Everybody wants to be special. It’s cool to have an edge. That’s why steakhouses have been raising the stakes, offering beef that has been dry-aged, whisky-aged, or even aged in snow.
Beefbar doesn’t need an edge. The award-winning Hong Kong steakhouse isn’t looking to impress with Himalayan salt-lined cabinets displaying their meat in full glory.
The focus here is on provenance. Where the beef comes from — even what the cows graze on — matters to executive chef Andrea Spagoni. The Italian native has worked in high-end restaurants such as Nobu Park Lane in London, but never in a steakhouse. He spent a couple of months hitting the books for in-depth research on different breeds and origins of cattle.
“You can taste the difference between the beef. That is our main goal at Beefbar. We want to show diners how breed, origin and nourishment of the cows can end up with very different final results,” says Spagoni.
It’s a philosophy that has worked well so far. The chic steakhouse in the Central district is the only beef-centric restaurant in Hong Kong to earn a bevy of international awards. Tables here are always filled with the sharp-suited crowd, on business for lunch and romantic dates for dinner.
We caught up with Spagoni when he was at the InterContinental Singapore earlier this year for a two-night-only dinner held at Ash & Elm. His current menu spans from American and Australian prime Black Angus, Japanese Kobe beef, Korean short horn, and a special Australian Rangers Valley cross-bred wagyu.
There’s something for everyone here. The US prime is perfect for those who prefer their meat lean and mean. Pick the Kobe if you prefer more marbling. And if you’re the type who can’t decide, the Australian cross-bred wagyu is choice du jour.
“The Japanese beef is super rich in marbling. The fat actually plays a big part in creating the flavour of the beef. In a way, the fat becomes the flavour,” shares Spagoni.
It’s a classic case of how laying the groundwork pays off. Spagoni doesn’t even need to play up the sauce. With beef this good, his choice of seasoning is simply salt and pepper, before the meat goes onto a hot pan for a quick sear.
Come with a friend. Get different meats. Then throw out all proper dining etiquette and pick off each other’s plate at Beefbar. Spagoni would approve.