Meat lovers: 3 new eateries to try this week

Here are three places for carnivores to feast on with a hunk of steak and more

1. The Royals Steakhouse
1. The Royals Steakhouse
23 Jun 2015

1. The Royals Steakhouse

10 JALAN PISANG, S199077, TEL: 6291-3326. OPEN DAILY EXCEPT TUE 11.30AM-10.30PM. LAST ORDERS 30 MINS BEFORE CLOSING. WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/THEROYALSSG

Tucked away at the end of Jalan Pisang, across the road from famous nasi padang shop, HJH Maimunah, is this month-old steakhouse. It’s the third F&B eatery and first steakhouse under the halal The Royals café umbrella. The Royals Steakhouse “uses halal ingredients, but its halal certification is still being processed,” explains director and co-owner Joy Tang. She adds: “We started out as a halal cake kiosk, then we decided to branch into the café business and we’ve received a lot of support from the Muslim community. We’re looking at setting up more steakhouses.” Don’t be fooled by its posh-sounding name, there’s nothing uppity or traditionally steakhouse-like about this hip 30-seater joint, even though a certain ‘Sir Loin’ holds court here (he’s their hilarious top hat-and-monocle-wearing mascot). It’s really just a chill-out hub for lovers of the loin.

THE LOOK: Clean and simple, but with odd hints of a modern Brit seaside bistro. Nautical lamps, wooden clipboard menus and faux wood flooring tie the look together without being too tacky. You can opt for a counter seat and watch the chefs work in the open kitchen. Thankfully, good ventilation ensures you don’t get spritzed with eau de beef post-makan.

THE MENU: The pared-down menu includes just nine mains, three of which are burgers. Its simplicity reflects the way the food is prepared. The chilled steaks, air-flown from Australia and New Zealand, are cooked a la minute on a hot lava stone in the kitchen sans seasoning of any kind. Joy says this is to allow the customers to “be their own chef” and customise the taste of their meat. A “hands-on” concept Joy says patrons are pretty chuffed about. Each 180g slab of meat is served with salad, half a grilled Roma tomato and a tray of sea salt, ground black pepper and chilli padi with salt. There is also a choice of three homemade sauces served on the side, including black pepper and mushroom.

The Royals Steakhouse: The Food
The Royals Steakhouse: The Food
23 Jun 2015

The Royals Steakhouse: The Food

The hulking 700g Aussie Black Angus Côte De Boeuf ($68, pictured above) is meant for two, but one ravenous carnivore could possibly finish it himself. Served pre-sliced, this bone-in rib steak is sinfully marbled with delicious fat and perfectly pink. We’d have preferred a more charred, pre-seasoned crust — sprinkling salt on a cooked steak means the seasoning isn’t caramelised and sealed into the meat, resulting in some too-salty, some too-bland spots. The accompanying sauces don’t do much to lift its flavour either. But seasoning aside, this was one hunk of quality cow we were quite happy to gnaw on.

The Royals Steakhouse: The Food
The Royals Steakhouse: The Food
23 Jun 2015

The Royals Steakhouse: The Food

The Australian Lamb Chops ($32) are beautifully succulent — our only gripe is that its fat isn’t properly seared. The Royals Bad Boy Burger ($22, pictured above), Black Angus beef patty slathered with cheese, caramelised onions, beef bacon, sweet relish and a sunny side up egg on a fluffy sesame bun, looks ridiculously enticing. Unfortunately, while the patty is juicy, it lacks seasoning.

BOTTOM LINE: We wish they’d season the meat beforehand as salting steaks after they’re cooked just doesn’t work as well. That said, the beef used is of good quality and worth a try.

2. Krave
2. Krave
23 Jun 2015

2. Krave

28 BALI LANE, S189864. OPEN DAILY EXCEPT MON. 11.30AM-10PM. FRI-SAT TILL 11PM. LAST ORDERS 30 MINS BEFORE CLOSING. WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/KRAVE.SG

After years of helping others set up their kitchens, chef Sufiyan Safee, 32, who’s worked at restaurants like Supply and Demand and Jimmy Monkey Café, is finally cooking in his own kitchen. The Shatec-trained chef’s three-week-old self-order Malay-Western cafe started off as a pastry shop (he picked up his baking skills at TWG Tea Salon). “For some reason, everyone ordered main courses instead of pastries, so we became a fusion food café instead. Steak is the fastest moving item on my menu now. I sell 80 chilled New Zealand rib-eye steaks a day!” says Sufiyan. “Our halal cert is pending, but we use halal ingredients here,” he adds.

