02 Jun Steak Ministry Bar & Grill, Glen Waverley
Steak Ministry Bar & Grill is yet another successful eatery from Craig Lane and Gerrard Velupillai, this one a New York-style steakhouse that opened in early 2014. The interior is dark and slick, and perhaps most impressively, no design firm was consulted in its making. Everything was designed and procured by themselves. Wood from Phillip Island is featured in wall panelling, ceiling fixtures and interior columns, a striking wine bottle display runs atop the long and narrow kitchen window, and large dimpled metal pendant lights cast a warm glow into the room.
The kitchen is run by Head Chef Chris Wade, whose resume spans over many international cities, from London to Whistler. He has worked under the likes of Gordon Ramsay and George Calombaris, and local experience includes Seagrass in Southgate, and also the Royal George Hotel in Kyneton, where he earned himself a chef’s hat.
Cocktails mark the beginning of our dinner. The refreshing South Side Soho mixes Premium Gin, watermelon and strawberry with Peach Aloe. Raspberry Kisses is a mix of Grey Goose Vodka, raspberry, passionfruit and cranberry juice, where high strength alcohol fuels a flame contained within the passionfruit shell. It’s not only eye-catching, but tastes good too.
A parade of starters arrive to awaken our tastebuds. Thankfully most of the dishes we try tonight are smaller taster sizes so we can cover more of the menu. Seared sea scallops are juicy and fresh, enlivened by dukkah and salty Wagyu bresaola crisps, and paired with burnt cauliflower and hazelnut puree. Part of the wagyu tasting board, the spiced Sher wagyu tartare is next. It’s a little morsel of beef seated on a sheet of puffed tendon. Looking like a miniature yellow cherry and forming the egg component of the tartare, is a dob of egg yolk gel with a microherb poked on top. The puffed tendon creates a light cracker-like sensation and the tartare is delicious.
Steak Ministry also does ribs, both as starters, and as racks for mains. We sample the crispy chicken ribs coated in a Togarashi spiced crust, moistened by Jalapeno mayo, and freshend up by sweet corn and corn dust. Our favouite is the unctuous smoked sticky lamb rib, which is coated in a Tequila glaze, Latin spices, agave and rosemary.
We do, of course, have steak as well. At the beginning of the meal we’re shown a steak board, showcasing a selection of the cuts available. T-bone, sirloin, porterhouse, flank, strip steaks and all your other favourites are there, even up to the monster 2kg Sher Wagyu Tomahawk rib eye. The eye fillet we try is a 400-day grain fed Sher Wagyu with a marble score of 7, and the other is one of today’s specials, the Master Kobe MS9+ 550-day grain fed porterhouse. Both are perfectly cooked and beautiful in taste and mouthfeel. We have a choice of several mustards to go with the steak, but I personally prefer savouring the quality of the meat by itself.
Condiments included on the plate include onion gel, pickled onions, a bone marrow croquette with panko crumb and a topping of smoked black garlic mayo, and a smear of burnt carrot puree with Katamala olive crumb.
There’s nothing like steak and potatoes. The Wagyu fat-roasted potatoes are fluffy and tasty, the New York Fries are seasoned with smoked garlic salt, and the market veggies for today, sugar snaps and snow peas, are jazzed by a gorgeous truffled parsnip puree. We also try the broccoli and rainbow radish salad, dressed with buttermilk, tarragon, black garlic and roasted almonds, and I love all the flavours and textures here.
We come to the sweet end of the meal. A taster of the Tahitian Vanilla Strawberry Cheesecake with textures of strawberry and white chocolate snow and strawberry gel arrives neatly in a glass. “Great, I love strawberries!” I think to myself. The large one looks a little pale and matte, but it would be nice to balance the preceding feast with some fruit. I go in to take a spoonful and the spoon goes right through. Not a usual occurrence, unless the strawberry is rotten, but we discover with great surprise where the cheesecake was hiding. Masquerading as a strawberry, the cheesecake even mimicks the bi-coloured interior of the fruit. It’s a light cake, not too heavy on the cheese flavour, and various sweet and tangy flavours of the chocolate snow, strawberry gel and real strawberry combine to make a great dessert.
As if that wasn’t stunning enough, we’re then presented with Steak Ministry’s signature smoking bomb, complete with the spectacle of liquid nitrogen. Taking inspiration from a Ferrero Rocher, the large sphere of hazelnut mousse is coated with roasted hazelnuts and chocolate, then showered in gold dust. Rather than having a gigantic cruncy hazelnut element in the middle, the smoking bomb instead possesses a Mozart chocolate liquer liquid center. It looks almost like a sea treasure sitting on top of its bed of chocolate popping candy, surrounded by piped swirls of chocolate and toasted marshmallow. It’s spectacular to behold and an absolute delight to eat. We have no trouble polishing this one off.
Steakhouses don’t always carry an association with fine dining, but Wade has shown a high level of finesse and creativity in the menu using high quality, locally sourced ingredients. The excellence of the food has not gone unnoticed, and the restaurant always seems to be busy, even on cold weekday nights. Steak Ministry proves you don’t have to travel to the inner suburbs for fine dining or an expertly cooked premium steak.
Disclaimer: I was invited to Steak Ministry Bar & Grill as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own and not influenced by them in any way