Photos by Chong Yap of Make Your Calories Count
When it comes to steakhouses in Singapore, few realise the gem in Long Bar Steakhouse amidst the lush greenery and colonial building of Raffles Hotel. The Long Bar would be no stranger to most, even tourists as bartender Ngiam Tong Boon first created the nation's iconic Singapore Sling a century ago in 1915.
Located adjacent to the Long Bar is this inconspicuous-looking steakhouse that was established back in 2000. Specialising in grilled prime cuts of Australian and US beef, quality seafood and a variation of appetisers, guests can expect a warm greeting, literally, from the open kitchen that anchors the restaurant.
Many might not be familiar with the Tomahawk steak but you would probably have tried it in its other rendition, the rib-eye steak. The difference lies in the impressive display of the entire Frenched bone-in for the Tomahawk though it offers the exact same cut as the rib-eye.
Resembling the Tomahawk axe which thereby gives the steak its name, it is not common to find this in steakhouses given the relatively expensive price tag. More importantly, not many chefs can prepare such a large piece of prized meat well and therefore do not offer it on the menu. The Long Bar Steakhouse offers this only for the month of October 2015 due to the exclusively limited quantity available.
Let us get started on a gastronomic journey!
We thought that the service started somewhat shaky with the complimentary bread served somewhat disappointing. If anything, one would expect warm bakes to be served to assure diners that food are prepared fresh.
The classic starter at the steakhouse is this sampler set which comprised the Dungeness Crab Cake, Seared Scallops and Scottish Smoked Salmon.
Cooked perfectly with a light char on the surface, the execution was done just right, retaining firmness in the delicate scallop. The generous slice of smoked salmon was a delight and accompanied with some greens, helped adjusted one's palate for the next star appetiser - the more flavourful crab cake.
The crab cake differentiated strongly with its freshness and more importantly the lovely curried celeriac remoulade which gave a hint of spice and creaminess to it. The robust and depth in flavours in the crab cake helped prepared our expectations for the savoury main coming up!
Coming in at least 1.7kg heavy, its Tomahawk Steak Special is a special only for the month of October 2015 and falls on the steakhouse's premium list of cuts. Air-flown from Australia, the grain-fed tomahawk has higher marbling than the usual grass-fed renditions.
With at least two inches thick, the steak was placed on the grill for about five minutes on each side for the lovely grill lines and also to help get that lovely crust on the surface. It is then moved into an oven to cook for additional 20-30 minutes before allowing the steak to rest for at least 10 minutes. This helps to retain a juicy core after getting it to the desired medium-rare level.
Lightly seasoned with just salt and pepper, it allows the natural flavours of the beautiful steak to shine. The execution of the cooking was perfect, with no room for error as everyone at the table enjoyed at least three thick slices of the steak. The lovely pink colour spotted upon service lifted a smile on everyone's faces instantly. The marbling on the steak made it almost a melt-in-the-mouth affair with charred crisps on the edges that got me completely smitten.
One Tomahawk steak is good to share among two to three pax as you get about 800 grams nett of meat so it should feed everyone nicely. Apart from the perfectly done steak, the sides such as sauteed broccoli, french fries with truffle salt and mac & cheese were companions to a star. The side orders are all priced at S$9/++ each and also include mashed potato and asparagus with sun-dried tomatoes.
As with any upscale steakhouses, wine-pairing is almost a given so do check with the service team on how best to complement your steak.
Served with mixed berries and a nicely scooped raspberry sorbet, I liked that the richness of the cheesecake did not overwhelm, especially after a heavy main. On a separate occasion, I would generally prefer a creamy and rich cheesecake but this light version suited the course well. The freshness and tang from the berries, particularly from the raspberry sorbet cleaned our palate. A very tropical dessert that was elegantly plated to conclude an evening of gorgeous calories.
With a smart casual dress code that needs to be observed by the guests, the restaurant is definitely prime. What we liked about the team servicing our table was their attentiveness such as bringing a stool for our bags. Despite the somewhat lacklustre start to our dinner, the three-course dinner was executed well, from appetisers through to the tomahawk steak before ending strongly with a sweet decadence in that cheesecake well-balanced with other components on the plate.
It is always challenging for the chefs and everyone working hard at the open kitchen since all are exposed to public scrutiny but I thought that the team pulled off an impressive dinner. Consider us ignorant, but we are more familiar with the other restaurants at Raffles Hotel, now we know where is a good steakhouse in Singapore that would impress.
Hurry down as this exclusive special offering of the Tomahawk steak is only available this month!
Overall Verdict: 8.5/10
Long Bar Steakhouse
Raffles Hotel, #02-00
1 Beach Road
Tel: (65) 6412 1816