Steak

Where:
Burnt Ends
20 Teck Lim Road
Singapore 088391

Phone:
+65 6224 3933

Price:
It really is gonna depend on how much steak and wine you order, I’d estimate around SGD90 per person including 200g of the cheapest steak each, before booze and tip (no service charge included). And it’s SG, so of course booze ain’t gonna be cheap.

The deal:
Burnt Ends is the one restaurant in Singapore that I get asked about all the time by my HK homies re: whether they should bother going.  Before I moved to Singapore (yes for the blog only homies, it’s true – I’ve left HK and it’s all about Majulah Singapura.  But why be a blog only homie?  Get onto my Fuck Yeah Insta or follow the rad as fuck Fuck Yeah Noms Facebook page or if you wanna get personal, friend the fuck out of me on my personal profile), I never made it there on my previous SG visits because I was too busy throwing myself head first through all the hawker centres ever.  Burnt Ends is definitely a restaurant that has all the indications of a restaurant that international visitors are going to be all over because it always appears on those lists.  You know, those stupid destination lists you read in the airplane magazines accompanied by a moody night time shot taken from outside the restaurant with the glow of the restaurant illuminating some beardy, tattooed chef in a leather apron with his arms crossed.  It’s also #14 on the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017 list (as sponsored by S. Pellegrino and Acqua Pana) which means from a FYN perspective it’s also highly likely to be overrated AF, overpriced and a total ball ache to get into.  For reals, when did we start giving any sort of weight from a problematic list sponsored by a WATER company, which doesn’t even require its “voters” to remain anonymous or pay for their own fucking meals??  Despite all of this, I ended up at Burnt Ends cause I still fucking love to check out hype beasts even if you’re odds on to be disappointed and destitute by the end of proceedings.

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Now I get that reservations are a pain in the ass for every restaurant because customers are total dick bags who like to no show without giving any warning which kills your ability to get dem dollars, but as a diligent booking honouring customer, I just want to be able to book my shit and not have to wait hours for a table.  Burnt Ends has this booking policy of only taking dinner bookings at early o’clock (ie. 6pm or 6:30pm) otherwise it’s walk in only.  I’m definitely too much of an old, grumpy fucker who needs instant gratification to be dealing with being told it’s going to be two hours before I can get a table, even if it means that I can wait at Potato Head Folk across the road and get involved in some fuck yeah cocktails. 

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After about 90 minutes, I’m well liquored with fuck yeah cocktails and our table is ready.  It’s the outside bench which faces onto the road, which I’m cool with but I’m guessing if you’re here for a special occasion or date night, you’re going to want to be inside so you can see the Burnt Ends show.  As a restaurant that bills itself as Modern Australian barbecue, it’s all about its custom built four tonne, dual cavity ovens and three elevation grills.  I can get behind what they’re trying to do, using wood ovens and grilling techniques to bring the best out in the fresh ingredients, letting the produce dictate what the daily menu should be. With everything that may be going on from a vibe and interior perspective, nothing can distract me from the fact that prices on this menu are substantial by the time you’re looking at whole point of being at Burnt Ends (ie. the roasted meats).  Sure there’s some affordable snacks which range from SGD10 – SGD20, but by the time you’e looking at the meat section it’s SGD26 per 100g for flank, SGD50 per 100g for striploin and if you want to get into some 45 dry aged Mayura OP Rib, you’re gonna be laying down SGD490 per kg.  Or perhaps you wanna try their famous roasted leek (with hazelnut and black truffle) at a mere SGD42 (+7% GST) – FUCK ME AND PAINT ME A POOR CONSERVATIVE for not wanting to get on board with laying down SGD42 to see just how good a leek can be.

Our server is friendly and efficient, talking us through the menu factually but not giving much more colour on top of that.  When ordering our starters, it’s clear that they aren’t gonna be big and they are designed to be eaten by one to two people.  The Grissini and Taramasalata (SGD12 +7% GST) is good fuck yeah times.  Taramasalata is a Greek dip made from bread, onions, olive oil, fish roe and lemon juice.  This brings back the memories of my Aussie-Greek friends would always bust this out at parties and as a mark of respect, I’d park myself right next to that dip bowl and pay it grave reverence by bowing my head and inhaling as much of this bread dip on more bread.  But fuck, Burnt Ends’ version surely is delicious but SGD12+ for one piece of crisp flatbread with some dip on it? I’m not so fucking down with that but it does make me estimate the cost of the Taramasalata Takedowns I’ve executed at my Greek homies’ parties at around SGD180.

Next up is the Duck Hearts Peri Peri (SGD8 +7% GST) which I’m excited about cause I fucking love organs and all their chewy, interesting textures.  There’s some peri peri sauce to give some contrast to the deep, iron of the hearts, but who fucking cares when these duck hearts are bitter little fuckers which have had the life cooked out of them?  I try to move past this by having some Sobrasada (SGD14 +7% GST), but as delicious as raw cured sausage is with bread, there’s just nothing exciting at all about this dish.  The Beef, Marmalade and Pickles (SGD14 +7% GST) is absolutely fine too, some braised beef which is using the acidity of the pickles and sweet marmalade on some more bread.  I deliberate and chew on this, trying to process what is exactly so exceptional about this place which causes the hype machine to praise it as a BEST EVER or MUST VISIT in Singapore, nay, ASIA.

