Maestro of Meat
To say that Jakarta’s restaurant scene moves fast is an understatement. Eateries that serve excellent cuisine and strong concepts come and go every year as the capital’s fickle foodies look for the next trendy F&B hotspots. But those restaurants that manage to last in the long term know that the key to keeping the hungry crowds coming back is not trendiness, but impeccable consistency in both cuisine and service. And in terms of reputation, there are only a few fine-dining restaurants in the Big Durian can come close to matching that of The Steak House at the Four Seasons Jakarta.
While The Steak House has always been known for its impressive cuts of meat, grilled with great care and consideration, the venue has certainly evolved over the years. When it first opened some 18 years ago, it had a funky Americana vibe similar to what one might find in a Hard Rock Cafe. In 2007, it retooled its look to fit the mold of a high-end contemporary steakhouse. In 2008, a massive wood-burning grill was installed, which has become the restaurant’s signature centrepiece.
The Steakhouse maintains its chic, contemporary look with sleek wooden interiors, splashes of red and aboriginal Australian art adorning the walls. It is a tranquil, cozy space, with most of the background noise coming from the chefs hard at work in the semi-open kitchen. It is an ideal venue both for those looking to impress friends and for serious foodies who wish to focus on enjoying every ounce of their favourite cut.
The Steak House has seen a number of illustrious chefs manning the grill over the years. Its current maestro of meat is Executive Sous Chef Eric Pellen, who took the reins last year. A French national who comes with over 20 years of experience cooking across Europe, Asia and the Middle East, Pellen brings with him a certain continental sensibility to the restaurant’s streamlined menu of steakhouse favourites.
Pellen’s international pedigree and French culinary background most clearly come through in The Steak House’s starters, which includes a perfectly rendered crab cake – a mound of freshly shredded crustacean just barely bound together and deep-fried, paired with a piquant remoulade – and seared ahi tuna alongside a creamy, well-seasoned guacamole. These dishes, as well as others like the Chef’s Salad, with romaine lettuce, grape tomatoes, crispy bacon and crumbled blue cheese, served with pommery dressing, are certainly classic crowd pleasers, but it is the quality of the ingredients that elevates them to fine dining levels.
Of course the steaks are where Pellen and his team truly shine, though one could make the argument that, when you’re working with top grade wagyu and Australian certified angus beef, its hard to go wrong (unless the customer were to commit the sin of ordering such beautiful steaks well done). Still, there is an art to taking such cuts and cooking them to their full delicious potential. That is where The Steak House’s wood-fire grill comes into play. The wood adds an extra note of smoky savouriness to the meats, accentuating their natural texture and taste. When we visited, Pellen had introduced a special “3 Cuts” promotion that featured three cuts of prime Australian Angus beef – tenderloin, rib eye and sirloin – all on one plate.
Putting them side by side highlighted each cut’s unique qualities, such as the tenderloin’s rich, buttery texture and the rib eye’s mineral and grassy notes. Pellen’s take on classic side dishes work just as they should, complementing and contrasting the steaks. The silken mashed potatoes feature just the right touch of truffle oil, while the mushrooms medley is cooked to a meaty consistency, both elevating the ephemeral earthiness of the beef.
The Steak House is a bedrock of dependability for those looking for a virtual-guarantee of a great meal. Having stood the test of time, we’re sure that its wood-fire grill will continue to serve up superlative steaks well into the future.