Something meaty and easy on the wallet
Hi. My name is Lina Juma and I’m a proud carnivore. Every so often I crave biting into a juicy chunk of meaty fabulousness. So with new home-grown concept, The Steak Bar nicely settled into DIFC, and another location just open this week at JBR, I was determined to check it out. I’m always ready to add a new steak joint to ‘Lina’s approved list of steakhouses’. Seriously, that list exists.
Perched on DIFC‘s patio with a simplistic décor, The Steak Bar is a casual dining spot. The restaurant prides itself in offering quality meat targeting ‘steak connoisseurs’ (hmmm… maybe a better label for me than proud carnivore). Feeling carnivorous one Saturday afternoon, my husband and I visited for a late lunch. We arrived there at quite an odd hour, so we found the place almost empty, with only a couple of other occupied tables besides us. It worked out well because the waiters were very attentive.
At first glance, you find there is no beating around the bush with this menu. They’ve got six beef cuts, all USDA Prime Black Angus beef which you can order in increments of 100g, and sauces with a few options for side dishes and desserts. I opted for a 200g fillet steak cooked medium-well. I’m usually a medium kinda girl but after an unpleasant incident at another restaurant recently involving a bad steak, food poisoning and my head in a bucket, I’ve been playing it safe lately. Its all psychological at this point, but one day, somehow, I shall venture to rosier territory. All steaks are grilled over charcoal, brushed with olive oil and seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
So where were we? The waiter quickly pointed out that every steak comes with a complimentary tomato-based house-made steak sauce. Since I am not a typical fan of tomato sauces, he recommended I try the wild forest mushroom sauce. My husband ordered the black label burger, the only burger on the menu. The waiter didn’t ask my husband how he wanted his burger grilled, but then again my husband is not as fussy about his food as his loving wife. We also ordered sides of creamed spinach and mashed potatoes.
The presentation of my plate was quite clean and simple. As I cut through the fillet, I immediately noticed how tender and juicy my meat was. There was no doubt in my mind that the steak was one fresh and good quality slab of meat – but it was a little disappointing that it was cooked almost well done, and not medium-well like I had ordered. I also found myself missing that chargrilled smokey flavour I normally enjoy with steak. The mushroom sauce resembled the taste of condensed mushroom soup, with the addition of chopped mushrooms. Maybe if they added porcini, it would have helped bring about a stronger, nuttier flavour. I tried the house steak sauce which blended tomato with barbeque sauce and a kick of hot pepper. It’s really not my thing, but if you’re into tomato-based sauces, you might like it.
I appreciated that the creamed spinach was not swimming in cream, but I would have liked to have a little more on that plate. If I’m going to spend a few hours in the gym to burn off calories, I might as well indulge. Some roasted garlic would have enhanced the overall flavour. The mashed potatoes with a subtle hint of garlic were nice and fluffy – accompanied by a slice of butter mixed with sun-dried tomatoes – a pleasant surprise. Have you picked up on the fact that I’m a garlic lover too?
Luckily my husband eats slowly so I managed to steal a bite off his burger. The presentation of his dish was also clean with a nice big burger oozing with cheddar cheese begging him (me) to bite into it. It came with a generous portion of stacked steak fries on the side. There is nothing not to like about this dish. The beef patty was thick yet juicy, the bread bun held the patty and the trimmings inside quite well, and it tasted like a genuinely good, clean gourmet burger. But again, it was missing that chargrilled flavour. The fries were piping hot with a bit of the peel still on, which I love, but it was just not crispy enough.
One thing you have to try is the banoffee mess – a cute little cup of crunchy crust filled with the sweetness of toffee, whipped cream, slices of fresh ripe bananas and chopped pecans. One great mess I can live with.
Our total bill for two was AED340, which I think is good value for money. As much as I appreciated the quality of meat and the sinful dessert, the sauce and the missing chargrilled flavour left something to be desired. Having said that, we left with full stomachs and smiles on our face. The Steak Bar is worth visiting if you happen to be in the DIFC area looking for a quick bite into a good quality steak, but otherwise not worth the journey from across town. Anyhow for New Dubai residents, you can head to the new Beach Mall on JBR Walk. What do fellow steak connoisseurs look for in a steakhouse?
So who’s our new guest reviewer, Lina? “I’m a super foodie disguised as a research consultant by day. Currently based in Dubai, my favourite pastime involves cooking and munching my way through the city in search of eateries that will steal my heart. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch, drinks or snacks – if it opens today, I’ll be there tomorrow!”