How is your steak so damn delicious?
Where there’s sizzle, there’s steak. Or at least there ought to be. Melbourne loves meaty good times; here are ten of the city’s best steak purveyors.
There’s plenty of bovine action at Argentinian-themed San Telmo and only some of it is on the plates. The gaucho fit-out features cowhides on the walls, staff are clad in leather aprons and you really can’t miss the blazing parrilla (wood grill) near the entrance, where steaks are licked by flame before making their merry way to the table, perhaps in the company of inventive sides such as fried broccoli with pecorino or burnt carrots daubed with goat’s curd and thyme. Yep, San Telmo is the fully rounded meat specialist (there’s half a wood-roasted chicken with minced garlic; chipotle-and-coriander-spiced lamb rump) but it also has plenty of lovin’ for the non-meat crowd. As for the beef, it’s free-range, pasture-fed and dry-aged on the bone, with an appropriately intense flavour. Just add chimichurri.
14 Meyers Place, Melbourne; (03) 9650 5525
King of the grill on Richmond Hill, the late Vlado Gregurek may have left the building but his family continues their half-century tradition of great steak and good times. The menu is as time-honoured as the clubbish Mitteleuropean surroundings; the compulsory fixed-price dinner menu means you’ll start with sausages, proceed to slivers of grilled calf’s liver, pork neck and other meaty miscellany then move on to the main game. Steak comes in fillet, porterhouse or rump cuts and, whichever way you jump, chefs schooled in the dark arts of the charcoal grill will produce meat that’s charry on the outside, pink within and entirely delicious. There’s coleslaw and salad on the side and everyone gets to finish with strawberry crêpes. Simple.
vlados.com.au; 61 Bridge Road, Richmond; (03) 9428 5833
Steer Dining Room
A rather fancypants modern steakhouse pitched at the business crowd, Steer lurks in the backstreets of South Yarra and greets guests with a luxurious fit-out (gossamer curtains, linen-clad tables, a carpeted hush) and a roving platter displaying their range of pasture- and grain-fed beef. The Australian-raised Black Angus, Hereford and Wagyu are presented with a dizzying list of producers, scores and cuts – and the choice doesn’t end there. Five condiments, including fresh Tasmanian wasabi with soy and pickled ginger or a classic Béarnaise, go head to head with eight sides – from onion rings dusted in rosemary salt to stir-fried greens. If one cannot live on steak alone, a punchy list of entrées leans towards Asia with a subset in tataki (Harvey Bay scallops, Hiramasa kingfish, Wagyu tenderloin) as well as oysters with Champagne granita.
15 Claremont Street, South Yarra; (03) 9040 1188
Rockpool Bar & Grill
Crown isn’t a high-steaks gamble at Neil Perry’s paean to the cow. From the array of different cuts hanging in the glass display case – their age, diet and provenance duly noted on the menu – to the fabulous list of sides (the Jurassic-sized onion rings; the addictive wood-grilled corn puree with chipotle butter and manchego), Rockpool is pure class.
Crown Entertainment Complex, 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank; (03) 8648 1900
At this sophisticated eyrie above Flinders Street they know steak-eaters come in all shapes and sizes, hence a steak menu that handily triages steak by the gram into small, medium and large. A Dutchess small (150 grams) might be a genteel-sized portion but whether it’s an Angus tri-tip or a Robbins Island Wagyu flat iron, it’s certainly big on flavour heft.
The Duke of Wellington, Level 2, 146 Flinders Street, Melbourne; (03) 9810 0055
When you call a restaurant Char, you’re setting the steak bar high. Luckily, Char delivers. The steak menu is tight but expertly done (bumped out by a deliciously blackened baby half chicken with Cajun spices), and the condiment selection – pepper jus, béarnaise, mustards and horseradish – broaches no argument from the Balwyn locals.
3/346 Belmore Road, Balwyn; 0479 059 532
Fitzroy Town Hall Hotel
What chef Sean Donovan doesn’t know about steak isn’t worth knowing, and at the Fitzroy Town Hall pub he flies the flag for bovine greatness otherwise known as excellent produce, sympathetically handled. A choice of five cuts all come with their own designer side, whether it’s radicchio, blue cheese and hazelnut with the rib eye or cos, buttermilk and horseradish dressing gracing the rump cap.
166 Johnston Street, Fitzroy; (03) 9416 5055
Grossi Florentino Grill
Recently remodeled into a Tuscan grill, Guy Grossi’s hardworking, business-crowd favourite now has a wood oven and grill and isn’t afraid to use them. At this very Italian-flavoured steak restaurant, a six-strong selection of bistecca also embraces typically Mediterranean sides such as charred cos, panzanella salad and charred capsicum.
grossiflorentino.com; 80 Bourke Street, Melbourne; (03) 9662 1811
Flying the flag for the classic French steak frites, Guillaume Brahimi’s Crown bistro will conjure a Parisian street scene as well as a pitch-perfect piece of meat – from a lunchtime-ready minute steak to a mighty chateaubriand for two. Just add a side of shoestring fries.
Crown Towers Melbourne, 10/8 Whiteman Street, Southbank; (03) 8582 2052
A steakhouse of the new school, the southern US style of this Carlton juke joint extends to the additions that arrive gratis (a spicy salsa roja, peppers and char-grilled onions) and the added extras (look out for the jalapeño and bacon mac & cheese). As for the steak, whether it's a New York strip or a good old T-bone, Longhorn Saloon’s wood grill turns out a charry piece of salt-encrusted loveliness.
118 Elgin Street, Carlton; (03) 9348 4794
SEE ALSO: Melbourne’s Best Bars and Drinking Dens