As halal consumers, for decades we have yearned to enjoy the same gastronomical delights as our non-Muslim counterparts, but unfortunately our choices had always been restricted to only a finite number of cuisines.
With the rise in Muslim diners, more and more diverse restaurants have started to serve halal options. However, not all establishments are offering an authentic Western culinary experience catered specifically for the Muslim dietary requirement, which can also be enjoyed by all.
Hamza, Sam & Co., are among the new wave of restaurants that recognise the multicultural diversity of Britain and the evolving palate of the Islamic community.
About the Restaurant
HS&Co., are a specialist steak house located in Stratford, East London; offering a full halal menu and serving 21 days dry aged steak prepared on the acclaimed Josper grill.
The venue is deceptively large, with an elegant, vintage and boutique style decor. There is also a 1920’s American prohibition era feel to the restaurant, which is quite apt, as no alcohol is served on the premises, thereby ensuring a true halal experience.
From the “Starter” section of the menu, we began with a new addition to the menu, the “Meat & Cheese Board”, which consisted of a variety of cured meats and cheeses. The Bresola meat, which is salted dry aged beef, was lean and tender, with a wonderful saccharine taste, however couple of the collagen fibres were string like in texture, which proved difficult to swallow. The Salami was deliciously spiced and the Beef Ham was soft and appetising. The combination of cheeses and the delectably divine caramelised onion marmalade truly made this a sensational dish. – Highly Recommended
The “English Pie Trio”, which is another new addition, contained a classic English pie, minced Beef and Onion Scotch Egg and a Cornish Pasty. Each pie delivered subtle flavours that were gratifying, but for our palate, slightly more seasoning and use of herbs would have provided more depth and bolder flavour combinations. The gravy was also slightly lacklustre and could have benefited from more seasoning. However, the novelty of trying dishes like a Scotch Egg was magnificent and overall the dish delivered on its vision. – Recommended
The final starter, which once again is new to the menu, were the “Josper Lamb Chops”. The chops, as expected, were prepared faultlessly; juicy, succulent and tender. The lamb was smoky and charred, with a hint of sweetness from the light strawberry gravy. – Highly Recommended
For “Mains” from the “Steak” section, we ordered the “Fillet”, which is a very tender piece of muscle that comes from the lower middle of the back and forms part of the sirloin. The fillet muscle is tender because it does the least amount of work. It is also a very lean cut of meat with little fat running through it, which means the beef flavour is subtle. I ordered the 200g steak to be prepared medium and it arrived with a lovely charred and smokey outer layer, and pink and juicy in the middle. The rock salt and black peppercorn seasoning was perfect and the steak delivered natural umami flavours that were accentuated further from the simple seasoning. – Highly Recommended
The “Porter House / T-Bone”, is made up of Sirloin on one side and Tenderloin Fillet on the other side. Prepared medium as instructed, the steak was simply seasoned once again, yet was joyfully flavoursome due to the marbling of the fat and juices from the bone. But due to the large size of the steak (700g), there were certain segments that were overcooked and dry, and therefore chewy and difficult to swallow, which diminished the potentially great steak. – Worth a Try
The menu also has a new section of “Premium Sides”. First we tried the “Josper Roasted Bone Marrow”, seasoned with garlic salt and herbs. If you are a bone marrow fan you will truly enjoy this dish. Rich, fatty, savoury, salty and herby in flavour and combined with the steak, it tasted even better. – Recommended
“Chilli and Coconut Prawns” were delicious. The coconut milk provided a sweet and creamy taste, which was balanced with the subtle chilli kick. – Recommended
The “Lobster Tail” was piquantly marvellous, seasoned well with cracked pepper and salt, with plenty of lobster meat. However it was slightly dry and needed to be more supple and succulent in texture. – Worth a Try
Finally for dessert we opted for the “HS&Co. Key Lime Pie”, which once again is new to the menu. This was a deconstructed version that had a light roasted Meringue foam, with an exquisitely zesty, sour and creamy Key Lime pie. – Recommended
HS&Co. are endeavouring to deliver conventional British dishes to unconventional British palates, which in itself is a challenge. The majority of the dishes we tried did deliver on taste and brought jubilation with each mouthful. However, as with all restaurants, there is still scope for amelioration, as there were certain dishes where simple seasoning was not enough to appease palates that are accustomed to bold flavours, and dishes that texturally could improve slightly more.
Nonetheless, HS&Co. are one of the leading protagonists that are trying to deliver dishes that are customarily not available for halal consumption. It is a vision that all food adventurers will appreciate and is the next chapter in the halal food evolution.
So if you are seeking an urbane and debonair dining experience, with traditional British fare, then be sure to give HS&Co. a try.
Address: 405 High Street, Stratford, London E15 4QZ
*Disclaimer: We were invited to review the restaurant.