Scotch Steak Houses – Evil With A Green Sign

Published on 14 May 2005 in ,

I got off the tube at Holborn the other day, on the way to The Porterhouse in Covent Garden to meet Catherine and Jacko for a pint, and noticed something I wish I hadn’t.

Jamie’s bar on Kingsway closed around the time I left Bush House, and had been under refurbishment. Well now I got to see what it had been replaced by.

A Scotch Steak House.


If you’ve never come across one, they’re exactly like Aberdeen Angus Steak Houses. And if you’ve never seen one of those, they have big clunky signs, everything is red inside and they look plain awful. Outside every one is a sign that says ‘Today’s Specials’. The specials board never actually changes. It is always exactly the same. You can tell it was never designed to change as the sign is printed neatly and on a piece of wood. Every single one is always empty. They look that bad, it’s not surprising.

Scotch Steak Houses are exactly the same but the sign is green. Why the difference? Well after some digging, Scotch Steak Houses were set up by someone who used to own Aberdeen Angus Steak Houses but sold them when times were bad. So no surprise as to why they look identical – it’s the same madman who set them up.

I along with many rejoiced when Aberdeen Angus went under in 2002 – the things were the scourge of London, preying on gullible tourists and giving them a plain awful experience to boot.

So to see the dreadful experience rise out of the ashes and start all over again, well it just doesn’t bare thinking about. Scotch Steak Houses Apparently bought at least eight of the Aberdeen Angus houses and have now gone on taking over busy bars!

How?!? How can someone build a business out of a chain of restaurants that are always, and I mean always, empty? Even at Christmas they’re deserted – and that’s a time of year when even the worst eatery can be filled to the rafters. So how do these awful things continue to survive?

In many ways I am rather glad that I no longer have to walk past one of these establishments. They’re gaudy, tacky and downright depressing. They are a plague on our city and it looks like the plague has started again.

But what really gets me is the way they look. They are just downright awful. How can anyone make a restaurant look so bad? So appalling? Who on earth things that a neon light sign saying ‘Cocktails’ is a good thing?

And just in case you ever think that it might be worth trying one out for yourself, perhaps you should read Flogging A Dead Cow by Stuart Jeffries in the Guardian. Okay it’s about the Aberdeen Angus chain, but by all accounts, the Scotch Steak Houses chain ain’t any better… Quite how he even got the guts to go in one is beyond me. His partner seems to be the sensible one – she gave him a box of Rennie’s as he walked to the door.


  • David says:

    I had a meal at the one in the Strand last Friday. It was terrible and then I was told it was not at the price advertised on the board outside but as shown in the menu. apparently the steak was smaller fot the one outside. This was ot made clear when ordering.
    The meal cost me £40.20 instead of £29.40.
    So I was conned and had a terrible meal. So I wont be using them again. I tourists avoid them. we should send out a warning to avoid them like the plague.

  • amish singh says:

    this was the worst restaurant I have ever eaten at so was the service…dont attempt this one

  • Becky says:

    Me and my husband went to London for our anniversary in Dec. After a brilliant night out at the Lion King we decided that we need to get something to eat and came across a Scotch steak house, Well words cannot describe it. I would not even let my dog eat what we were served, Two beers and Two steaks Later we had a bill for about £45 and they had the cheek to charge a 10% service charge(My 11 month old daughter could be more polite than this bunch) I asked for a RARE steak and it was grey and raw and cold, least to say i did not eat it. Anybody thinking of eating in one of these places, save your self a fortune and go eles where( Mac D’s probably serves better food with better service). These guys should come with a health warning.

  • Rob says:

    Went into the one in Victoria Street Sat 7th Feb following a great show, found the staff & service truly awfull..the manager appeared drunk, was waving his arms at people coming in telling them they were closing & almost pushing them back out the door….we were told at 10.30 as we sat down they closing at 11.30….I can order & eat in an hour but how long will THEY take to cook it..! the food price on the menu did not include fries (except my rib eye) & both steaks when they arrived did not look very appetising, were cold, under weight, poorly cooked & tastless….I have had better steak for quarter of the price & would advise anyone to steer well clear & try one of the other restuarants next door. This was one of the worst dining experiences for many years & certainly not one of the cheapest….some customers were complaining & like me would never go back, but due to their location guess there will always be some first timers passing by who like me won’t know untill its too late…….hopefully they will go out of business sooner rather than later.

  • Andrew Bowden says:

    I continually wonder how these – and indeed Aberdeen Angus Steak Houses – remain in business. I have decided it’s all to do with tourists. If I was writing a guidebook, I’d put in warnings. Sadly they’re absent…

  • bill west says:

    I cant tell you how spectacularly bad these places are, i am sure they employ people to deliberately mispronounce the menu the food was tom tit the service was a load of pony as well. i managed to get my meal written off but the other three paid, they are over priced, with an obvious bias towards doing there bit to prevent global warming, by that i mean they rarely use the oven or any other form of heat to cook(well i say cook more like warmed up under the illegal immigrants armpit ) with, the fries were cold the ribs were cold, the steak and the beef Burgoyne had the same sauce, but a nice touch was the beer was warm, the best thing to do is order the food make an excuse to answer your phone outside and leave, don’t worry about the food it will be served to the next poor mug that walks in.

  • Richard says:

    I’d say the opposite of what you’ve seen, they are always quite busy when I go past. However, it’s always tourists eating, as that’s who they prey on.
    If you’ve seen the ‘UK Border Force’ TV show, there is an episode where Immigration Officers actually raid the Scotch Steak House on Shaftsbury Avenue. They end up taking away a Czech girl who was a waitress as she had no work visa; they also talk away a Mongolian man who was the only chef, also an illegal immigrant.
    I think that says enough about the chain really!

