There was a time when to order a steak all you had to know was whether you wanted it rare, medium, or well done. Nowadays any steakhouse worth its salt wants you to choose everything from what it's fed on to your cow's country of origin...

Manhattan Grill is one such establishment, situated amongst the glassy towers of Canary Wharf. But despite the resolutely Yankee name and menu (which as well as steaks, features crab cakes with old bay seasoning, clam chowder, and wedge salad – literally a hunk of iceberg lettuce happily drowning in creamy cheesy sauce and bacon bits), here they're just as happy to serve you good old Scottish beef as they are Kansas cow. We went behind the grill to ask the chef, Damian Trejo, for his top tips on how to cook the perfect steak....

Room temperature is key

It's absolutely vital that you bring the steak up to room temperature before you cook it. This means leaving it out of the fridge for a good 45 minutes before you start up the flames – it takes longer than you think! Do this, and you'll allow the steak to cook evenly.

Salt, salt, salt!

After seasoning a steak, the salt rests on the surface of the meat, waiting to dissolve. At this point, all the steak's juices are still inside the fibres. Within a minute or two the salt will draw liquid from the meat out to the surface.

Cooked to perfection

Turn it regularly, but not too early

We all know that flipping the meat over is important, so both sides cook. But don't be tempted to flip it too early – wait until sear marks start to appear on the steak, then you know it's time to turn.

Three minutes from grill to plate

It's tempting to take the steak off the heat and put it straight on the plate, but it's important to let it breathe after cooking as well as before. Leave the steak to sit for three minutes before you plate up - it allows the juices on the surface to sink back into the meat.

Crispy and golden
Separate your meat
If you're cooking more than one steak, cook them separately or make sure there's plenty of space between them, otherwise the juices interfere with the cooking process. If they're too close, the meat will cook unevenly, or even stew in the juices.

Red wine

And finally, don't forget that the very best partner to a great steak isn't a peppercorn sauce, it's a glass of red wine. Manhattan Grill is one of a growing number of bars and restaurants across the capital that are serving premium wines (in this case, from the Baron Rothschild Estate) by the glass, not just by the (very expensive) bottle, thanks to a whizzy gadget called an enomatic machine. These machines dispense wine straight from the bottle, without needing to remove the cork, and as the bottle empties it fill the space left with inert gas, rather than oxygen, which causes the wine to deteriorate. A great excuse to try several different varieties to find the perfect match for you!

The restaurant
 

About the author

Emma Franklin
Emma is our former Assistant Food Editor. She's the Queen of thinking outside the box (check out her picnic loaf recipe!), and a big fan of anything spicy.