How much cash are you willing to spend for a little cow? Here are some of Singapore’s top steakhouses that will either bless you or bust your wallet right open.
Belle by Beaujolais
1 Ann Siang Hill | 6224 2227
The Occasion: A great first date spot or something to spice up regular weekend dinners with your spouse. Try to nab one of the two tables on the balcony that overlook the activity on busy Club Street – it’s a great people-watching spot. The atmosphere is casual and upbeat, with black-and-white tablecloths and vintage décor complementing the modern European menu. Recently opened, Belle is the prodigy of Beaujolais, a Club Street landmark since 1988.
The One to Order: Cote de Boeuf, a one-kilogram, Australian grain-fed, thick beef cut with grade-five marbling. Good for at least two people, it’s cooked the French way; grilled for at least 20 minutes and finished in the oven, depending on your “doneness” preference. Served sliced on a board with fries, salad and a choice of sauces, it’s a hearty dish, perfect to satisfy any red-meat craving.
The Others: Knowing the steak is coming, start with a simple serving of New Zealand mussels ($20) cooked in a pomodoro sauce. To finish, the white chocolate lava cake ($12) is an excellent twist on the milk chocolate version. A lighter option is the lychee jelly ($12) with lemon sorbet. Both are delicious.
The Outlay: If you’re watching pennies and waistlines, three people could easily share the Cote de Boeuf ($100), making it good value. The other steak option is the T-bone, which at $48 is priced for one person; other mains hover around the $25 mark. There’s also Stella draught beer and decent wines at respectable prices. I think we could become regulars.
Splurge: Bedrock Bar & Grill
96 Somerset Road, #01-05 Pan Pacific Serviced Suites | 6238 0054
The Occasion: Orchard Road is riddled with fast food joints and run-of-the-mill chains, so searching for post-splurge sustenance is often tricky. When you’re famished from a day of shopping or looking to reward your man’s patience for trawling around the malls with you, Bedrock Bar & Grill is a great option.
The One to Order: If you’re hunting as a pack, I recommend you tuck into the Tomahawk Steak, an on-the-bone chunk of prime ribeye weighing in from a hefty 1.6kg to 2.5kg (and priced at $96 per 400g). This grain-fed F1 wagyu from Australia is Bedrock’s pride and glory. If you like your meat a little leaner, try the USDA prime tenderloin ($89 for 240g), which is packed with flavour.
The Others: Vegans will feel surprisingly at home here, with the grilled, meaty mushroom “Steak” Diane and truffle fries ($32) a popular choice. For dessert, the apple crumble for two ($25) is an all-time favourite, thanks to its oven-baked apples, walnut streusel and over-sized scoop of vanilla ice cream; it’s so good you’ll find it difficult to put the spoon down.
The Outlay: If your wallet’s already taken a knock from the shops, the prices here are bound to add insult to injury; but servings are hefty, so you could skip appetisers. Groups would do well to home in on the “For the Table” options: the rack of lamb ($129) and twice-cooked beef ribs ($98) will feed three or four people. And make your pennies go further during the generous happy hour stretch from Monday to Saturday – between 3pm and 9pm, you can enjoy one-for-one on selected beers, house wines and spirits.
Savvy Saver: Black Angus Steakhouse
1 Tanglin Road, #01-08 Orchard Parade Hotel | 6734 1181
The Occasion: An early dinner with the kids. The service is speedy, and the booths intimate, ensuring a relaxing yet not too drawn-out meal (little darlings won’t tolerate highchairs for too long, of course) at this cosy American-style steakhouse.
The One to Order: My husband is a man who likes a good steak (preferably from Morton’s) so it was questionable how this relatively cheap steak meal (with steamed veggies and a choice of mash, jacket or fries) would go down. The eight-ounce USDA tenderfoot filet mignon ($54; one ounce of beef is around 30 grams) – all natural, air-flown, “dry aged to perfection” steak was, he says, faultless, and a completely clean plate was a testament to that. And, it was excellent value for money – about a quarter of the price of his favourite place.
The Others: Who can resist a colossal battered and fried onion, shaped like a desert flower? Not us. This is an American favourite, and it was done well here with a lovely, tangy Wild West dip. The Bourbon Street pecan pie was average, but the Florida key lime pie really hit the spot, despite the meringue having been replaced by fresh cream. Being a big fish-eater, I went for the pan-fried cod seabass with mango salsa, which was flaky, flavourful and also cooked to perfection.
The Outlay: Prices here are pretty reasonable, considering the portion sizes. You’ll need a big appetite if you’re going to take a starter (ranging from $8.50 to $23) as well as a main (steaks from $34 to $66). The set lunch is a great deal – for around $25 you get a starter, main, side order and dessert with a soft drink – though you’ll need to plan for a siesta after this one!
Splurge: Salt Grill & Sky Bar by Luke Mangan
ION Orchard, #55-01 and #56-01 | 6592 5118
The Occasion: A carnivore’s birthday or an anniversary splurge, but there’s a good choice of other modern Aussie fare, too, including vegetarian dishes. Or pop in for pre- or post-prandial drinks and perhaps tapas in the eyrie-like Sky Bar, one level up and with a stunning vista. (No, in fact, better book ahead.) High ceiling-to-floor windows give spectacular views from the 55th storey of ION Orchard, so best book a window table.