  • bill turner says:

    hi i’m from the u.s and visited london over the new year, out one evening i decided to eat at the scotch steak house on the strand, i thought the service was very warm and the food was actually very satisfactory and reading some of the comments from above the restaurant was very busy, full in fact.
    maybe jealousy rings out here!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Bob (Dublin, Ireland ) says:

    Wish we had read the above comments before 30/01/2010, as we were a party of seven hungry tourists who unfortunately entered a Scotch Steak House at 117-119 Queensway,London W2 and utterly destroyed a night out. At first they refused to move an adjacent table ( 2 seats ) approx 18inches to join 3 side by side tables ( 6 seats ) so the seven of us could sit at the same table, some crazy excuse that the table would not balance ! (we should have left then). Alas we stayed and ordered refreshments, starters, and main courses. The drinks arrived and after a delay the starters arrived. The main courses did not arrive until approx 1 houir later after several complaints to both staff and “manager” , and the real pity is that they arrived at all, they were disasterous and no condiments or sauces on the table. At bill time we queried what “cover charge” shown on bill was and we were first told it was for seating, then for sauces, ketchup,salt,pepper, (This is not a joke,I have no punchline) We advised the “manager” that no service charge or cover charge would be paid and that his eatery was a disgrace. He replied that he was not the owner, but the “manager” and was not responsible for anything. We will be advising any aquaintances travelling from Dublin to London, to avoid this dump at all costs.
    The previous evening we had enjoyed a “feast” with marvellous service and food at a premises called Khans in the same area, so obviously not all “managers” in this area are charlatans.

  • Neil Stewart says:

    My wife and I went to a Scotch Steak House. We had been looking for a Thai Resturant in the Wardour street area,but after walking around the West End shops all day we were not in the mood to look very far, so I said I fancy a steak lets try the Scotch Steak House adding it is NOT an Angus Steak House,were we have been presented with some dreadfull meals in the past.My wife reluctantly agreed but said she would not have steak so she had a chicken dish with some exotic name and I lashed out on a fillet steak.It was terrible I ordered it medium rare it came well done, it was not like anything I had eaten before,The chips(which were extra) had been cooked some days before and the salad was minimal my wifes chicken was two lumps of bone with batter on and saute potatoes which had gone through the same process as my chips.I complained (something I rarely do) to no avail
    is there anyway we can stop them trading
    Neil Stewart

  • Diane Hewitt says:

    A group of ten went into the one on charing cross road as i dont like steak and every one else does i went with the flow and decided i would be able to find something else so i chose chicken stroganoff, i am a school cook and what i was served was chicken in a peppery gravy it was truly dreadful was charged near enough £15, i would have been embarrassed to serve that in my school, when we complained to the waitress she totally blanked us and walked away while we were still talking to her, so we complained to another person who just said thats the way we do it down here. We felt totally ripped off and then they added a service charge but we had no sevice worth paying for .PLease stay away and do not waste your money

  • Graham says:

    Found this blog as I was looking for the restaurant’s homepage to register a complaint. As we were ordering we saw a chap send a meal back and I ordered beef strogonoff which quite simply was not beef strogonoff as well as being 80% gristle.

  • James says:

    After visiting London for the day we decided to have a drink before we went to see a show in convent garden
    We saw “scotch steak house’ and all we wanted was a quiet bottle of wine as we didn’t have time to eat before the show
    on arrival we asked for a seat for 2 and clearly said ” We would just like to have a bottle of wine is that okay as we haven’t got time for food” she nodded and came back with the wine.
    2 times after she came back and asked if we liked to order and we said again ” were only having this bottle of wine were not ordering any food” 10 minutes after she stormed over and rudely said ” are you not eating anything!” we said ” no like we said were just having this wine” she then raised her voice saying ” We are not a pub we are a restaurant you have to order now!”
    This was absolutely ridiculous as we told her from the get-go we haven’t got time to eat, she then called her colleague over and she said I have to order a starter now, I would of been absolutely fine if it was said in a polite manner but they were practically shouting at us, The other colleague even said ” she must not have under stood you but you should know our rules” To which my reply was “That’s your job to make your rules clear not mine I’ll finish my glass pay and leave” to which the ‘Mongolian’ women rolled her eyes and literally stormed off
    After a minute or 2 we asked for the bill she didn’t even acknowledge us and walked away after 5 mins she came back and literally held the bill in front of me, this is when I very politely asked for head offices number after an evil glare ( much like the below review said ) she slammed the bill down and walked off, I decided to pay although I wish i didn’t she came back collected the money and dropped on the table a scribbled number ( barely read-able ) and walked away this is when we left
    The following morning I rang the number she gave me and what a surprise …’invalid number’ So i rang the restaurant the ‘Mongolian’ women answered and I asked for manager she said she’s not in I then asked for head offices number please she said who’s calling I said, I would just like head offices number she then said are you customer, I said yes please can I have head offices number and guess what.. She hung up!
    I am absolutely disgusted that she can do this and still have a job here I rang back and the ‘other colleague’ answered she refused to give me head offices number until I said I will go to trading standards then she gave it to me ( which was VERY different to the first number) I asked for the ‘Chinese’ lady’s name to which she snarled ‘ She is not Chinese shes Mongolian’ I asked again she refused until I told her I will take this further she then told me her name which is ‘Gerel’ …. apparently
    And guess what again….Wrong number
    I asked one of my colleague’s to call as by that time I was sick and tired and after asking 4-5 times we actually got the correct number!, and after googling Its confirmed it is correct.
    So i thought I should post it on here as it took over an hour of my day to actually find
    It is 02072400060
    So basically DO NOT go here It was absolutely diabolical and I didn’t even taste the food!
    Looking forward to see what head office have to say tomorrow…