I love London. Clearly. This is a London Lifestyle Blog. But every now and then, I do things outside it. Crazy I know. When you have a City that has everything you ever need, why leave?
Well. I grew up in a lovely part of the world, a hop skip and a jump from lovely London, in the City of St. Albans. I went to school here. I have some wonderful friends here. Friends I’ve known over 25 years (insane, really). And a couple of weeks ago, we decided to have a mini reunion, and do something we’ve never done. All go out to dinner.
Now. These lovely girls are not silly. They like nice things. Most of us have/do work in London. Some of us live there. So finding a restaurant that would be a good call for all of us, that was a little bit special, without heading into London could have proved a challenge. However, a couple of weeks before our meet-up, a new a restaurant, Prime Steak & Grill opened up in the heart of town and as soon as it was suggested we all agreed. Which is amazing, really. Getting 8 busy girls to agree on anything is no mean feat. We couldn’t agree on a thing at school!
When the night arrived, we all poured out of taxis at the same time and accidentally met outside. It’s the first time we’ve all been in the same place for about 10 years, so there was lots of hugging and congratulating over various things – marriage, babies, promotions, pregnancies. It appears we all grew up…
The first thing you notice about Prime is how pretty it is. The outside is decorated with fairy lights, twinkling in the darkness. It looks classy, and special – and different to the type of place you’d find in St. Albans. And that’s something they’ve really strived for here – a local restaurant, with friendly service, that is unique to the area and wouldn’t feel out of place in the big smoke.
We were seated at a great table, upstairs, towards the back, with curved seating so we could all fit in and still chat to everyone. Perfect with so many catch up chats going on. We immediately pounced on the Cocktail list, with most of us going for an Aperol Spritz first, and then devoured the Parmesan rolls that were brought to the table. It may sound silly to get so enthused about a bread roll, but they were incredible! Warm from the oven, soft and delicious. Bizarrely taking this group of girls straight back to break time at school, where we’d demolish warm rolls and butter by the plateful (long before we started to care about carbs!)
We skipped starters (we used up the calories in cocktails. Plenty of cocktails. After trying a few I can say they’re all good, but the Hugo is AMAZING!) and went straight in to the main course. I ordered Fillet Steak (rare) with Sweet Potato Fries. Others around the table ordered a variety of steaks, cooked different ways, a couple of Pork Belly and a Salmon. Each dish arrived at the table perfectly cooked, with the steaks exactly to order, with no mistakes, which for a large table is always a bonus! We all went a bit quiet as we tucked in for the first few mouthfuls as it was all exceptional. I tried a bit of the Pork, which was delicious, and managed to get away with only sharing one bite of my steak, I didn’t want to share! It was wonderful – the quality was some of the best I’ve ever eaten; the knife sank through the meat like it was butter and it melted in my mouth, perfectly seasoned and packed with flavour. Plus, it had the perfect crust on the outside – making it the ideal steak in my eyes. I found out since that the meat comes from the Queen’s Butcher, Aubrey Allen – so they really are taking the quality of their suppliers seriously.
After a couple of bottles of Malbec around the table, only a couple of us ordered desserts (the Lemon Meringue Pie) which again was delicious. When we eventually came to get the bill, we had been well wined and dined, and expected the total to be fairly hefty. After working things out so they were fair for the non-drinkers around the table, the resulting £60 each before service was a pleasant surprise. We’d certainly budgeted for more, and would have been happy to pay it. Food, drinks, environment and service were all faultless. So much so we added extra to the discretionary service charge, as we felt it was well deserved. Not often you get to say that.
Usually, I’d head in to London for any celebration meals, but it’s lovely to know there’s now an option a little bit closer to home. I’ve already booked again for a family celebration, and am also excited to try their Sunday Lunch. Plus, a few of us school friends have discussed meeting for lunch there soon – they do a set lunch menu at just £12.90 which seems incredible value!
We all came out of Prime singing the restaurant’s praises and saying how wonderful it was to have somewhere serving such quality food, in such lovely setting in St. Albans. I can’t recommend it highly enough, and after checking their Facebook page, it seems I’m not alone! They have received glowing reviews all round.
Well done Prime. Just what St. Albans has needed for a long time. We will most definitely be back.
(And I will be drinking Hugos).