ELEGANT and smart, yet relaxed and friendly is how best to describe the makeover at Marco Pierre White's London Steakhouse Co. City restaurant, situated a stone’s throw from Liverpool Street Station. The glittering split-level dining space is made cosy through intimate seating, subtle lighting and with just a touch of jazz music in the background so conversation flows freely. A raised mezzanine seating 20 commands the back of the room, which can be curtained off to create an exclusive party area.

On the ground floor, the 85-cover restaurant is bright and light with dark mahogany overtures giving it an air of a refined gentlemen's club. A gleaming marble-top bar lines the length of one wall showcasing an array of intriguing tipples.

We enjoyed prompt service of our starters, a crab salad (£9) of just the right portion size, presented without fuss with just a palate enticing touch of basil oil and tomato around the edge and a few micro herbs as garnish which kept the lightness of the crab nicely to the fore. The beetroot with goats curd and caramelised walnut special (£9) was a nice contrast to this, giving a well-balanced earthiness and warmth which complemented the creamy salty tang of the cheese and sweetness of the toasted nuts.

To drink, I ordered an organic Santa Ana wine from Argentina, which I'd not had before but it's citrus grassy flavour paired well with the first course and also was robust enough for the second. I sampled the centre-cut beef fillet (£28.50) with roasted tomatoes and langoustine tails (£6) – the beef cut into two chunky medallions was spot on medium rare with a fine texture and flavour enhanced by the fruity roasted tomato. My friend Anna went for the half lobster (£27.50), which was a little on the scant side and what meat there was did not make much of an impression, although the house fries were good and crisp. We dipped the fries in my excellent béarnaise sauce and complimented the staff on this and the spinach side dish (£4.75), which was packed with depth from cheddar cheese, cream, lemon juice and perhaps just a sprinkle of nutmeg. The langoustines were deliciously garlicky and bursting with freshness. Since we were sharing plates we both noted these as the highlight of the night along with the beef. The London Steakhouse did indeed live up to its name.

For dessert we shared the cheeseboard (£9.50), which was generously proportioned. The quince jelly and fig accompaniments brought out the boldness of the Westcombe mature cheddar and held up against the Colston Bassett Stilton, which was topped off with a very fine glass of ruby port. A chocolate berry mousse (£7.50) and coffee completed the meal. A lovely and uncomplicated menu and a venue to match.

There are two options for Christmas running to December 24 - a £35 or £55 three-course menu featuring steaks from Aubrey Allen, turkey from Holly Farm, and venison from Balmoral & Highland Estates with two accompanying drinks packages for £15 and £25.

Melanie Anglesey

Four stars

109-117 Middlesex Street, City of London, E1 7JF. Telephone: 020 7247 5050,