Luke Blackall: It's the return of wood panelling, but wood panelling with a sense of fun

I had been planning to eat healthily. You see, I am getting married in two weeks and while I am not concerned that I'll block the aisle with my girth, I also think it's a good day to try to look one's best.

But this week invitations have conspired against me. The first was a reopening dinner for The Electric. For a Notting Hill institution such as this, any change could easily be frowned upon by its regulars. But as fire hit it a few months ago, they didn't have much choice. As it turns out it is one of the few occasions where a total refit, pictured, has been a total success and the fire seems to have made the kitchen even better.

The group who own it are known for having some of the most stylish venues in London, with numerous others following their lead when it comes to choosing interiors. On this basis, London had better be bracing itself for a spate of new old-looking places, with a wood panelling look that gentlemen's clubs would have, if gentlemen's clubs had a sense of fun.

Things were much shinier at the brand new STK in the brand new ME hotel the following night. With its low lighting, cream banquettes and a soundtrack that veers from Wham! to Motown, this is a restaurant for those who those who like their steak with a side of party.

The concept, we were told, was one important from its US roots: to appeal to women who might have been put off by the stuffy old steakhouse image. It's other import, female-friendly portions, have also come in for criticism, particularly among my colleagues.

While it might have found a pro-women niche in its native US, the issue isn't quite the same this side of the pond, where the likes of Gaucho or other smart capital steakhouses like 34 or The Cut don't have any sort of misogynistic reputation.

But in the end, the arguments about its image were largely forgotten at our table, because the steaks and truffle chips were excellent and I could eat my starter of little Wagyu beef burgers (yes, I had two beef courses) every day.

Well, I couldn't really, because I have a wedding that I should be staying (getting) in shape for…

twitter.com/lukeblackall

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
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.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment & HR Administrator

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Business Partner

£55 - 65k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: A HR Manager / HR Business Partner i...

Recruitment Genius: Senior HR Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company's vision is to be t...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'