, round the back streets of Grays Inn Road, facing one of the offices of ITV, it’s largely due to passing trade and its unusual offering of meat on stones, which has allowed it to have very impressive dining presence. That and opening just before Christmas which some might think extremely smart and somewhat brave.
Sally, my dining companion for the evening, and I opted for a 7.30pm booking. When we arrived there were already a few diners. Throughout the evening we saw the restaurant fill almost to capacity. It was hard to believe that this was a (VERY) cold evening in post Christmas January.
The restaurant is run by a gentleman by the name of Goran who has dabbled in previous restaurant ventures in West London. Goran was quick to explain the decision behind the naming of the restaurant. The name is derived from his own. In the previously known Yugoslavia, where Goran is from, it is common from childhood to take the first part of a persons name, and switch it with the latter part to make a nickname, end result: Rango! Not only is it with names but also everyday words, kind of like a special language which parents are not to understand. I’m sure we all remember those days!
Rangos isn’t about fancy impressive decorated plates. The whole experience is about eating steak which is served to you on the hot stone. The rest is up to you. No one will overcook your steak because you will be doing the rest of the work.
For this reason I don’t think their starters does the restaurant enough justice. Our choices of breaded prawns and squid steak served on the stone were ok, but we were looking at fellow diners, some of which were on their mains, and knew this wasn’t going to be the winning course of the evening for us. Following starters we were really anticipating our mains. I had opted for the fillet steak and Sally, salmon fillet. Both came served with a salad garnish and chips. I was asked what sauce I wanted with my steak. I opted for a crushed peppercorn brandy sauce.
With the arrival of both the squid on the stone and the steak, our waitress had given instructions on how the stones work. We were told what degree of temperature they were 260°C, not to touch (yes, sometimes people have to be told these things) and how long to leave my meat to cook per side depending on how I like my steak cooked. I got to work. This was really quite a novelty to me. I felt like a child again with one of those play kitchen cookers preparing dinner for imaginary friends. I asked Sally how she liked her steak, carefully cut a piece off and cooked it how she liked it then offered it to her. I wasn’t just eating, I was preparing too! In my element. Sally also had her salmon delivered on a hot stone. Seemed like a nice idea but personally I thought the fish was a bit too delicate for the stones. Still, for the wow factor, it worked.
Since Rangos have opened they said they have been trying lots of different menu options. Chatting to Olga, who looks after front of house and operations, I politely suggested the chips they served with their mains could be more authentic. She explained they have been testing thick cut chips, new potatoes, many options to see what customers prefer. The peppercorn and brandy sauce served with my steak was very good and moreish. There are a lot of sauce options on their menu, but unfortunately there didn’t appear to be a fitting one for salmon. Sally was served her salmon with sweet chilli sauce, ketchup and tartare sauce, none of which really complemented the fish. Parsley would have been perfect. You never know we may find that on the menu next time.
Full on our starters and mains I’m surprised we found space for dessert – but we did! Dessert menu options are limited which isn’t a bad thing because it makes the decision process an easy one. We opted for cheesecake and chocolate brownie with vanilla ice-cream.
Rangos is a winner for their unique process of cooking on hot stones. An experience I hadn’t heard of before visiting Rangos. It’s an entertaining way of dining and one that would certainly be suitable for dates or group meals – men in particular would enjoy the style of dining. We all know how much men love taking control of barbecues. This is kind of a similar experience!
Lastly, the house cocktail at Rangos – Rango’s Flame is a must try when you visit. Rum, Amaretto, Cointreau, Orange Juice and Grenadine Syrup. Close your eyes for a to envisage a beach…