with family in Hong Kong
Why oh why don't we have estabilshments like this in Singapore. Good steaks, reasonable priced. As I continue to lament, I watched Hestor Blumenthal's excellent series on BBC - In Search of Perfection. I must admit, I always admire people who are totally obsessed with their pursuit, and in Hestor's case - perfectly cooked food. Owner and chef of The Fat Duck, a Three Star Michelin restaurant in UK which was once voted Best Restaurant in the World, Hestor will go to the ends of the world to cook it right. See his treatise on the perfect steak - 24 hours to cook, and needs a blowtorch! Certainly worth a read, if only to understand what goes into making a prefect steak.
I am not expecting a Blumenthal style perfect steak in Hong Kong...I have eaten at Morton's in Sheraton Towers, and at both Ruth's Chris (I like the one in Lippo Center better), but wanted to try something else. I heard from a review elsewhere (oops, I forget where I read it, but likely another foodie blog) that it served air dried USDA Prime beef.
The restaurant has been around since 1928, and the interior reminded Kin and me instantly we stepped inside of the now long gone Singapore establishment known as Cairnhill Steak House, complete with old waiters dressed in suits with short jackets, and dark interior.
Of course I had to order a steak. I told the rather elderly waiter that I wanted it Chicago medium, fully expecting him to go "har?", but he just repeated medium inside, charred outside...Perfect.
When it arrived, it looked wonderfully promising.
Charred on the outside, this was a nice slice of sirloin. 14 oz...a bit on the small side for a serious steak eater, but sufficient.
Cutting into the steak was easy...the knife glided like a hot blade into butter...tender! and the insides were pink.
Beautiful. I had asked for the sauce to be on the side...in fact, I didn't touch it, and Edward ate it up with his steak...more on that later.
The meat could do with a little more marbling, but on final analysis, it was still was juicy, very tender, and bursting with flavour...a testament to the air drying, I suppose. As I chewed on the beef, these qualities were apparent, the charring provided a smokey flavour and the beef had a rather intense beefiness. As I swallowed the mouthful of beef, a velvety note...almost sublime, hinting of foie gras appeared on the palate. I am not sure where this foie gras flavour comes from...possibly from the dry aging or the Maillard reaction caused by high heat to char the outside to Chicago style doneness. But also due to the breed of cattle I would imagine, as I had the same tasting notes with Peter Lugers and Mamou's, except the Luger experience was more intense and the Mamou's though also more intense than Jimmy's, lacks the final punch offered by Luger. This is excellent steak.
The beef sat atop a bed of very nicely done cream spinach. Something about creamed spinach agrees with char grilled beef...I always have this if given a choice. Jimmy's was done slightly al dente, but very nice.
Edward had the Steak Diane. This is a 8 oz cut of ribeye, rubbed with ground black pepper and garlic and quick fried over a hot pan with butter. A sauce is then made from the juices left over, deglazed with more butter, garlic, beef stock and Worchestershire sauce.
The ribeye was tender as well. The cut was a little on the thin side, and almost drowning in the rather tasty sauce, the taste of the beef was less apparent. Hints and subtle notes like the foie gras flavour, it the cut had any was lost. This is why I prefer steaks san sauce...only seasoned with freshly cracked pepper and some sea salt just before serving. With a good sauce like the Jimmy Steak Diane's, the taste and quality of the beef is overtaken by the taste of the sauce.
Kin had the Veal Cordon Bleu.
A thin slice of veal is stuffed with two kinds of cheese (a Swiss Gruyere and another one I forget) with sliced ham, breaded and deep fried till crisp on the outside.
Cutting it open, the melted cheese oozes out. Quite charming. Kin found it very good, but not exceptional. The veal was very tender and light tasting, and the crisp outside provided good bite and crunch. The cheese provided a rich, creamy compliment, and may be characterised as slightly overpowering. I thought it all came together quite well.
The coffee was very bitter, perhaps over roasted, and possibly a mix of robusta with arabica, and was not remarkable in any sense.
Overall, a very enjoyable evening. We should have ordered some wine to go along, but did not feel like wine that evening.
I was told by a friend that Tavern's in River Valley Singapore also serve air dried steaks...I will go and try this out soon. If I am able to replicate the Jimmy's experience, I will be a very happy man indeed.
20 Ashley Road, TST