“We really should do this more often”. These are the words spoken by one of my oldest friends who had cancelled a business meeting to join me for dinner. It is not that we don’t meet up to eat regularly, we do often. It was the fact that this was in one of London’s finest steak restaurants – CUT at 45 Park Lane. Sometimes, an exceptional piece of meat, cooked medium rare, with great company is just what you need. Wolfgang Puck is the man behind CUT at 45 Park Lane, part of The Dorchester group. Born in Austria in 1949, Puck began his culinary career at a young age, training under some of France’s most celebrated chefs. His big break came when he moved to the USA in the 1970s, where he would make a huge impact on the American dining scene.

Puck’s approach blends classic French techniques with global flavours. In 1982, he opened Spago in LA, an instant hit that became known for its California-inspired menu and laid the foundation for his burgeoning empire. Over the years, Puck has expanded his portfolio to include fine dining restaurants, steak houses, and casual eateries. As with most globally famous chefs with a portfolio of restaurants, they entrust the cooking to someone equally exceptional behind the stoves, in this case, Elliott Grover.

Elliott, the executive chef, brings a wealth of experience and a passion to his role. He has previously worked at La Caprice, a long tenure at Scott’s and has been head chef at Hix Soho. Together, with Wolfgang they have created a menu that respects a traditional steakhouse, while also embracing contemporary trends. Elliotts’ ability to balance these elements has been key to CUT’s success, with mentions of it being the best steak in London in the press.

From the moment I stepped into the restaurant, Negroni still in hand from pre-dinner cocktails in the bar upstairs, the buzzing ambience struck me, with a marriage of modern chic and classic elegant design. The crowd was a mixture of young professionals, out to celebrate a deal or promotion, and families, presumably vacationing in London. It made for a great atmosphere – relaxed yet semi-formal.

It wasn’t long before one of the serving staff presented a tray showcasing the different types and cuts of steak, with a brief description of what to expect from each. Relaxed from our cocktails it was hard to make a decision, so when our eyes found the TASTE OF CUT option, with unsurprisingly, 3 CUTs on – UK Sirloin, Japanese Wagyu, and Australian Wagyu, it had to be that. Enquiring if this was large enough to share, we learnt it was for one.

Dinner began with a couple of amuse-bouche – a wagyu slider and a tuna cone that combined a slight sweetness with soft tuna, and a contrasting crunchy cone. These were a statement of intent, showcasing the kitchen’s prowess. I genuinely loved how they had chosen a slider, it almost seemed playful and cheeky, given the surroundings.

I started with a Dorset Crab & Lobster ‘Louis’ Cocktail, that came wrapped in thinly sliced courgette with avocado and horseradish panna cotta. The ribbons of courgette made this dish, not only as a container for the crab and lobster but through the texture it provided. The crab played centre stage for me, with its fresh sweetness complementing the slices of lobster, which added not only a wonderful flavour but again texture, falling between the crab and courgette. The horseradish was subtle so as not to overpower the dish.

My friend opted for the crispy fried beef & prawns wontons with honey spicy mayonnaise. A delicious combo with the beef and prawn being juicy and packed full of flavour, with an interplay of sweet, savoury, and spicy elements.

Then came the main event – TASTE OF CUT. With its reputation built on the quality of steaks, we anticipated greatness. We were not disappointed. The UK sirloin was succulent with a great depth of flavour. It was, without sounding ridiculous, meaty with a slight nuttiness to it.

The Japanese A5 Wagyu is the showstopper here. It had a rich, buttery umami that saturated my palate with a flavour that was intense, refined, and very rich. There was a subtle sweetness that underlined this richness but was balanced by a light, almost ephemeral, mineral tang. As anyone who has experienced this, the highest grade of Wagyu, it literally dissolves on the tongue. This is due to its intense marbling, which not only infuses the beef with flavour but also provides a softness that makes chewing almost unnecessary.

To achieve this, the cattle are selectively bred, focusing on genetics that promote intense marbling. It is this fat marbling which, when cooked, melts in the meat giving it the softness. The cattle also live in stress-free environments and eat a specialized diet that can include beer and massage. There are 4 main varieties of wagyu (meaning Japanese cow):

  • Japanese Black (Kuroge Washu) – Known for its intense marbling and is the most common Wagyu breed.
  • Japanese Brown (Akage Washu or Akaushi) – Known for its leaner meat with a lighter marbling.
  • Japanese Polled (Mukaku Washu) – A rarer breed, without horns, and not as commonly found in the Wagyu beef market.
  • Japanese Shorthorn (Nihon Tankaku Washu) – Known for its rich umami flavour and lower fat content compared to the Japanese Black.

The Australian Wagyu was less intense than the Japanese, but still incredibly tasty. They differ in that the Australian wagyu is typically a cross between the Japanese breeds and Western breeds like Angus. In addition, they have different feeding regimes, with the Australian being shorter resulting in less marbling.

A steak deserves a supporting cast of sides, but keen not to choose fries, I went for the gratin dauphinoise potatoes, a firm favourite of mine, and the creamed spinach with an organic egg, that was mixed into the spinach table side. Both delicious.

We couldn’t quite manage all of the food, no doubt due to not being able to resist the snacks we enjoyed in the bar pre-dinner. In retrospect, we should have shared the Taste of CUT and opted for one of the non-steak options. There was a good selection of dishes on offer, such as roasted pumpkin agnolotti, sage, pinenuts, parmesan and a simple grilled Cornish Dover sole with a classic Béarnaise sauce.

Service at CUT is as much a part of the experience as the food. The staff were friendly with good knowledge and expertise. Opting for glasses of wine, the sommelier made some fine choices. A Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, Le Oche by San Lorenzo from Italy and a Montebaco, which is made from Tempranillo in the Ribera Del Duero, Spain. The wine list is expansive, allowing you to truly indulge. A 1996 Salon Le Mesnil Blanc de Blancs, 2007 Domaine Leflaive Bâtard-Montrachet, or 3 vintages of Screaming Eagle for example.

Perhaps the stars of the show are Elaine & Manfred Krankl’s Sine Qua Non wines. No less than 18 of these cult, Rhone Valley inspired Californian wines are available going back to 1996. That is if you are not tempted by the 50 vintages of Château Lafite Rothschild on offer. This is one cellar in London that I would love to explore.

In a city celebrated for its dining scene, CUT carves its niche not through ostentation but through a clear focus on what truly matters: the quality, and flavour of the steaks, a great atmosphere, and exceptional drinks. My friend and I will certainly be doing this more often in the future.

CUT at 45 Park Lane

If you enjoyed this article you may also enjoy my piece on An Unforgettable Evening at Bar 45: The Gem of 45 Park Lane