Most of us love meat, and for good reason; it’s wired into our DNA. Eating meat played an important role in human evolution: when our distant forebears became carnivorous, the nutritionally dense protein in meat enabled the human brain to develop in size and complexity. That’s a good excuse, if you need one, to head to one of these top ten purveyors of succulent steak the next time that primal urge for pure protein surges in your breast.
Bedrock Bar & Grill
+65 6238 0054
As I sipped a glass of chilled Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, a knowledgeable server rattled off a menu of variations on the theme of beef, and a number of mouth-watering sauces. From start to finish, the service was impeccable.
Before the main event, we savoured oven-fired flatbread with roasted garlic cloves on the side, and a gorgeous apple-wood smoked tomato soup ($12). I ordered the pepper-crusted tuna (rather too rare for my taste), which came with a beautiful tomato butter sauce ($28), and Adrian devoured his 200g USDA Black Angus tenderloin ($49). For sides, we shared the must-try truffled mash ($10.50), and just to be good, the steamed broccoli ($7.50). But we still finished strong with beetroot sponge cake ($10) smothered in finger-licking rich cream cheese icing.
Many Western expats consider themselves experts on beef, but those who feel they need to go home for an up-to-snuff steakhouse have probably not yet tried Bedrock. For us, this popular hideaway definitely hit the mark.
Great World City #03-19
Throughout its 13 Singapore outlets, Jack’s Place maintains a casual ambience of cozy booths and checked tablecloths. At 7.30 on a Friday evening, I expected crowded tables and shrieking toddlers, but was pleasantly surprised at the Great World City branch. Though the restaurant was encouragingly busy, it was not too full, and my friend Flip and I were able to have a pleasant chat while we ate.
To begin, we shared the creamy lobster bisque ($5) and baked button mushrooms ($9.50) topped with delectably melted cheese. As a fan of the occasional good “blue” steak, that’s how I ordered my Jack’s Special ($24.50), and was thoroughly impressed that the chef wasn’t afraid to step up to the plate (pun intended). Barely seared, my tenderloin was deliciously drizzled with mushroom sauce and went down a treat with a sizeable jacket potato, asparagus and sweet corn. Exchanging bites, Flip and I agreed that the flavour and texture of his admittedly man-sized US Harris Ranch rib eye steak ($31.80) was not quite as good as mine.
Although I felt just about ready to be trundled out in a wheelbarrow, we let the courteous waitress talk us into trying the mango mousse cake ($3.50) and the brownie a la mode ($5) after only a feeble fight. I have to admit that the plates were cleared in a second.
Lawry’s The Prime Rib
#4-01/31 Mandarin Gallery
333A Orchard Road
+65 6836 3333
It would be unseemly, however, to dive straight into the stainless steel trolley that houses tonight’s massive hunk of roast prime rib of Angus beef. So, from a window table for two with a view of Orchard Road, we sip a glass of house red ($15) and ponder the short list of starters.
Sharing the jumbo shrimp ($27.90) means we won’t spoil our appetites. Remember the main event! Also, having decided on the prime rib, we’re each getting a salad, which our server Serena assembles and spins at our table with lots of ceremony. For an American salad, it’s not bad. Bring on the meat.
Aah! Here it is – the venerable Ark of the Prime Rib, rolling towards us like a promise. Resembling two Bisto kids, noses raised to the wind, we choose from five delicious serving options: for me, the California cut at $62.90 (for lighter appetites; who am I kidding?), for himself, the Lawry’s Cut ($82.90). Both come with mashed potato, gravy and Yorkshire pudding. We share a side of spinach ($7.90), but I could personally polish off double as much on my own. Spud-head Roy regrets not having ordered an Idaho potato on the side.
The English sherry trifle is moist and light, but I can’t taste any sherry, so to me it’s not the real deal. But Lawry’s is about the meat, and that was excellent. And the service? Perhaps the best in Singapore.