The One to Order: Served table-side, the wagyu tri-tip, from Mayura Station on the Limestone Coast of South Australia, is – like all the beef on the menu – free-range farmed. We’re assured that the wagyu is raised very similarly to how it’s done in Japan. Today’s cut is terrifically tasty and winsomely tender, thanks to an immaculate pedigree and a marble score of 9+. It’s served with baby zucchini, caramelised onion, parmesan polenta, cherry tomato and red wine jus. It’s fun experimenting with the selection of mustards provided, too. (What? No Colman’s Hot English?)
The Others: Signature appetiser sashimi of kingfish with marinated ginger and shallots and goat’s milk feta is a winner, or try the elegant tea-smoked quail with almond cream, prunes, grilled shallot and sorrel. Lovers of fillet will enjoy the 200g Maori Lakes NZ 150-day grain-fed fillet, topped with béarnaise sauce and served with giant and tender spears of grilled green asparagus.
The Outlay: Appetisers are in the range $31 to $42, and mains start from about $50. The wagyu cut of the day is “market priced”, and it’s $75 for the fillet. With views like this, though, you’re getting dinner and a show.
Savvy Saver: Outback Steakhouse
Orchard Gateway, 277 Orchard Road #04-01 (also on Millenia Walk) | 6702 6842
The Occasion: A brief respite from a quick shopping trip and the perfect spot for a lunchtime girlie catch up. Bag a booth by the window for good views of Emerald Hill and Orchard Road.
The One to Order: The ribeye ($37.90). This comes with a decent amount of marbling through its eight ounces. It’s seasoned with Outback’s secret blend of 17 different seasonings. Whatever’s in it, it tastes good, and if you like it, you can buy it. The ribeye, as with all of Outback’s steaks bar the striploin (which is from the US), is from Australia, and is grain-fed, dry-aged Angus beef.
The Others: Although the flavours of our shared starter of crab cakes ($15.90) were good, the two patties came with a little too much grease and not enough crunch on the outside. The spicy remoulade, however, was delicious. The other main of sirloin and grilled shrimp ($34.90) came with juicy corn on the cob and a pot of coleslaw, which was freshly made – a rarity here. Dessert, the “chocolate thunder from Down Under” ($14.90), was an enormous, warm chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream, cream and chocolate sauce. This was the only time conversation halted completely.
The Outlay: Prices range from $27.90 for the six-ounce sirloin to $39.90 for the steak and ribs combo. The restaurant also offers lunch specials from Monday to Friday, starting at $12.90 for a grilled pork chop with Aussie fries (more thickly cut than French), the soup of the day and a glass of soda.
Splurge: Fat Cow
1 Orchard Boulevard #01-01/02 Camden Medical Centre | 6735 0308
The Occasion: A birthday treat for the steak-lover in your life who also has an affinity for Japanese fare. If they’ve never tried Japanese steak, even better, as the first bite of steak of this calibre is nothing short of a paradigm-shifting meat-eating experience. Private tables are available, but the best place to chat up the chefs about the meal you’re about to embark on is at the U-shaped counter around the open kitchen.
The One to Order: The Japanese steaks – any of them. These steaks contain more fat than Aussie and American steaks – in a good way; rather than being marbled in thick bands, the fat is dotted throughout, buckshot style. The tiny pockets melt into the meat when cooked, producing some of the best bites of steak that I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. The grade A3 sirloin is fantastic, but consider upgrading to Iwate prefecture A5 ribeye if you have the means. Or go for the omakase tasting platter for a side-by-side taste test of Japanese, Aussie and US steaks. Each plate comes with roasted ginger soy sauce, a sudachi wedge, a mound of sea salt and a quarter thimble of yuzu kosho, a powerfully spicy citrus sauce, allowing you to dabble in different flavour contrasts as the meal progresses.
The Others: Since the meat is so rich, go light around the edges. Start with the house sea bream speciality, an unbelievable combination of raw fish and black truffle, with konbu and chives added in for good measure. The momotaro salad is a sliced Japanese tomato with spicy mizuna (Japan’s version of arugula) and ginger ponzu – so simple, yet so divine (try finding tomatoes like this at your local grocer). The red bean obanyaki (lemony pancakes with braised red beans and pink sakura floss) is an interesting end to the meal, though I’d be just as happy with one scoop of the artisanal yuzu ice cream next time.
The Outlay: Japanese steak of this quality doesn’t come cheap; expect to pay between $90 and $150 for 150 grams for the meat alone. The prices of sides and starters run the gamut – the heavenly sea bream is $38, while a bowl of homemade udon is a humble $9. Veggie sides, like eggplant glazed in honey miso and sake, lime and butter-braised mushrooms, cost between $10 and $15.
Savvy Saver: Hippopotamus Restaurant Grill
6 Raffles Boulevard #01-204/205, Marina Square | 6338 5352
The Occasion: A quick bite before the cinema or a fuss-free shopping break with the kids. This conveniently located and fun eatery is a no-frills dining experience that is ideal if you just want good quality food, quickly and affordably.
The One to Order: The highly flavoured wagyu flank (200 grams, $32.90) from Australia is a delicious cut from the abdominal muscles of the cow. It tends to be bright red in colour as it comes from a well-exercised part of the animal, and is best sliced against the grain for tenderness. Being a huge meat-lover, I ordered this steak rare and it was melt-in-the-mouth, accompanied perfectly by the pepper sauce.
The Others: The Hippo 5th Avenue burger ($17.90) combines a thick juicy beef patty with onions, salad and crispy strips of bacon. If you still have room for dessert, the French toast Nutella ($7.50) is something special, a perfect sweet treat for the kids!
The Outlay: For the quality of the steaks, this is a well-priced restaurant. Expect to pay anywhere from $30 to $40 for your steak, which includes two sides and a sauce.