It is early evening on a Friday night, and the sun has yet to set outside, but Wolfgang’s Steakhouse (at the new Intercontinental in Robertson Quay) is already packed with diners, ready to sample the restaurant’s signature USDA prime black Angus beef that has been dry-aged in-house.
The first New York-style steakhouse in Singapore, Wolfgang’s has been booked out nearly every evening since Wolfgang Zweiner and his son Peter launched it here in October 2017.
While Wolfgang’s success is undeniably testament to the fact that the quality of their meats is top-notch, it is also a clear indication that diners here love a good steak, and explains why the market has been steadily growing the past few years.
From the one-Michelin-starred CUT by Wolfgang Puck with its dizzying array of meat choices, to the soon-to-be relaunched Bistecca with its signature Bistecca alla Fiorentina, and the new 665°F at Andaz Singapore with its spectacular views, there are steakhouses galore to suit all tastes and occasions.
“People always leave a steakhouse well-fed. It is why good steakhouses are always full.”
Wes Guild, group manager at Bistecca
That steakhouses are in hot demand is unsurprising, explains Bistecca’s group manager Wes Guild who was previously general manager at CUT. “Steak is lush,” he says. “A good hunk of meat on the table makes for a very satisfying sight thus making steak a very popular choice for dinners and special occasions. People always leave a steakhouse well-fed. It is why good steakhouses are always full.”
Guild adds: “On the business side, it helps that steaks are high-ticket items, and that people always have wine with it. This is why steakhouses are a popular choice with restaurateurs.”
That said, with so many options flooding the market, competition is undeniably stiff and standing out, can be difficult.
One way to do so, explains CUT’s executive chef Joshua Brown, is by constantly growing and evolving the menu: “When CUT started in 2010, we focused heavily on Angus and Wagyu beef selections. Over the years, as we built a closer relationship with our meat vendors, we have been able to explore and bring in new sources of cattle and rare heritage beefs, such as the Red Poll and Longhorn.”
“We believe in deliberate sourcing from farmers whom we have close relationships with, allowing us to obtain the best produce.”
Chris Hibbert, executive sous chef at SKIRT
Over at W Singapore’s SKIRT, its main point of differentiation is its focus on sustainability. “SKIRT’s objective is to take guests back to nature with sustainably sourced prime cuts of meat and seafood,” reveals its executive sous chef Chris Hibbert. “We believe in deliberate sourcing from farmers whom we have close relationships with, allowing us to obtain the best produce.”
Goodwood Park Hotel’s Gordon Grill may have been serving steaks since 1963, but continues to introduce new initiatives such as the Weekend Roast Lunch that it launched in January 2017, featuring the restaurant’s iconic meat wagon.
Even so, despite the fact that more diners are starting to know their Wagyus from their Kobes, and the demand for good meat remains high, the question remains: is the market too saturated for new players?
Not as long as you stick to what you do best and nail the steak, declares Bistecca’s Wes Guild: “If you serve great steak, there will always be space for you, new or otherwise.”
Wolfgang’s Peter Zwiener agrees: “The hero’s the steak, always.”