The Burnt Ends’ Sanger (SGD20+7% GST) is one of their famous, signature dishes which can only explain why I ordered something which sounds like the epitome of basic, boring “OMG FOOD IS SO GOOD, I’M SUCH A FOODIE, FOOD IS LIFE” fare.  For reals, pulled pork shoulder – CHECK, coleslaw – CHECK, chipotle aioli – CHECK and you know it, my eternal and undying nemesis – brioche bun – CHECK.  Wahhhhhhh, get my hair shirt out and squeeze it onto my cliche filled body cause I’m obviously a sadomasochist fucker who wants to flog myself with the cat-o-nine tails of trendy food cliches.  The hits keep coming and even though it’s SGD20 and stuffed full of trendy food tropes, it’s so fucking tiny and most def food for ants.  I get my scalpel and surgical mask out so I can dissect this to share amongst us and find it hard to focus because my eyes are starting to glaze over as I choke back another yawn.  In that one bite there’s the pulled pork which is a bit dry and soggy coleslaw, which causes the brioche to lose its structural shit because NEWSFLASH, BRIOCHE IS GOOD FOR FUCKING NOTHING.  Oh, you know where this is going, FUCK NO.  But because it’s minuscule, I guess at least its lacklustre SGD20+ fuck no sting is swift?

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For our steak, I opted for the Flank with Burnt Onion and Bone Marrow  (SGD26 per 100g +7% GST) cause fuck no, I can’t afford no SGD50 per 100g + 7% GST striploin shenanigans.  Like most things I ate at Burnt Ends it was cooked well and tasty enough, but there’s nothing exceptional that sticks in my memory. Maybe it’s cause I cheaped out and didn’t go for the ball breaking SGD50/100g option? But I don’t think it’s unreasonable that I expect that a SGD26/100g steak option should leave some sort of impression on me other than “I guess it wasn’t fucking terrible”?

In this sea of high priced malaise, it’s the Bone Marrow Bun (SGD12 +7% GST) which finally manages to shake a little bit of fuck yeah excitement into my Burnt Ends #asiastop50 life.  A sesame flecked bun which is wrapped in foil and baked til it’s crispy as fuck on the outside but still soft on the inside with its fuck yeah bone marrow stuffing, all melted and buttery.  I have so many fuck yeah feelings regarding this bun, that I double down and get another order of it.

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So, I get that Burnt Ends’ jam is meant to be food which show cases the ingredients but there’s the difference in doing the ingredients right and not overcomplicating things, while still showing me something new and then just doing shit in a fine but completely unremarkable manner.  Burnt Ends is in no way terrible and these hyped up restaurants are always battling against expectation but for me, if I have to lay down the big bucks, I want something that makes me pause and think about what’s going on.  Not just that each bite is costing me too much money for a complete lack of excitement, regardless of whatever fancy as fuck grill and oven contraptions you may be slinging in the kitchen.

Verdict:
Fuck no because shit ain’t worth the bucks nor the no booking palaver.  But if you’re visiting Singapore and really wanna get involved, I recommend ordering two Bone Marrow Buns and smashing a glass of red before applying the appropriate hashtags to your Instagram post and moving along.  But I will concede, there’s a few people where you’d still be so fucking excited about Burnt Ends, such as:

  1. You’ve been in a coma for the last 15 years and someone using a grill on meat in a restaurant and eating something delicious on a piece of toasted bread is the most amazing concept you’ve ever heard of
  2. You like going to restaurants which are on lists because getting to tag your shit with #asias 50best, thank the chef for looking after you and listing which arbitrary ranking number it came in at because this still counts for something in your dull, desolate existence.
  3. You’re an old fucker who’s now living DA ASIA LYFE and you need to take your hot new young thing to DATE NIGHT to show you’re still hip with the homies but you also don’t want to feel too Old Man River eating a SGD45++ serve of sea urchin on a grey, soulless slate while an immaculate waitress listlessly serves you extra bitch face as you try to get your ancient bones to deal with sitting on a concrete slab bench as ambient techno discretely throbs in the background.
  4. Someone else is fucking paying, so who gives a fuck if you’re dropping all the bucks ever on pedestrian but still delicious, overpriced bits of meat on bread.

For everyone else, there’s most def more interesting and fuck yeah eats to spend your Sing Buckas on.

Where:
The Optimist
G/F, 239 Hennessy Road
Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Phone number:
+852 2433 3324 (welcome to the future yo, online bookings)

Price:
HKD800ish per person before tip (no service charge included).  This included cocktails, wine and a mega-expensive steak.  You could definitely get out for less if you didn’t order the ball breakingly expensive rib-eye steak.  Maybe HKD500ish per person?

The deal:
239 Hennessy Road in Wan Chai is the new place for restaurants, now housing Zahrabel, Pirata and El Mercado.  I feel like I’m there every fortnight at the moment and to add to the mix, The Optimist has only officially opened this week after some sort of soft opening period.  Before I decided to try it, I loaded up their website and amongst the thoughtful graphics and cool typography came across one of my FUCK NO bullshit pet peeves – menus with no goddamn prices.  WTF restaurants who do this, is it because you like to trick people into your restaurant before fucking them in the ass with a dollar sign?? Yo HK restaurants, here’s a FYN fun fact – if people see a menu with no prices, people are just gonna assume that you’re really fucking sneaky and expensive as fuck:

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Regardless of the no price scenario, I was expecting good things from The Optimist given that it is run by the same crew as Pirata with Christian Talpo and Manuel Palacio setting up a three floor venue flogging Northern Spanish food.  The ground floor is The Optimist’s bar and the impressive Rocio Martinez Amoedo design is all green foliage, wooden tables and benches, geometric tiles and warm lighting.  That’s all dandy to conjure up the feeling that you’re drinking inside a greenhouse but what is more impressive are the cocktails.  I always maintain that the hallmark of a fuck yeah cocktail is when you can tell it’s strong but it doesn’t taste like it’s strong, meaning you want to launch yourself into six beautifully balanced delicious as fuck drinks and throw consequence to the goddamn wind.  I had the Gin and Ginger (HKD100) which is pretty much the cocktail of my wet dreams – gin, mint, lime, ginger beer and a large hunk of ice and I was definitely having my Sound of Music “these are a few of my favourite things, dog bites, bee stings blah blah” moment.   I also scammed some of my homie’s Old Fashioned which is one of my all time faves and oh my yasssss, it was fucking spectacular. It was truly with a fucking heavy heart that I grudgingly decided to stop drinking cocktails to actually have proper food.

