Saturday, 8 August 2015

Bistecca - Another Dining Concepts Gem

Those crazy cats at Dining Concepts just keep rolling with an impressive array of restaurants and our exploration of their portfolio continued when we checked out one of their many steak restaurants.  Bistecca, Italian Steak Restaurant is located in Hong Kong hotspot Lan Kwai Fong and also has the distinction of being in the SCMP Good Eating Guide's top 100 tables of HK.

Bistecca is an easy walk from my work in Central, so it's pretty convenient for those after work dinners when you don't want to travel too far but get a quality meal.  Like so many restaurants in HK, you need to find the right building then head for the elevator to find the place.  I really love this about HK, it's like being transported to a new reality every time the lift door opens, each floor has a seemingly never ending stream of restaurants.  This time we walked into an exposed red brick interior that had shades of rustic Tuscany and by the time we were seated, I almost felt like we were in provincial Italy for our dinner.

Except for the window view, which was all Hong Kong!

Very much the steak restaurant, our menu was presented and it was dominated by beef from Australia and the United States, with a caption telling me that all of Bistecca's meats were carefully selected from premium butchers then aged to ensure optimum tenderness.  For those not so interested in steak, there were a few other options, including traditional antipasta, some zuppe (soups), salads and pasta.  We were there for the steak though and quickly placed our order.

One of the cool things I liked about Bistecca was the cup of fresh vegetable for us to snack on while our meals arrived,  which made a lovely change from the usual amuse bouche.  The fresh cucumber and carrot slices and cherry tomatoes were quickly devoured and we wondered why more restaurants didn't get on the healthy bandwagon!

Normally when we head out for dinner, we grab as many different options as possible, it generally makes more interesting reading, but on this night we went the same option.  Interestingly, we skipped the Australian beef and went for the American USDA prime grade beef fillets, which is generally considered the king of beef.

I'd chosen my beef medium rare and SC had chosen medium, which is a little bit of a faux pax for me (sorry SC, it should be medium rare!).  Our beef fillets were presented on round wooden boards and came with a serving of the Bistecca signature steak sauce.  The trademark of Dining Concepts restaurants is their attention to detail and quality and our steaks certainly fit the bill. Both cooked exactly as requested, the USDA prime was incredibly tender and full of flavour.  Some beef fillets can sacrifice flavour for tenderness, but this wasn't the case here, showing that the ageing process had worked to perfection.  I guess the right level of seasoning through the cooking process also played a factor in the flavour.

We'd also ordered a couple of side dishes, the grilled asparagus with herbed butter and the black truffle french fries.  There is something quite special about crispy golden french fries with the right amount of salt and then topped with truffle flakes.  The Bistecca chips were delicious and completely addictive!  We munched away and to a certain degree ignored the asparagus, which was good (especially with so much melted butter) but we didn't finish them off.

One of the things I have to get used to living in Hong Kong is the ridiculously expensive prices for beef.  We'd normally have paid about half for a steak in Australia, but I guess that's because Australia is an origin point for most of the best beef in the world!  Once I was over the sticker shock, I was able to appreciate my steak for what it was, a very high quality piece of beef, cooked to perfection!

My trip to Bistecca was memorable for another reason, for the first time ever, I'd actually seen on of those racy red Italian slicers in action.  Normally I've only ever seen them on display, usually proudly centre stage, so it was good to see that they actually get used!

Service was mostly as you'd expect from a Dining Concepts restaurant, overall pretty good, but there was a long delay with one of our sides and we'd had to ask a couple of times where our truffled chips were.  Mildly annoying, but in the scheme of things, not overly so.

We decided that Bistecca was just the sort of place that we'd love to come back to when wanting a quick meal at the end of the day.  Good quality beef, cooked perfectly!  What more could you want..

Some bread with zingy olive oil to start
Rustic inside, but purely HK on the outside!
These Ferrari Red slicers are normally only for display, it was good to see one in use
That's some big pieces of beef!!
Dry aged on site, sweet!
It was pretty quiet.
Just in case we didn't know what we were eating

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