Great steaks and grills are a passion of mine. And I am always on the lookout for reasonably priced steaks which are grilled correctly.
When the owner Elwyn called to invite me for a tasting, I looked at the menu, and thought very interesting. Most interesting was the CV of the chef, who was trained as a grill master. Interest piqued, I went.
The decor was rather homely...a large long bar on one side, and tables for twos and fours on the other. Outdoors, but under cover of a roof, was more seating. The place boasted a nice selection of craft beers and divers alcohol.
But we were there for the food...and we started with the grilled appetizers:
Halloumi cheese, pan seared, and served with a salsa like salad with baby spinach, tomatos and capsicum. I found this to be quite superb. The texture of the halloumi cheese, a speciality of the Greeks/Turks was superb. The salsa was just nicely so, and went well with the spinach. Though, I might have longed for some rockets within the greens.
A twist on the traditional Italian parma ham with melons is the chef's interpretation of parma ham with grilled watermelon.
The grilled watermelon was lightly grilled over charcoal, and rested on a bed of rockets and olive slices, and topped with parma ham. I thought this was somewhat less successful than the traditional pairing with raw melons. But the dish still works, and was rather pleasant.
Then came the char grilled steaks
As usual, I ordered the Chicago Medium Rare...medium rare on the inside, but charred on the outside. The 300g cut of ribeye was rather substantial, and served with a sauce and a knob of herb butter. For the sides, I had the grilled vegetables (excellent!) and french fries with truffle sauce, which was also excellent.
I think the chef showed his expertise in the steak. Grilling was perfectly done. Deep within, a touch medium rare, working beautifully to medium just under the wonderfully smokey exterior which was lightly charred. Very good. One of the better steaks I have had in a while. And almost on par with Ruth's Chris and Cut...but at a fraction of the price. This 300g cut of prime Australian beef...grass fed, and corn fed for the final 120 days, is luscious, nicely marbled.
We also tried the crispy Atlantic King Salmon
This was also superb. The leek dill sauce was perfect foil for the slightly lumpy mash potato, and the piece de resistance is the perfectly frilled, and fried salmon. The skin was very crispy, but the insides still rather moist, and flavourful. Very good fish, and very highly recommended, especially for those who do not eat beef.
For desserts, we tried the tiramisu
Not quite as special as the mains. For me, the tiramisu lacks the alcohol punch, and a bit pedestrian...though I suspect that remark is a bit overstates the dessert...it is certainly edible and tastes good, but not great by any stretch of imagination.
The crepes were rather more successful
I rather enjoyed it. The crepes themselves could have been left on the pan a bit longer to develop a light crisp on the outside, but it was cooked well, and with nutella within was nice. Chocolate flakes and berries with vanilla ice cream adorns.
For me, the standout dishes in this restaurant were the mains. The steaks were truly great, lacking only the slightest to the magnificent steaks at Cut and in the US, because they do not use dry aged beef....hence lacking in the foie gras like flavour imparted by dry aging. I will certainly crave for more steaks here. And the Crispy Atlantic King Salmon is another great dish to saveur.
The chef is a rather youthful looking fellow, having learnt his craft in The Steakhouse at Clarke Quay, and the restaurant is also co-helmed by another chef, who is only 19 years old, and yet to go for his NS.
Remarkable restaurant. Highly recommended.