The main dining room is on the first floor and it’s cute as hell with its peacock blue walls, framed drawings of birds and light oak furniture.  Passing through the artfully filled staircase, we get seated.  While we check the menu, we are presented with a board of bread, served with a tomato based sauce and some aioli.  The Optimist’s bread game is tight but it’s dwarfed monumentally by the fuck yeah aioli which is served with it.  I was seriously having a major fuck yeah moment and our helpful waiter filled our bread and aioli up once he saw we were empty.  After we smashed it again, he promptly came back and asked if we wanted some more.  I pondered how to stop the rampant thoughts in my head that were plotting how I could find a way to smear the aioli all over my body so I could luxuriate fully in its fuck yeah awesomeness.  Our waiter came back again, offering a third refill and this is what snapped me out of this eggy lust filled reverie because even though I was all “My body’s saying let’s gooooo”, but in anticipation of actually eating proper food I knew the right answer was all:

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Our attentive waiter came back to take our order and this is when I ask him what his favourite items are on the menu or what does he recommend.  In fuck no news, our waiter homie confesses that as he’s just started, he hasn’t actually tried the food yet and he’ll have to get his manager to give us some guidance.  It just bums me out when I hear my waiter homies haven’t had the opportunity to eat the food at where they’re working.  Like they’re expected to watch people having good times and eating fuck yeah noms, while they keep smiling and asking if everything’s ok but never getting to snack down themselves.  Sharing is caring (especially when it comes to food) and I thought of this sad fuck no insight throughout my whole meal, almost wanting to push aside a little bit of each dish for him so my undeservedly hungry waiter homie could get involved as well.

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At this point a waitress shows up with some croquettes which we didn’t order.  We politely tell her that they’re not ours and she walks away quite confused.  This is where The Optimist’s slick restaurant manager glides in to smooth things over, explaining that these were on the house as he wanted us to try their Iberian ham croquettes.  Fuck yeahhhhh, free food.  But regardless of it being my favourite price, my cheese and ham croquette drug dealing homie has absolutely gamed me with my first free taste because I’ll be handing over cash for these deep fried fuck yeah croquettes next time for sure.  Especially as I smeared whatever precious aioli I had left all over these golden fuck yeah treaties.

For a starter we order a serve of the Tudela artichokes with baby squid (HKD150).  I was all heart in mouth, expecting the usual HK Spanish style of tiny-ass starters, anticipating that we were probably going to receive a singular artichoke leaf containing the tiniest curl of a baby squid tentacle for too many HK bucks.  But whoa, surprise on the upside, this starter could be shared between a few people just to have a taste and the artichokes, just charred baby squid, Iberico ham and confit onions was definitely a fuck yeah combination.

The Optimist has its own hashtag / tagline of #wegrillthings and I understand that their premise is that you’re meant to go and check out the market-like display of fish and meat before seeing what appeals and sending your protein of choice off to the charcoal grill.  I never actually saw this display but based on the menu we decided to go all in and order the Txuleta rib eye steak which range from 900g to 1.2kg in size.  As there were only three of us and as it’s HKD____ per 100g (lolzzzzz, I ain’t gonna treat you like idiots, it’s HKD110 per 100g), we were hoping to get one closer to the 900g.  Predictably, The Optimist only had large fuckers at the 1.2kg end of things which meant that we were all in for a ball tearing HKD1,320.  HELP ME, I’M NOW POOR.  The Txuleta is an on the bone Galician 45 days dry aged rib eye which is served with a side of roasted peppers and baked potatoes.  When it is presented, it’s as large and in charge as its price tag and you are immediately hit in the face by the smell of iron filled, dry aged beef.  We order ours rare and it’s most definitely hitting this bloody mark and just one juicy as fuck bite in, it’s all blue cheese and nutty dry steak fuck yeah feelings.  I’m less excited by the sides, partly because peppers / capsicum are one of the few food items that I can’t get behind ever and in sadder news, the potatoes just weren’t that exciting in texture or flavour.  Maybe I’m just a predictable fuck who only wants any sort of roasted or baked potato in my life to be a crunchy starchy motherfucker.

Upon reflection, while the Txuleta rib-eye was fucking incredible there’s a niggling feeling of “OH MY FUCKING FUCK, DID WE JUST SPEND HKD 1,320 ON A STEAK?! LIKE USD170 REAL BUCKS??”.  And while I very much enjoyed the fuck out of it, I’ve also enjoyed the fuck out of other much more reasonably priced beef based treats at other HK restaurants, including the magnificent 1kg T-Bone Bistecca Alla Fiorentina upstairs at The Optimist’s sister restaurant, Pirata, which is almost half the price at HKD750.  I fucking get it, I’m paying for the 45 days of dry aging but I’m not convinced I enjoyed those funky old beefy bastard dry aged references so much that I’d pile in again for that $$$ price tag.