Morton’s The Steakhouse
Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Level 4
5 Raffles Avenue
+65 6339 3740
Devoted husband and I sank our teeth into the newly introduced mini crab cake BLTs ($33), steak fries ($16), onion rings with Thai cream sauce ($21) and Chilean sea bass with pineapple-pepper salsa ($69). DH actually pushed aside his portion of centre-cut iceberg salad ($22) and New York strip steak ($108) – two firm favourites – for the remainder of the bass. I was left to tend to the steak, the easiest and most enjoyable assignment I’ve had all year.
Brand new, yet already famous, Morton’s Legendary Sundae ($31) is huge (and that’s coming from an American, please note). Though Miss Manners might have preferred me to order a soufflé, this hot chocolate cake topped with Häagen –Dazs, caramel and whipped cream proved an irresistible combination
After dinner, I chatted with general manager Zyron Schoniwitz about the overwhelming popularity of Morton’s Happy Hour. He cautioned twice: “Get there by five,” explaining that he has had to turn customers away. And that was even before the bar started serving the mini crab cake BLTs and the Legendary Sundae.
The Prime Society
10 Dempsey Road #01-20
+65 6474 7427
Following briny Pacific oysters and the sweetest tomatoes I’ve come across in Singapore, I had the gunpowder steak ($52), a 200g piece of grain-fed Wagyu rib fillet rubbed in the chef’s own black powder. It detonated my taste buds and sparked an inexplicable impulse to go hunting in the bush. And the recommended wine – Yalumba Shiraz/Viognier 2008 – was a perfect match from a sophisticated wine list.
But the chef was far from finished with me. “You are what you eat,” he declared, bringing a 450-day grain-fed Wagyu rump cap ($52) and the impossibly marbled 600-day Japanese grain-fed Blackmore’s Wagyu (market price). Singed edges evoked a hint of smoky cereal; the vermillion meat melted in my mouth as my eyes rolled back in their sockets.
The grass-fed and fattier grain-fed cuts from New Zealand and Australia had completely different flavours and textures. The Scotch fillet ($48) delivered juicy bursts of mid-rare flavour in each bite ($42). The tenderloin was soft, smooth and delicate, demanding just a sprinkling of salt to release its splendour. Too stuffed even to try the legendary ribs and Wagyu burger, I conceded defeat and vowed to return soon for more.
Kevin F. Cox
Rocks Urban Grill + Bar
2 Marina Boulevard
+65 6438 4404
With floor-to-ceiling views of the Marina Bay Sands as its backdrop, Rocks Urban Grill + Bar is so popular with the power-suits of the CBD that you have to book for a weekday lunch. Accordingly, we decide to have an early dinner there instead.
The meal commences with sizzling beef maki ($18), which the menu describes only as “Beef. Old-fashioned mustard. Salad. Parmesan cheese.” I love this. Who needs flowery babble about drizzled emulsions when you can simply punctuate the ingredients and let the food do the talking?
But the maki doesn’t talk – it sings. Served on a scorching stone base, the crackles and snaps emanating from this dish can be heard from ten paces. A rocket salad is difficult to ruin, even harder to perfect, but I can find no fault with the Rocks’ version ($14). The Alabaster pizza ($21)is skilfully adorned withsmoked salmon, sour cream, onion and lemon juice, and the 150-day grain-fed Australian beef tenderloin ($48) is balanced, moist and perfectly complemented by sides of wild mushrooms and sautéed organic vegetables (each $8).
Room for dessert? Always. We choose the chocolate fondant ($16), a beautifully presented and delectably warm cake with a molten centre, served with a rich spoonful of rum and raisin ice cream.
This is one restaurant not to be missed. Pencil in a weekday “business dinner” with the hubby or book a Saturday night reservation for a quiet meal with all the views, but none of the melee, of the Marina Bay perimeter below.
220 Pasir Panjang Road
+65 6475 2210
Hooha Café is every bit as fun as its name suggests. From the neon signboards to the jungle-themed walls and flashing specials board, it screams after-work party.
Once we had quenched our thirsts with mango margaritas, my friend Nisa and I chose our dishes: Hooha’s famous black-pepper tenderloin ($34.90), perfectly grilled rack of lamb ($28.90) and, in true Singapore spirit, a rich and creamy laksa ($9.90).
With deep-fried banana chimichangas looming on the dessert menu, we tried our best to exercise self-restraint. But after some feeble attempts at limiting ourselves to “one more bite”, we finished every scrap of our mains. Dessert will have to wait for next time.
