CUT, 45 Park Lane, London W1 - Reviews - Food + Drink - The Independent

CUT, 45 Park Lane, London W1

Everything about Wolfgang Puck is way over the top, from his Mozart-meets-Shakespeare name to the size of his Porterhouse steaks. His handsome Austrian features and camp-Schwarzenegger voice are constantly seen and heard on American TV. You can't click on
wolfgangpuck.com/restaurants without finding the great man gesticulating at you in his chef's whites. His diffusion range of Bistros and Expresses can be found in umpteen American shopping malls and airports. His fine-dining empire stretches from Beverly Hills to Washington DC to Singapore – and now London, where the fourth incarnation of CUT, his upmarket steak franchise, has just opened, his first venture in Europe.

It's very faux-elegant Mayfair: the frontage, opposite the Dorchester, is all gleaming gilt, streaming light and fawning doormen. Walk in and inspect the dining area – the swags of parachute-silk curtains, dark mahogany, cream marble flooring, cream and tan leather chairs, ceiling lights that resemble fat wire hedges fretted with fireflies, upper-level slatted louvres and glowing table lamps – and words like "glamour" and "opulence" spring to mind; though frankly, if it were 10 per cent more glamorous and opulent, it could be the dining-room of a soon-to-be-deposed Arab autocrat.

It all yells "Money!" and so does the menu. If the prices of starters make you gulp – tomato salad with anchovies, £12? Foie gras on rye with chutney, £17? – the mains could give you an aneurysm. The cheapest steak here is a petit cut 6oz filet mignon for £29. A substantial 14oz English rib-eye steak is £36, the American version £42 and the 8oz pure breed Wagyu from Chile is a mildly ludicrous £85. Your eye slides down the menu looking for alternatives – the pan-roasted poulet noire, the grilled pork chop (both £24), the lamb chops (£29) and tuna steak (£26) – but you know you've had it. The point of CUT is to eat Wolfgang's steak and pay a fortune, so you embrace your fate.

As the amuse-bouches arrived – tuna tartare, dressed with lime, ginger and soy, clamped inside tiny slices of brown toast, a kobe mini-beefburger served with cheddar, chopped onion, tomato ketchup and Bearnaise sauce; both heaven – so did the waiting staff. They were a small army of charming young things, radiating eagerness. There was a bread guy, a take-your-order chap, a water dispenser, two girls to deliver the chef's snacks, a sommelière called Vanessa, who offered us a gratis mini-tasting of reds. I was impressed by the way everyone knew every constituent of every dish; and the way our waiter Nicholas explained Angie's crab-and-lobster dish as "dressed-up prawn cocktail".

The crab and lobster, soft and creamy with a nice wallop of basil, made a beautiful circlet on a bed of solidified mayonnaise, lifted by a spicy tomato-horseradish sauce.

My scallop carpaccio was the most fabulous scallop dish I'd ever had – six slices of deliquescent silk, a scallop reinvented as a sextet of angels' tongues, drizzled with soy and a wasabi-kosho sauce, accompanied by cucumber, radish and some tiny flowers like Arctic violets.

It was impossible to fault any of it, except for the intrusive music, which blared forth a selection of 1970s and 1980s rock classics – Eagles, Bowie, Billy Joel, Blondie, Police – as if we were listening to Capital Gold FM or (eek) dining in the Hard Rock Café. Then the steaks arrived and all thought of music vanished.

In a burst of what-the-hell insouciance, I'd ordered the 16oz, 35-days-aged, USDA-prime, Kansas-reared, bone-in rib chop, a champion prizefighter among steaks. It was the size of a steamer trunk and the bone stuck out like a ladle. It had been anointed with salt, pepper and oil, grilled over hardwood and charcoal, then flashed under a 1,200F broiler for a few seconds. It was wonderfully charred outside, loose-textured and melting inside, given a final succulence by the armagnac and green peppercorn sauce I chose from a selection of eight. Angie had a "Tasting of New York Sirloin" which means you get three small steaks – from Kansas, Devon and Queensland – to compare. The wagyu from Queensland won, hands-down, not that it mattered. For a pair of carnivores, it was all sheer ambrosia. And the French fries were hand-cut with the skin partially on, perfectly herbed and salted. And the Napa Valley Duckthorn cab-sauv was a complex, savoury accompaniment.

We shared a phenomenal banana cream pie for pudding – the bananas marinated for 35 days in Tia Maria and orange juice, with butterscotch gelato – and left feeling like Mr and Mrs Greedy who, in the Roger Hargreaves book, "left the giant's table feeling very fat and very unhappy".

Mr Puck's London debut may seem, at first sight, a little too posh and pleased with itself. But this was my most memorable eating experience this year. One can only marvel at the Austrian maestro's dedication to luxury, polish and skill in so many areas at once.

CUT, 45 Park Lane, London W1 (020-7493 4545)

Food 5 stars
Ambience 4 stars
Service 5 stars

About £260 for two, with wine

Tipping policy: "Service charge is 12.5 per cent discretionary, of which 100 per cent goes to the staff; all tips go to the staff"

Side Orders: Super steaks

The Mistley Thorn

The riverside eaterie serves delicious local Maldon beef – try their chargrilled rib-eye with cherry tomatoes and hand-cut fries (£15.95).

High Street, Mistley, Essex (01206 392821)

Gaucho Manchester

Delicious Argentine steaks are the speciality here, including a tira de ancho with chimichurri (£31.95 to share).

2a St Mary's Street, Manchester (0161 833 4333)

The Kingham Plough

This increasingly popular pub offers a range of Hereford steak, including pressed shoulder served with triple-cooked chips.

Kingham, Chipping Norton (01608 658327)

Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
filmMatt Damon in talks to return
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Life and Style
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch
tech(but you can't escape: Bono is always on your iPhone)
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig is believed to be donning skies as 007 for the first time
Arts and Entertainment
Fringe show: 'Cilla', with Sheridan Smith in the title role and Aneurin Barnard as her future husband Bobby Willis
tvEllen E Jones on ITV's 'Cilla'
News
i100
Sport
Tim Wiese
sport
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week