We also ordered a serve of paella, billed as “Charcoal grilled rice with Iberian meats – Secreto iberico, jamon, boletus, vegetables” (HKD290).  Paella in HK often ends in so much sadness (refer:  La Paloma) but The Optimist smashed my HK battle-weary paella expectations hard.  There’s an awesome depth of flavour to its rice, the complexity built from the rich as fuck stock it was cooked in, shit tonnes of butter (yassssss), all the fuck yeah Iberian cured meats and a slightly smoky undertone from the charcoal grill.  The small pieces of boletus mushroom also provide a good textural contrast to the al dente rice.  The fact that the rice has a good al dente bite to it might seem like a small point but I’ve had any number of pathetically undercooked or mushy-ass paellas in HK Spanish restaurants.  The only thing that could have made me happier was to get a bit more socarrat crusty rice at the bottom to give me some fuck yeah crunchy feelings but this was most definitely a fucking awesome paella.

My fellow dining homie also ordered a side of roasted peppers (HKD90) as she desperately hoped it to be similar to some green pepper dish she had in Spain.  Yes, there’s always some #wandercunt chasing that authentic traveldouche moment they had in one of their global adventures.  As I’m not into peppers, I’m gonna sit out on the judgment here but really, just how excited can you get about roasted vegetables though?

The dessert menu looked pretty tidy but I was more interested in going back to the bar downstairs to launch myself into at least two to three post-dinner cocktails.  Unfortunately for me, my dining partners had mistakenly put on their Soft Cock Pants versus the requested Hard Cunt Pants so they were all pitiful complaints of “I’m sorry, I’m just too full…I gotta go home” and while my lust for well balanced fuck yeah cocktails is strong I decided it wasn’t gonna be quite the same making my face numb on my own.  Note to self, I gotta make sure I’m clearer on the dress code next time I ask people out to dinner.

Verdict:
Fuck yeah!  While the service was at times a bit all over the shop, it was well intentioned and definitely not catastrophic considering how long The Optimist has been open.  I probably wouldn’t repeat the bank breaking Txuleta $teak but it’s a cool as fuck space with decent sized fuck yeah Spanish eats and an affordable wine list which should guarantee some fun times.  If anything, I’m absolutely getting my lush self back to crush their cocktail list.

FYN Update 06 January 2016:
GUISE – I’m an asshole at the best of times but I like to give credit where fuck yeahhhh credit is due. I recently revisited The Optimist Hong Kong and shit has improved since I went in November 2015. Things to note:

  1. Their website now has prices. I definitely gave them a pizzling for that on FYN. Yo Optimist homies, thanks for listening to the feedback
  2. Service is on point now and the waiter we had definitely knew the menu and had tasted the food. Fuck yeahhhhh feeding your staff.
  3. Cause ordering ball breakingly expensive Txuleta steaks at HKD110/100g wasn’t enough for me, I went even higher and ordered the Chateaubriand at HKD150/100g (HOLY FUCK). Chateaubriand was an expensive though delicious FUCK YEAHHHH though.
  4. Aioli still remains fucking amazing and I continue to want to rub it ALL OVER MY BODY.
  5. I ordered the Arroz caldoso seafood rice which is good but the seafood charcoal crispy rice is superior. Spend the extra HKD20.

Where:
Pirata
29/F & 30/F, 239 Hennessy Rd
Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2887 0270 (fuck yeahhhh hand me my shades cause we’re in the midst of a blindingly bright technology revolution cause holy shitballs, you can book on whatsapp +852 6479 6736 and online)

Price:
We were out at HKD750 a person (before tip, as there’s no service charge), for dinner and cocktails/wine. This was for an obscene amount of food and a big ticket steak item so reckon you could easily get out for less (maybe HKD500 for food only?) and still be full as fuck.

The deal:
Last week, I went to Pirata for a fuck yeah negroni aperitif right before I got slaughtered HKD308 for garlicky, stir fried rice and another HKD308 for a salty as fuck broccoli and beef stir fry at El Mercado.  Pirata’s classic Negroni was so fucking good that in an effort to erase the painful memories of half-assed Peruvian-Japanese food, we also ended up back at Pirata afterwards to sample some of their extensive fuck yeah vermouth selections.  Pirata seemed like it had a good thing going on with its exposed industrial lighting, stripped back concrete and friendly staff which is why only one week later, I was back at 239 Hennessey Road to try Pirata for dinner.

Before I truck on with the review, I gotta make it clear that I fucking love negronis and I’m taking a stand against all the variations and twists on this, that and fucking whatever on this fuck yeah glass of Campari based perfection.  Why does everyone want to fuck the good classic shit up with adding totally unnecessary liquor to a Negroni like mescal, sake or in the most ultimate fuck no sacrilegious times, taking out the Campari?? White “Negronis”, Y U even a thing?!

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I’d ended up getting a late booking for Pirata because these fuckers are as popular as taking a nap nap in HK Ikea on the weekend.  I wasn’t too upset because that meant FUCK YEAH NEGRONI TIME at the bar while waiting for our table.  Our table was ready earlier than expected and we went down one level to the restaurant with the promise that our cocktails would come down later.  We checked out the menu which isn’t anything revolutionary, but nor is it meant to be, with their website mentioning grandmothers and grandfathers one billion times and Chef Stefano Rossi’s deal declared to be “wholesome and homely fare that pays homage to his roots”.  We put in our order and our starters arrived super promptly. Unfortunately, the same speed wasn’t applied to my homie’s pre-dinner cocktail which required multiple follow ups and only arrived long after our starters, although it was finally accompanied by many heartfelt apologies from our waitress. Fuck no, so thirsty…

Despite the tardy cocktail, the starters were solid performers. The grilled octopus skewers (HKD180) were fucking delicious, fuck yeah charred tender pieces of Mediterranean octopus and herbed whole small potatoes all on a skewer.  Despite the utterly cornball name of MMM (My Mamma’s Meatballs, HKD95), the pork and beef meatballs in a red sauce were absolutely fine but nothing exceptional.  But this is probably because my heart belongs to Posto Pubblico’s FUCK YEAH meatballs, now and forever until the end of time.  The burrata and 24 months parma ham (HKD180) was without surprises but a fuck yeah nonetheless.  I’d definitely order the creamy as fuck burrata and parma ham if I was chilling by the bar and needed aperitivo snacks as I drank a fuck tonne of Negronis.

