Inhabiting the old Bank of New York building and also previously known as Prism is an all-American, 1920’s, great Gatsby screaming restaurant and bar. This new venture is a partnership between Nick House, best known for Mayfair’s Mahiki bar and model turned actress Kelly Brook.
Steam & Rye boasts three bar areas all of which have individual eccentric interiors. This is to be expected when designed by a Hollywood set designer, Jonathan Lee. Upon entering you will notice an upside down Statue of Liberty, walking through the foray there are still features of the original building. Looking straight ahead you will see a sign still in place from the days of the old Bank. The main bar area represents the iconic Grand Central Station and includes train carriages for you to dine in.
Step down the spiralling staircase and find a narrow room with a cocktail bar and lounge, collect your drinks from the bar and enjoy them in your very own first class carriage which can be curtained off for your privacy with red velvet curtains. Also offered in this space are cocktail master classes.
Go exploring and find the Cargo Hold, located above the main bar. Decorated with a mismatch of furnishings including old suitcases, hanging Victorian bird cages with chandeliers inside and even a taxidermy giraffe! What I love about this room is the window that in my view mimics a burlesque fan allowing natural daylight in. Also the glass wall which allows you to overlook the main bar area downstairs and see the party atmosphere however not hear it so you can enjoy an intimate dinner.
The cocktails are to die for and the cocktail menu is interactive and playful with its peeping holes. All creations are by Andy Mil, the previous mixologist at London Cocktail Club and winner of the Great Britain’s World Class bartender of the year award. Their 5 dollar shake is every adult-child’s dream. Complete with an Oreo cookie and choc ice embedded on the thickest, most fluffiest whipped cream known to man. Another eye catching drink was the Maize Balls, it arrives in a classic red and white popcorn cup with a layer of popcorn on the top.
When thinking of American food what come to mind is meat, fries, burgers and all in extra-large portions. Steam & Rye will not disappoint, the kitchen is run by Michelin Starred Chef Andrew McLeish and the food is fairly priced and very generous. On the menu you can sample a fillet of steak and fries – this is presented on a wooden chopping board with a little reminder of how you like your meat, or their rack of ribs with claw – succulent and tender with the meat falling off the bone. If you wanted to try something a little different they also offer Canadian lobster with spring onion and ginger butter.
This venue is all about fun and it radiates in the ambiance. You can see the staff enjoy working there as they’re singing along passionately to the American classics playing like ‘We built this city’ and ‘Don’t stop believing’. On Thursdays & Fridays it’s a great place for a drink after work as local live bands and dancers take the stage. If you want your 15 seconds of fame be generous and order the T-Rex sharing cocktail. The music will stop and ‘Walk the dinosaur’ will play especially for your drink’s journey to your carriage and in an extra-large plastic T-Rex head for sure all eyes will be on you!