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Best of three: Pub steak night

With only a crisp tenner to pay for it, we go in search of winners and sinners of the flesh

Published on March 2nd 2013.


Best of three: Pub steak night

The smoking ban was a real game changer for British pubs. Where once hundreds of drinkers were happy to congregate within nicotine stained walls, with just a bag of Big D for company, almost overnight drinking dens were deserted as traditional pub punters stayed at home with a bottle of Blossom Hill, 20 Bensons and a takeaway.  As for their non-smoking mates, they went home too. After all, they had no one fun and interesting to talk to.

To woo people back, canny landlords and ladies got into the food game and for many early adopters the strategy transformed their way of working. Curry nights, Sunday roasts, etcetera.

However, pub steak nights are not as common as you would think in Liverpool. Here are three around the city centre.

On this occasion we tested those below a tenner. The question being at this price point are they just a cynical crowd puller, or are they actually worth a trip away from looking at pictures of cats on Facebook as your supermarket wine liver quietly falls to bits.


 Flanagan's Apple %283%29 %281024X768%29

Flanagan's Apple, 18 Mathew St, Liverpool, L2 6RE. 0151 227 3345

The deal
8oz ribeye is £9.29, 8oz rump £7.49 includes a choice of various soft drinks (like Pepsi, J20, sparkling water), any hot drink, or an energy drink, though nobody is taking responsibility for your actions after a Red Bull and a bloody ribeye.

For another 50p, you can choose an alcoholic drink from a list including pints of Tennant's or Smoothflow ale, a glass of house wine, or even a vodka and tonic to wash it down. Deal all Wednesday up until around 7pm.

Flanagan's Apple %284%29
The steak

What it lacked in thickness, our half pound ribeye made up for by dominating the plate. Overcooked, it ranged from a little past the requested medium rare at its centre, to more like well done at the outer edges. Otherwise, decent flavour, none too chewy, barely any gristle, but rather too lean to really tickle the taste buds.

The rest
Much the usual steakhouse assortment: a grilled field mushroom, half a tomato, bone-dry onion rings, a modest portion of standard pub chips, and a dollop of unremarkable coleslaw atop a single lettuce leaf.

Flanagan's Apple %287%29 %281024X768%29
Sauces are extra, from garlic mayo for 49p to peppercorn for 99p, the latter adding nothing to the occasion.



Value for money

If you shell out the extra 50p, you can't really grumble about a pint and a ribeye steak with the trimmings for just under a tenner, but we had a good try. You might be better off with a burger and a pint, any day of the week, for about three quid less.

Verdict
5/10: Steak it or leave it


Blackburne Arms Liverpool %2812%29 %281024X768%29

Blackburne Arms

The Blackburne Arms, 24 Catharine Street, Liverpool, L8 7NL.
0151 709 9159.

The deal
8oz rump, £8.95, 8oz sirloin, £9.95 with a choice of garlic butter or peppercorn sauce. Wednesdays, 5pm-8.30pm.

There are plenty of takers, even though the prices have just gone up. The Blackburne steak night is a favourite among the yuppie local residents. When management had the temerity to cancel it, in January, there was an outcry and it was brought back by demand. Wednesday is also quiz night at the Catharine Street pub and here we have just the dish to stoke you up for that picture round on famous horses. Hmm, is that Red Rum or Shergar?

  Blackburne Arms Liverpool %2818%29 %281024X768%29
The steak

You get what you pay for here. The rump was a denser, chewier beast than its stablemate sirloin, but not terribly hard going and, once swilled about with a bit of rough (a £15 bottle of Rioja from a good pub wine list) it yielded considerably, as did we. Both cuts were very lean, with just a thread of gristle at the end of the sirloin and the chef had erred on the side of caution (medium rare came out rare).



The rest

You know how the individual members of One Direction were cobbled together and made a much more attractive option, well so it is here.

Blackburne Arms Liverpool %282%29 %281024X768%29Hand-cut and twice fried chips, proved the best of our three on test by a furlong, adding that gastro-pub feel and helping the meat along immeasurably. More perfectly light and crunchy onion rings and an excellent robust peppercorn sauce brought the whole plate to piquant life.

Value for money
The bill for two came to £33, including the bottle of plonk, making it a cheap and extremely cheerful evening date in one of the most agreeable pubs in the area. And, of course, there's a chance to win it all back on the snowball later on.

Verdict
7/10 Chip-hip hooray


Pogue Mahone's %283%29 %281024X768%29

Pogue Mahone's, 77 Seel Street, Liverpool, L1 4BB. O151 708 8301. 

The deal
8oz rump, £4.95, 8oz sirloin, £7.95. 8oz ribeye £9.95. Wednesdays, 5pm-9pm

The steak
There were already plenty of savvy students tucking into very respectable hunks of rump when Liverpool Confidential's operatives got there at 5.30pm.

Pogue Mahone's 10 %281024X768%29
But this test is steak under a tenner, rather than steak under a fiver, simple reason being that we would be hard pressed to find another two pubs (excluding corporate chains who buy in ubiquitous, ready to serve, catering packs containing zebu), who ever go this low. Accordingly, we tried the other two options.

The sirloin, a thick slab of lean flesh, was rare on every level, not least the price point. Meanwhile, an outstanding ribeye was as good as we have had anywhere for double the cost, though again served more on the rare side than the requested medium rare. A relaxed, open grained texture gave way to an excellent flavour from a healthy marbling of fat and not a hint of gristle anywhere. It all gave the impression that it had been hung for at least three weeks. Missus.

Pogue Mahone's %281%29 %281024X768%29
A large glass of Chilean merlot from a wine list of one will set you back £4. Although nothing special, it put us in a very ambient, after-work mood as we devoured the bovine beast before the real log fire.

The rest
Choice of rich onion gravy, “Pogues special sauce” ( a tumbling, creamy mushroom, onion, white wine and mustard affair) or another crackling, piquant peppercorn, all homemade as, allegedly, are the onion rings. Corn on the cob, peas, grilled tomato and a choice of champ (mash with spring onion) or bog-standard freezer bag pub chips were mostly fine, meaning you won't leave hungry.

Alas, there was no evidence of anything other than potato in the champ, unpleasant lumpy potato at that, which is fairly unforgivable in an Irish pub. 

Sadly, the champ cost Pogues the championship.

Value for money
Superb: Go early before the Odeon-sized footie screen is switched on.

Verdict
7/10 - a cut above the rest (sorry).

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6 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

John WadeMarch 15th 2013.

Who Wrote This?
Pogue Mahone's is Great value -- 10/10
A steak for under £5 !
Go to a pub in London and you'll pay £20 and get less!
I go there often.

John WadeMarch 15th 2013.

Where, London?

John WadeMarch 15th 2013.

No Pogue Mahone's
You Pillick.

AnonymousMarch 15th 2013.

Top tip, John: use different aliases for this sort of thing

John WadeMarch 20th 2013.

Think there may be another John Wade........
I only posted two!

1 Response: Reply To This...
EditorialMarch 20th 2013.

Pants on fire!

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