For our pasta course, we shared the Pappardelle with Duck Ragu for the fuck yeah price of HKD150.  Pirata’s house-made pasta being the fuck yeah stand out, with a perfect thickness to give it a fuck yeah bite-through texture.  I gotta confess, I’d be more enthused about this dish if Pirata hadn’t used duck breast (which I thought was a bit dry) but all in all, the duck, onions, carrots, celery and marsala wine made the whole dish pretty fucking satisfying.  We’d ordered Pirata’s Lobster Linguini (HKD280) and I was slightly hesitant because I’ve been burned so many times by ordering lobster pastas in restaurants because you get some half-assed dish that relies on a wing and a prayer, with the prayer taking the form of a bland as fuck, overcooked crustacean ontop of some average-ass pasta and an overinflated price tag.  However, Pirata surprised on the upside, nailing a fuck yeah balance between a tasty well-cooked lobster and a tomato and basil based pasta sauce which used a lobster shell stock to keep shit interesting.  I gotta give the fuck yeah props to Pirata for ensuring that its lobster was of a decent size and while it was served with the shell on, it was broken down in such a way that it was easy to access the lobster meat without having to conduct major surgery at the table.

All of this was a solid, pleasant warm up though because the boss bitch of our meal at Pirata entered the arena, the Bistecca Alla Fiorentina which wasn’t fucking about either with its HKD750 price-tag.  But it is a massive 1kg t-bone steak, served with a side of herbed potatoes. Our waitress wheels out this fucking incredible looking T-bone masterpiece and it’s sliced tableside, before being stacked back together and presented on the table.  Fuck yeahhh, don’t be taking my bone away because I guarantee I’ll be able to get more meat off that. Aside from the sheer fuck yeah spectacle of this massive t-bone which had our table collectively sporting one massive beef related stiff, it was fucking delicious and immaculately cooked to medium rare.  There was a good layer of fat to keep the beef proceedings tasty and it had been salted and charred to give it a fuck yeah browned outside while being a glorious, juicy motherfucker inside.  I contemplated pretending that I had a dog so I could have an excuse to ask to take home the leftover t-bone, when in reality it was just gonna be yours truly sitting on my sofa, messily decimating whatever was left on the bone without the need to maintain any shred of table manners.

While Pirata also offer a butcher’s cut 500g flank steak (HKD330), I gotta put a strong FYN statement out there of whyyy would you want to waste your time with what I can only imagine to be a more restrained beef experience?  FUCK YEAH, if you do go to Pirata DO NOT pussy out and not back yourself, because you most def need to get dat Bistecca Alla Fiorentina with all of its fuck yeah grandiose, bovine beauty into your soon to be embettered existence.

I pride myself on powering the fuck through pudding but after the majestic 1kg T-bone, even my greedy-ass ways was grudgingly yielding to the idea that perhaps it’s not necessary to hate-eat my way through dessert at the end of every meal.  We asked for the bill and that’s when our waiter came back to set us up for dessert.  We politely let him know that we weren’t having dessert and he pretended that he didn’t hear us and awkwardly continued to set up small plates, and that’s when it hit me…FUCK YEAH, COMPLIMENTARY DESSERT IS INCOMING:

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It was never expressly stated whether it was because my homie’s negroni had taken half an hour to arrive at the beginning of our meal but our charming hostess let us know that we just had to have dessert.  Fuck yeahhh, I won’t say no to free dessert and we smashed our way through a panna cotta and a tiramisu. Both desserts were a fuck yeah – the panna cotta was creamy and all that good shit, set off with a just tart enough berry coulis but my increasingly cholesterol laden heart would have to award that coffee flavoured sponge filled tiramisu bastard the bigger fuck yeah.

For all the complaining about how fucking hungry I am all the time and how HK restaurants are constantly serving me small bite sized eat$ which are meant for ants, I was so stretched to my physical limits post-Pirata that I could almost see through time.  As soon as I managed to torpidly stagger through my apartment door, I had to get naked ASAP.  No, not because I was so turned on by homely, rustic fuck yeah Italian food but because I couldn’t suffer through the tyranny of a waistband anymore, as my food stuffed chassis threatened to send my buttons ricocheting across my apartment. Am I proud of the person I have become?  You better believe it.  FUCK YEAH.

Verdict:
Fuck yeahhh, I can get behind straight forward, rustic Italian eats for an appropriate price point with the option of fuck yeah negronis before hand.

Where:
GOLD by Harlan Goldstein
Level 2 , LKF Tower
33 Wyndham St.
Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2869 9986 (or unbelievably for HK – FUCK YEAH, ONLINE BOOKING)

Price:
Steak or lobster set dinner is HKD388 (+10% service charge).  Full disclosure homies, I got my free eats on – fuck yeah nom$. With wine and a few extras, you’d probably get out total at around HKD700-800.

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The deal:
Steak Frites was the hot 2014 trend where every second restaurant which opened in HK was peddling some sort of steak and fries combination, slathered predictably in some secret, signature sauce.  La Vache set the scene and then the similarly named L’Entrecote de Paris and Le Relais de l’Entrecote followed.  I gotta be real, I’m not really down with that French L’Entrecote style where they cut your steak up and serve it in a bed of sauce, over some tealight candles.  Maybe it’s a function of how fucking greedy I am, but I’ve never really struggled with finishing my steak and wishing it had been kept warm by poncy candlelight. But more than anything, I fucking hate receiving a pre-cut up steak – hey French steak homies, tell me why I can’t cut up my own fucking steak??

