Named after a district in Sydney, originated in Hong Kong (with 3 restaurants), now brought over to Raffles City mall in Singapore. The PigPig’s colleague’s friend was the executive chef in the newly opened restaurant here and since we’re always on the lookout for good steak, we duly went to sample their wares. And just to be clear, said executive chef had no idea who we were; for all intents and purposes we were anonymous while dining.
One of the most striking things about the restaurant is the cold room right by the entrance, with their cuts of meats arranged neatly. The next most eye-catching feature is the little cabinets with bottles of wine. At first I assumed the nameplates were of the vineyards the bottles were from, only to realise later that they represent certain individuals’ private bottles (I didn’t recognise any names, but I’m not privy to the high-flying circuit either).
The dining area is large, seating 140 covers, and that doesn’t include the bar or lounge areas. Décor was rather odd, with a very significant preponderance for firewood stocking the sides. The PigPig felt it cosy, but I feel a little bit more variation is in order. The leather armchairs were super comfy, and there was ample elbow room.
Focaccia, topped with caramelised onions, was delightfully bouncy but lacked salt and oil, making this amongst the healthier focaccia I’ve sampled. The butter provided was very buttery and smooth, too much so for me in fact although I noticed some of my dining companions (party of 5 to be exact) loved it.
For the starters, we just decided to share a plate of foie gras, since we were mainly interested in the steaks anyway. The foie itself was not bad, not overcooked, while the toasted brioche is also reasonably faultless. However, the apple compote was a bit too tart, especially since my tastebuds are used to eating foie with a sweet compote/jam/preserve/glaze. The assortment of seasonings on the side was interesting, although I never found out what they were exactly. It should be just 3 kinds of salt and back pepper.
Moving onto the steaks, the majority of them are Australian in origin, with a couple of USDA Prime selections as well. However, for the more discerning beef aficionado, the only wagyu choice is the tomahawk. That doesn’t really bother me, since we were planning to share one anyway, but the smallest piece they had that night was 2.4 kg, which is simply not feasible for a party of 5 comprising 3 girls; even after the bone was removed that’ll be approximately 2 kg of meat or 400 g per person.
So in the end we opted for a 1.3 kg 70-day grain-fed Black Angus tomahawk steak and a Wooloomooloo steak. The tomahawk is essentially the rib-eye cut with the adjacent rib not trimmed off. Some people say leaving the bone on will make the meat taste better, but definitely it looks impressive. We were advised that off the bone, the meat will amount to approximately 1.0 kg.
Both steaks were cooked in a Southbend broiler imported from the USA, gas-fuelled I believe. While the steaks still had the pretty cross-shaped pattern from the grill, it still lacks the smoky aroma that only a charcoal grill can give. Anyway regarding the tomahawk, it was not bad, but after being spoilt by wagyu beef, this simply didn’t have enough marbling. Also, they served the whole tomahawk as is on the table, and I had to request for them to divide the huge slab up for us, which they happily obliged. However, they divided it into cubes, rather than the strips I am more accustomed to. Also, the more fibrous portions were all put onto one side.
The Wooloomooloo steak on the other hand, was a 150-day grain-fed rib-eye, about 300 g or so, marinated in Cajun spices. This was far better, being more marbled, but also more tender and the Cajun marinade was interesting. It was also definitely flavourful enough to be eaten without the steak sauces, although a dash of mustard never hurts.
Accompanying the steaks were four different sauces, au jus (a reduction of the beef juices), mushroom, red wine Madeira and black pepper. All were really tasty, by far the favourite was the pepper sauce while some found the mushroom sauce tasted a bit artificial.
We also had a few sides to share: hash brown, French fries, creamed spinach and sautéed spinach. They were in general not bad although the creamed spinach was far too creamy for my tastes and lacked seasoning.
For desserts, we shared 3 plates between the 5 of us. The soufflé came with a passion fruit & Grand Marnier sauce, which was a tad too tart alone but went really well with the sweet and light soufflé.
The bread and butter pudding was rather strange in appearance, and felt too dense and thick. Lastly, the lemon and lime pie was not a favourite, with the flavours of the lemon and lime respectively overshadowed by the cream.
Altogether, the total bill was about $500, including a $115 or so bottle of Coonawarra red wine which scored 90 points on the Robert Parker scale (so thankful their winelist includes the score points, makes choosing a bottle easier). Service throughout was reasonably prompt and attentive.
So, how does the steaks here compare to others? Well, unfortunately, as the other big boy steakhouses we’ve tried so far (Dish, Prime, Bedrock) all served wagyu, this isn’t really comparable. It’s a bit like having a speedrace between a bicycle and a motorcycle; they both have two wheels and a handlebar, but perform completely differently. Judging on the cooking then, it was pretty good: the steaks were perfectly cooked and the accompanying sauces were mostly also very tasty. For the more discerning palate however, the steaks were simply not marbled enough. Would definitely want to go back to try the Wagyu tomahawk.
For the best steak so far: Hawksmoor, London.
Best bit: the wooloomooloo steak was surprisingly good.
Worst bit: lean beef is admittedly healthy, but one does not go to a steakhouse for healthy fare.
2 Stamford Road
Level 3 Swissotel The Stamford
Tel: +65 6338 0261