Restaurant manager Leonard spent time with all the café guests, at one point almost tempting us to gate-crash the karaoke session that a company party was enjoying upstairs.
But I have a better idea: I think it’s time for the Expat Living team to party at Hooha!
Block 3B River Valley Road
#01-12 The Foundry, Clarke Quay
+65 6336 7741
For drinks, I chose a caipirinha, while the kids enjoyed something different: Guarana Antarctica, a cold drink made from South American berries. We then helped ourselves to an array of green salads, pasta, a sliced bratwurst dish, a traditional beef stew and a black bean stew. Garlic bread and little cheese puffs are served directly to the table, but avoid them if you want to make the most of the meat.
At each setting are little flip cards that say No on one side and Yes on the other, so that the charismatic passadors – servers who come to you table with roasted meats on large skewers – know when to serve you. But they have a lovely knack of ignoring the No sign, and you are usually quite happy that they did.
At a churrascaria-style meal, you need to choose what you love the most and not fill up on the rest. I’d heard about the rump, and it was the best: marinated and slow-roasted, so tender that it falls off your fork. The lamb was delicious, too, as was the sirloin. Light mustard complemented the beef and a slice of grilled pineapple at half-time cleansed the palate so we could eat a bit more – and we still managed to squeeze in a small dessert!
For such a variety of good quality meat, I thought $39 per adult and $18 per child was fantastic value. Senor Santos would also be good for a group of friends, though I’m not sure I would manage to do much dancing afterwards!
The White Rabbit
39C Harding Road
+65 6473 9965
If you’re looking for a steak that breaks away from the pack in terms of presentation, flavour and sheer volume, The White Rabbit has just the thing. Priced at $168 (this is almost a kilogram of Wagyu, after all), and recommended for two to three diners, the beef is wheeled up to the table on a carving station, sliced as easily as mozzarella, and laid out on a platter in the middle of the table.
You get two free sides, too: we opted for fries with aioli, and an awesomely gooey mac and cheese. (Don’t worry, we’re not in danger of scurvy: there was a spinach salad as an appetiser.)
The flavours of the well-marbled, char-grilled beef were intense and superb. I should know, since my partner loved the restaurant’s fresh-baked bread so much that she was full after a mere 150 grams of the steak, leaving me with, oh, 700 or so.
At the risk of having my manhood questioned by male friends when they read this, I reckon the côte de bœuf could be shared by as many four people, rather than the recommended two or three. This also means you’ll have room to try something else on the menu. And it’s clear that all the food here is excellent: we visited on a Wednesday night, yet the Rabbit’s huge space – a former chapel – was packed to capacity.
Other points to note are the impeccable service and superb cocktails; I recommend the Black Forest mojito, $17. Speaking of which, the bar out the back is among the best places in the city for a drink.
Our waiter even placed our leftover Wagyu into a dainty basket crafted from aluminium foil for us to take home.
(I also hope my mates don’t read that bit.)
260 Orchard Road, #01-K5 The Heeren
+65 6737 4223
Stumped by all the options on the beverage menu, we were rescued by our waiter Ryan. (If you see him, check out the number of badges on his uniform!) He suggested a Pink Punk Cosmopolitan Martini ($12.90) and a Gold Medallist Smoothie ($6.90). The former came poured over a ball of fluffy pink cotton candy; it was as fun to drink as it was entertaining to watch the cotton candy wilt into nothing.
What followed was a feast of good ol’ home-style favourites; battered mushrooms ($9.90), Parmesan chicken quesadillas ($11.90), Jack Daniel’s Angus beef sirloin served with cheesy mash and a slightly sweet Jack Daniel’s sauce ($34.90), and, finally, a tender rack of baby back ribs with fries ($23.90). I loved how the mains came with extra dipping sauce, perfect for submerging the accompanying sides in!
I used to think nothing could take a meal more over the top than T.G.I.F.’s warm brownies, with butterscotch sauce and vanilla ice-cream ($11.90), but I’m now convinced that the chocolate peanut butter pie, clearly an ode to Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, takes the cake. Or pie.