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Cut to the summer of 2015 and I now look fondly on the HK halcyon steak frite trend days versus the fucking atrocious fusion Korea food trend (Italian/Korean, Mexican/Korean – WHY IS THIS A FUCKING THING) and the +HKD150 burgers trend that HK is gripped by at the moment.  Harlan’s restaurant GOLD in LKF is offering this summer special til the end of August and I got my fuck yeah nom$ on with Ms This is Bullshit, my rare steak friend 4 lyfe.  The deal for everyone else that isn’t an opinionated asshole with a blog is HKD388 (+10% service charge) for either the 10oz prime grade steak or a 9oz Maine Lobster Tail served with unlimited green salad and fries.  I ain’t ever going to swing Team Lobster vs Team Beef, so I can’t advise on how Gold’s lobster is.

Ms This is Bullshit and I are all over oysters so we kick proceedings off with a couple of oysters.  As Gillardeau No. 1 oysters, it means that shit is large and in charge.  But as premium air freighted jet-fresh oysters, shit ain’t cheap either with each one clocking in at HKD58 (in addition to the steak frites set).  These briney bastards are everything I want from an oyster – firm with enough texture to verge on being crunchy with a nutty, creamy, slightly metallic tone.  I guess your choice here is to figure out if you’re cool with paying HKD58 for a singular fuck yeah oyster and if you are, get involved homies cause shit was rad.  If not, I guess figure out how you can import some live Gillardeau oysters on your own into HK for cheaper.

Some fresh foccacia is served but take my advice and leave this to save valuable stomach real estate for superior deep fried potatoes later.  The included green salad arrives and it’s actually more impressive than I thought it would be.  I was anticipating a functional though dull garden salad that you unenthusiastically chew your way through in a token nod to not being a total fat fuck who only desires to subsist on high GI carbs made from refined wheat, deep fried potatoes and various hunks of animals.  But Gold’s salad had a bit of that Asian thing going for it, reminiscent of the fuck yeah Nikuya 298 sesame salad (sorry homies, I never got around to writing it the fuck up).  Salad greens were fresh as fuck and wasn’t too heavy on the bitter greens (fuck no to salads which get too rocket / radicchio happy), toasted walnuts to give dat healthy shit some texture and most importantly, consistently tossed with a fuck yeah dressing with ginger, sesame, soy and some lemon to cut through it all.

But as if anyone really picks a steak experience on salad so it’s time for the main event, the 10oz USDA All-American super prime grade 60 day wet aged rib eye steak. Ms This is Bullshit and I had been trading messages all week about how fucking excited we were to get our rare steak times on because we want our steak to be just a shade above bloody. Gold’s steak thickness is in the middle – not being too thin but not being one of those mega-thick monsters either.  Despite this, Gold’s steak gets a fuck yeah in execution – a good char on the outside, bang on rare on the inside and for more impressive fuck yeah points, despite it being cooked rare, the steak’s fat is nicely melted through and not congealed in cold, white lumps of fuck no sadness.  It’s served with a fuck yeah jus and a whole bulb of roasted garlic.  UNFFFFFF, roasted caramelised garlic can get some.  10oz is definitely a decent fucking amount of steak but in an indication of its fuck yeah status, I forced myself to eat slowly because I wanted this fuck yeah steak to last forever.

I gotta give a shout out to the fries as well.  I fucking hate it when restaurants start dicking about with fancying up fries – either cutting them too thin into almost potato strings (so there’s no soft interior to them) or just cutting them into thicker duck fat fried chips (hai Butchers Club, imma looking at you).  I have no issue with deep fried taters in most forms but if I’m signing up for fries, I’m expecting mother fucking shoestring fries.  Gold don’t fuck about and the shoestring fries game is tight – scoring fuck yeahs on the crunchiness, temperature and no fucking about with the size/width.

If you wanna keep powering through, there’s the option to add a ‘liquid nitrogen creation dessert’ for +HKD68.  While I can’t get behind the choice to use hashtags in the promo of #tasty and #refreshing (stahhhp Harlan), I can get behind appropriately light desserts after smashing through an epic 10oz steak and all the deep fried fries.  The enigmatically named ‘liquid nitrogen creation dessert’ consists of smashed frozen yoghurt chunks, on top of an almond crumble with some thin slices of dehydrated / liquid nitrogen blasted apple.  It’s not as epic a fuck yeah as my one true love, the dessert platter at Penthouse, but even I’ll concede that this fat fucker might have struggled to take anything heavier after a massive steak frites feed.

So, when you’re weighing up whether you’re gonna go to Gold for Steak vs Lobster Frites, I’ll be real – this isn’t the cheapest deal in town but considering what other places are charging for high quality steaks it’s not the most expensive either at HKD388 (+10% service charge).  For your reference, the other steak options around town include:

  • La Vache – steak frites + a salad = HKD278 (+10% service charge)
  • Le Relais de l’Entrecote – steak frites + a salad = HKD288 (+10% service charge)
  • L’Entrecote de Paris – steak frites + a salad = HKD268 (+10% service charge)
  • Bistecca – American USDA Prime Grade Beef Fillet 8oz only = HKD398 (+10% service charge)
  • Porterhouse by LARIS – ehhh these newly established assholes have helpfully put a menu up without any fucking prices, but I remember their steak only being around HKD398 (+10% service charge) for an 8oz steak.  Sorry homies, no FYN guarantee of factual accuracy.
  • Butchers Club Steak Frites – varies depending on the cut but HKD550 (+10% service charge) for a 14oz 40 day dry aged bone-in rib eye + duck fat fries and a wedge salad.  You may or may not end up dining without power and having a waiter smash espresso martinis all over you.

