According to the US Department of Agriculture, Hong Kong is per capita the largest consumer of meat in the world (foreign surveillance never stops, does it?). There’s an abundance of steakhouses here, but if you think it can’t be that hard to run a successful steakhouse, you’d be wrong. Competition to secure the best suppliers is fierce, and since preparation of the key ingredient is relatively simple, to stand out the restaurant needs to display flair across the board, from appetisers to desserts.
Beefbar started in Monaco as an affluent steak house. Founded by European meat importer Riccardo Giraudi, the restaurant is renowned as a place to see and be seen – though it wouldn’t have been such a success if it wasn’t also a place to grab some decent meat while your eyes roam. After expanding to some of the most luxe locations around the globe, such as Moscow and the Greek island of Mykonos, Lai Sun F&B Management has brought this opulent establishment to our fair shores.
Instead of anything indicating this is in fact a steak house, Beefbar’s reception consists of slabs upon slabs of white marble, which exude a cool and prestigious vibe. The pooled lighting and monochrome interiors continue through to the dining room, giving the impression of a pristine and other-worldly ambience.
With a meat importer as its founder, premium supply shouldn’t be a problem, so we endeavour to find out how much of the menu lives up to expectations. It’s comprehensive – appetisers range from a raw bar and a specialty Kobe bar to soups and salads. Then there’s black Angus from the US and Australia, Kobe beef, veal, pork, chicken, lamb and fish. And if for some reason you’ve ended up here not in a meaty mood, there is a pasta and a vegetarian risotto option too.
We start the evening with a beef tataki ($150) and sea bass ceviche ($150). The meat arrives with shredded celery, alongside walnut in a wafu-like dressing. Disappointingly, the beef is a little overcooked, lacking in pink, but it’s thinly sliced so the texture isn’t compromised. The vegetable and nuts bring a nice crunch to the bite, while the acidity stimulates the appetite – a fair start. Beautifully plated, the ceviche arrives dotted with saffron dressing, fennel leaves and mandarin peel. The citrus and sharp herbal notes are harmonised with the creamy dressing, providing a fresh and well-balanced taste.
Following these strong entrées we’re eager to dig into the main meats. First up is the milk-fed Dutch veal ($380), dusted with a spice rub, the veal is thick cut and pink at the centre. The only suitable word to describe the texture is ‘perfect’, and the generous slab highlights the subtle flavours of the tender meat. On the other end of the scale is the wagyu hanger steak ($280). Dark and charred, the cut is richly flavoured and melt-in-your mouth soft. The quality of Beefbar’s meat is phenomenal – cuts of this grade are only available to restaurants with outstanding connections. We find relief from all the meaty flavours in the basil mashed potato ($80). The unexpected bright green colouring can only be the result of using concentrated amounts of the herb. It makes the silky texture of this classic comfort food devoid of its usual buttery richness, and replaces it instead with the crisp notes of basil. This side dish is a home run that smacks our expectations out of the ballpark.
For dessert, we share a pistachio and cherry soufflé ($180, serves two). The sizable portion comes in an appealing copper pot with a fluffy consistency on the outside and a slightly runny, molten centre. Pistachio is a curious flavour, as in many cases it tends to dull on the palate and become non-existent in any dessert after the first few spoonfuls. That’s not the case here at all. Sour cherries are baked into the soufflé, and also served on the side, and the fruit breaks the perfume of the seed, giving a chance for the aromas to keep seeping back, hanging on to the final bite.
There’s already a plethora of steakhouses in town, but if you’re the kind of flesh-seeking T-rex who wants to be impressed by more than just the meat, Beefbar offers sides, starters and desserts that are also a cut above. With a sophisticated ambience to match, Beefbar ticks all the right boxes for a good meal out.
2/F, Club Lusitano, 16 Ice House St, Central