THE LOOK: The cosy two-storey joint is a cross between a hipster’s industrial pad and rustic shack with a feature wall composed of strips of recycled pallets. There’s an open kitchen on the first floor and a giant hand-painted Krave logo on the concrete wall, perfectly placed so Instagrammers can assist in a (covert) branding exercise. Clever. 

Krave: The food
Krave: The food
23 Jun 2015

Krave: The food

The nosh, says Sufiyan, is “fusion without confusion”. This means dishes like Kraving Ayam Bakar ($16), tender chicken thigh, sticky ketupat and caramelised pineapples drenched in sweet peanut sauce and steeped with rosemary. Sedap! The Steak ‘N’ Chips ($20, pictured above) doesn’t hit the spot, though. Although the 200g NZ rib-eye is a perfect medium rare, it’s not seared sufficiently and the beef tastes very gamey.

Krave: The food
Krave: The food
23 Jun 2015

Krave: The food

Instead, the star dish here is the thin-crust Mushroom, Truffle ‘N’ Egg Pizza ($16, pictured right), made with fresh dough. Each mouthful explodes with the right balance of gooey cheese, truffle-infused shrooms, egg and crust. Heavenly. Another must-try: the Cempedak Crème Brûleé ($8, pictured left). The caramelised layer cracks with a satisfying crunch to reveal rich and smooth custard with generous chunks of cempedak at the bottom.

BOTTOM LINE: We’ve had better steaks, but some of the other east-meets-west dishes here are pretty yummy.
 

3. Mr Lava Lava Cafe & Steak House
3. Mr Lava Lava Cafe & Steak House
23 Jun 2015

3. Mr Lava Lava Cafe & Steak House

10 JLN MASJID, S418930. TEL: 6842-7317. OPEN DAILY. WEEKDAYS 5PM-11PM, WEEKENDS 1.30PM-11PM. LAST ORDERS 30 MINS BEFORE CLOSING.

While The Royals Steakhouse cooks your meat on a lava stone in their kitchen, here, you’ll have to sizzle up your own beef on a “400°C” slab at the table. Mr Lava Lava’s owner Faruk, 50, is a former medical officer who opened Yureka Teppanyaki Restaurant at the same location five years ago. However, he felt that Japanese cuisine was “too niche” and converted the joint into a steakhouse over two months ago.“The cafe isn’t halal-cerified, but I’m Muslim and all my ingredients are halal,” adds Faruk.

THE LOOK: A cross between an American diner with its candy-striped vinyl booth seats… and a prata shop. Ventilation is dependent on ceiling fans and Mother Nature (a small room is air-conditioned, though), so it can get uncomfortably hot, especially with a hot lava stone billowing smoke inches from you. A bib keeps your clothes splatter-free, but expect to smell greasy anyway.

Mr Lava Lava Cafe & Steak House: The food
Mr Lava Lava Cafe & Steak House: The food
23 Jun 2015

Mr Lava Lava Cafe & Steak House: The food

It’s a little off-putting when the steaks first arrive at our table raw and bloody. We want our 200g New Zealand Rib-Eye ($35.90) medium-rare. According to Faruk, that takes a minute on each side, but it turns out way too rare. His subsequent cooking estimates are off the mark as well, and our steak ends up well-done and leathery. Shame. We don’t have much luck with our 200g Australian Wagyu ($65.90) either. “Muslims prefer their meats well done,” says Faruk. “That’s easier since you just leave it on the lava stones longer.”

So if you want your steak anything other than well-done, eyeball it yourself. Each set comes with a side of limp skinny fries, a basic salad and soup. For what they’re charging, you’d expect more robust sides. The chilled beef also doesn’t taste premium. 

Mr Lava Lava Cafe & Steak House: The food
Mr Lava Lava Cafe & Steak House: The food
23 Jun 2015

Mr Lava Lava Cafe & Steak House: The food

Oddly, the best thing here is the Deep-Fried Giant Squid ($15.90). Covered in salty batter and fried to a golden crisp, it’s fresh, crunchy and very addictive.

BOTTOM LINE: It takes some trial and error to master cooking meat here on hot lava stones. Unfortunately, errors prove costly at these prices.

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