I know almost everyone has a massive hard on for La Vache but I’m too fucking cantankerous to deal with their no booking policy and I just cannot with having my steak pre-cut for me cause I’m not a five year old child and I do know how to use a knife.  So if you love the La Vache deal, don’t be an asshole and go to Gold and spend the whole night bitching about how you miss the neon cow, the dessert cart and the extra HKD100+ this is costing you.  However, I really fucking enjoyed the steak frites set at Gold and fuck yeah, I can get behind a super solid 10oz juicy, tasty as fuck steak with the unlimited fries/salad for the HKD388 price point.  You might roll out of there at more than that by the time you add in red wine and oysters, but that’s gonna happen at any other steak frites joint too.

Verdict:
Fuck yeahhh, I got dem USA rare beef feels and I was dreaming about that juicy fucker for days afterwards.  Imma going back before this Summer deal’s over on my own bucks.

Where:
The Butchers Club Steak Frites
UG/F, 52-56 Staunton Street (entrance is on Aberdeen Street, just up from PMQ)
Central, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2858 9800 but snaps yo, their email reservation address was speedy.

Price:
HKD550 for the set dinner menu (salad + steak). Estimate HKD1000 each if you were doing cocktails / wine with dinner.  If you’re smashing steak, surely you want to be smashing red wine at the same time.  Service charge not included, tip is optional.

The deal:
Steak Frites / Entrecote is one of the latest dining trends (some would argue has-been) that is being trotted out across HK.  Sure HK, why don’t we open 1,234,742,101 new gourmet burger places while we’re at it?  La Vache! started it off with their bargain priced HKD258 (+10% service charge) steak and frites and then followed by L’Entrecote de Paris on Wyndham Street and Le Relais de l’Entrecote in Wan Chai. I haven’t tried any of the L’Entrecote ones as I’ve heard mixed reviews from my homies, with the strongest opinion from the reliably hungry Ms Two Serves who claimed that there wasn’t enough steak at L’Entrecote de Paris and that it was only average.  Just cannot with going to restaurants and being hungry and broke at the end.  One of our homies wanted to try The Butchers Club Steak Frites and I’m a fuck yeah fan of their steaks so with the new, shiny, healthy new year intentions thrown to one side we made a booking here (yeah SMD “no reservations” La Vache).

The Butchers Club Steak Frites menu is straight forward – HKD550 for a wedge salad to start and a 12 oz 40 Day dry aged rib eye and duck fat fries.  There’s some bullshit QR code secret menu and I don’t know why The Butchers Club persists with this secret menu bullshit for all of their restaurants when a) it’s available publicly on their goddamn website b) their normal menu has one item.  Hey BC homies, viral happens organically, stop trying so fucking hard cause I dunno if forcing your customers use their phone to scan QR codes to learn that you SECRETLY offer surf & turf or a cheese plate is entirely fucking necessary. Like seriously “Yeah, I went to this awesome restaurant last night, they have a secret menu that you have to fuck around with your QR scanner on your phone to access which was really integral to my feeling of belonging to something underground and unique” said NO-ONE FUCKING EVER.

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I started with a barrel aged Negroni cause Negronis are one of my favourite fuck yeah aperitifs and the Butchers Club Steak Frites one was all good times.  Even better, fuck yeahhhh, this Campari gin filled bastardwas only HKD90 instead of the ball breaking HKD138++ which is becoming the new fuck no norm in Hong Kong for perfectly adequate cocktails.

The chef comes out to show you the 12 oz steak but lets you know that another option is to share a 66 day aged thick ass T-bone or a prime rib (bone in) between two, while pointing out how the dry aging process is changing the steak.  Thanks for the steak education homeslice and cause I’m all about thick ass steaks so I piled in with Mr Noms to share.  Unfortunately I had to settle for an order of medium-rare.  During the early days of dating Mr Noms, I failed to complete adequate relationship due diligence meaning that my husband homie prefers his steak medium-rare to my preference for the run-the-cow-past-a-fire-and-I’ll-take-a-bite-out-of-it model.  Sometimes I can’t believe the fucking bullshit we do for love and marital harmony.  Yo FYN homies, hot tip – make sure you’re busting out this steak temperature question during the halcyon days of young love so you don’t have to make the same compromises.

Some bread comes out to start and instead of butter, it’s served with whipped dry aged rendered beef fat.  Fuck yeahhhhh that shit was real and the bread is made by Bread Elements so shit’s legit. We placed our order with our cordial waitress who was definitely on Struggle Street when it came to understanding that we wanted to do the steak sharing option, said that if two people did the shared steak and we wanted a sauce each we’d have to pay HKD10 extra for sauce (ummmmm surely if you have two people paying HKD1100 for two steak sets you each get to choose your own fucking sauce without stumping up an additional HKD10 charge for a tiny pot of sauce.  Logic eventually prevailed) and didn’t seem to understand which steak cut we wanted either.  Such was the level of confidence that we actually double checked directly with the kitchen to make sure they had our shit right.  Yo sweetpea, the items on the menu can be counted on one hand and there’s only three steaks on offer, get yo shit in order girl!

There’s an option to change the wedge salad to foie gras on brioche toast (BRIOCHE, MAH NEMESIS) for an additional HKD100, but ages ago I watched an awful video on a Canadian foie gras farm and since then I’m not so down with foie gras.  Yeah, I know that was an extreme set of circumstances and other foie gras farms have different standards but like a Kylie Minogue song, I can’t get that shit out of my head.  No judgment to my other foie gras eating homies cause that shit is fucking delicious, but I’m just all funny about dat delicious foie gras now.  Mr Noms said it was a fuck yeah and the brioche wasn’t shitty either – so get involved if that’s your thing.  The wedge salad is a hearty heart stopping affair but you new year do gooders beware cause the lettuce isn’t really serving its nutritious vegetable role, acting more as a vehicle for funnelling blue cheese sauce and thick cut maple glazed bacon into your body with some sweet ass cherry tomatoes on the side. It’s solid enough but not that revolutionary.  Hopefully they change that shit up regularly because if you were to come here all the time, I don’t know how excited I’d be to have this salad time after time.

The chef let us know our steak was resting and then shit went a little something like this:

No, 5ive didn’t show up to do a performance but The Butchers Club Steak Frites lost all power for a solid amount of time. As our steaks were resting we were in the clear to enjoy our steaks under the glow of the emergency lighting sign.  I guess all my bitching about loud venues has been heard by the Restaurant Gods cause the power black out took the music as well, which meant shit was entirely audible.  Our steaks arrived pre-cut and served between two and fuck yeahhhhhhhhhhh, dat 66 days of dry aging means that you get that intense beef flavour with the mature nutty / blue cheese flavours through it.  I fucking love this shizz and I’m happy to pay for it because that dry aging shebang is labour and time intensive.  The steak is served with your choice of sauce (HKD10 if you want another one) and the bearnaise and peppercorn sauces were tight.  The best fuck yeah sauce of the night was the chimichurri which they threw in. Shit felt medium rare but our waiter homies didn’t provide candlelight until we’d finished our steaks (Y U no provide light source earlier?) and I felt like too much of a dick move to use my phone to illuminate my meal so I could check it out.  The duck fat fries were superior to the ones I had at their burger joint but it’s only one relatively small bowl between two greedy fuckers.  The couple we were having dinner with had fries left over and were almost reluctantly eating theirs. Was it enough?  I guess I’d eaten enough fries for me to feel like I wasn’t being ripped off but fuck if there were more I would have totally smashed them.

In order to compensate for the lack of power, the kitchen comped us a cheese plate.  Fuck yeahhh free cheese times.  The power was restored and the manager asked if we wanted a digestif.  After smashing the steak, wedge salad and a cheese plate, I couldn’t face a Bailey’s (but have you ever drunk it from a shoe?) and he said what about an espresso martini.  Which is one of my favourite FUCK YEAH post dinner cocktails. Good suggestion managerial homie! Managerial homie claimed that they serve an espresso martini with a twist. Yeah son, I can play this game so I asked “What’s the twist?” and they said I’d have to wait and see.

Espresso martinis arrived in champagne flutes on a tray as a waiter homie carried them towards us and in a serious FUCK NO moment, our waiter homie clipped the tray as he was attempting to put shit down and managed to drop two glasses of espresso martinis all over me.  Sticky ass liquor and broken glass rained down around us as our waiter homie’s eyes grew wide with fear and unadulterated terror. A barely whispered sorry escaped from his mouth with his embarrassment palpable as the manager and other staff came over to try and turn shit around.

FYN’s reaction to the way my espresso martini was delivered to me:

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Clean up was ultimately well intentioned but not super slick.  They replaced one martini automatically but left a half glass there (like homies, you spill half my martini, the least you can fucking do is get me another one without me having to ask you).  I found the base of a champagne flute well after the initial clean up under my seat. When I left I had to ask for a paper bag to stash my fucked up shirt which I’d just abandoned on a chair to avoid having to publicly carry around my soiled garments for everyone to see.  Sure the manager made sure I had his details so I could claim dry cleaning if the stain wouldn’t come out of my shirt and emailed the next day to follow up as well (fuck yeah, nice touch).  They comped us our espresso martinis (not explicitly said, they just weren’t on the bill) to make up for Espressogeddon but what is the appropriate go to move is here?  Is a heartfelt apology, an offer to pay for dry cleaning if you can’t get the stain out yourself and a free martini enough to cover the emotional turmoil of going out to dinner with your homies and having to kick on to your after-dinner drinks looking like a DAB (drunk ass bitch) cause you’re soaked in cocktails, everything is sticky as fuck and then having to deal with your stained laundry on a Saturday night when you get home cause you don’t want that shit to set and stain? Fuck, I don’t know – perhaps my dignity truly is only worth HKD90??

I then thought about the fate of Mr Shaky and what are the consequences for a waiter who has an unintentional fuck up of monumental proportions.  Does he get sent to practice carrying martinis on a tray out the back for an hour at a time, with his head waiter shouting at him to be bold and to keep his eyes on the horizon, with his every failure resulting in a cruel task master shouting “YOU ARE FUCKING WORTHLESS” while broken glass shards rain down upon his nugatory existence?

So fuck, it’s clear that between the power blackout and the Espressogeddon, it was one of those fucking nights when yo shit don’t work out – some for reasons that are not entirely within control (except, I guess, don’t serve espresso martinis in tall ass champagne flutes on a tray if you are a shaky waiter).  Between a cold water wash and a soak in some bleach, my shirt survived Espressogeddon unscatched but if we look at the wash up, I still paid HKD1000 (before tip, I’ll be real though – I left a minimal tip cause my generosity wasn’t too red hot after Espressogeddon) to drink some primo cocktails, drink more than half a bottle of  fuck yeah malbec, eat a fuck yeah dry-aged steak but I also did without the modern convenience of power and I endured having champagne flutes and espresso smashed all over me at the meal’s conclusion.

Verdict:
Fuck yeah on pay day or fuck yeah if someone else is paying re: steak (cause that dry age malarky is not cheap) but so much fucking drama happened outside of the steak times that I can’t rule definitively on this one.  In the second time in FYN’s history (The Salted Pig was the first one, moved to a fuck no later) – JURY’S OUT.

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