The rarity of a good steak in the land of holy cows is the bane of Indian carnivores’ existence. As is our ridiculously creative usage of puns, we’re sure. When we initially wrote this article, we spoke of a culinary shift in culture in more modern cities that give us the freedom to choose what’s on our plates, but with today’s news of the Maharashtra Government having beef with our culinary choices, we are saddened to announce that we just became the 28th state to banish beef from our plates. Today, anyone found in possession or selling of beef will be fined Rs 10,000 and jailed for five years. They might be able to try and banish them from our plates, but they’re not going to be able to banish them from our minds. Or yours, for that matter, once you’ve been through these options we have lined up for you.
While they’re making it more than a little difficult for us to satisfy the ever-craving steak fiends inside us, we take a look at some of the best places serving the most delicious steaks in the city, for almost every kind of budget. We even managed to have a word with the chef de cuisine at the more upend picks for a more definitive understanding about what’s at stake. Forks and knives at the ready, people, and try not to shed a tear while you’re at it (these are emotional times). And if you’re a vegetarian, you might want to stop reading just about...now.
I. HIGH END OPTIONS
A. Two One Two (closed)
Our Pick: The Bistecca Alla Florentina
It wouldn’t be far-fetched for this Worli restaurant to lay claim to the best steaks in the city. One of the only two restaurants in the entire city to actually serve quality, imported cow meat (and not water buffalo as is the norm in almost every other restaurant) they’re entirely known for their delectable selection and their mastery over the art of creating the perfect steaks.
It’s possible to order at least five different kinds including ribeye and honest to goodness filet mignon, not to mention a one-pound Angust T-bone. Of course, the latter most could put a serious dent in your wallet at Rs. 3900 but you wouldn’t regret it. We handpicked the Bistecca because each classic Italian (Tuscan) 1 kg t-bone steak holds the flavor of the fantastic meat best as it is cooked in simple ingredients, olive oil, rosemary and salt, all of which perfectly highlight the quality of the meat.
[P.s. – Japan’s exquisite Wagyu Beef is also available here on occasion, but you’d be advised to call and check iits whereabouts in advance.]
Cost: The Best Things In Life Aren’t Free @ Rs. 1200 – Rs. 7800
[Steaks start from Rs. 1,200 and go up to as much as Rs. 3,900. They also have a 1 kg T-Bone steak that costs Rs. 7,800.While the prices are inclusive of all government taxes, they levy an extra 10% on the final bill as service tax so go prepared.]
Restaurant Speak: “The grilled steak is our USP.”
Other Than Steak: In case you’re not big on beef, the rare, sashimi grade yellow fin tuna or the grilled vegetables platter.
B. Ellipsis (Closed)
Our Pick: The classic USDA Prime Beef Tenderloin Steak
Situated in a beautiful yesteryear building in Colaba, Ellipsis is a fine dining restaurant that serves highly conceptualized modern American food. Chef Kelvin Cheug is always inventive, offering up unusual treats like popcorn grits (ground popcorn, roast mushrooms, and greens); the kogi BBQ tacos with beef tenderloin, pork belly and chilli lime slaw; the queso fundido with chorizo béchamel and truffle parmesan ice cream with caramelised popcorn to name a few.
And lest we forget what we came here for, of course their steaks are just as worthy of your drool. Like 212, this is also one of the only places to serve real beef. Unlike the twists you’ve come to associate with the rest of his menu, the steak lets the meat shine rather than slather it in hundreds of other flavours. And it’s served with just-as-simple sides, namely, potato puree, greens and jus.
Cost: An Arm & A Leg @ Rs. 2200 – 3200 without tax (But Who Needs Limbs When You’ve Got Steak?)
Other Than Steak: Chef Kel C says “Everyone loves our pork dishes, our fish is whatever we get from the market and is super fresh too.”
C. Indigo (Closed)
Our Pick: The Pepper Crusted Buffalo Tenderloin
No, not the deli that we’ve all come to know and love though they do serve a pretty good steak too but as long as we’re doing this, let’s do it right. Indigo Colaba has been around since 1999. Owned by Mr. Rahul Akerkar who also began as head chef there, Indigo pioneered the concept of fine continental dining, outside a 5-star in Mumbai.
Indigo is one of the country’s most notable fine-dining restaurants. Nestled in the by lanes of Colaba Causeway in a restored heritage bungalow, lovingly restored to exude warmth and style. The steak we’ve chosen exudes much the same and is the closest we’ve come to a work of art on this list considering it comes served with brie custard, root vegetables like carrots, potatoes, elephant yam, sweet potatoes, shallots and grlic along with homemade fig mustard.
Cost: We Wouldn’t Pay Less @ Rs. 995 (without taxes)
Restaurant Speak: Tarang Joshi, the Chef De Cuisine at Indigo recommends that the “steak is best had medium rare or medium.”
Other Than Steak: Chef Tarang Joshi recommends the grilled Portobello mushroom with red wine barley risotto or the potato ricotta cappelletti.
II. Mid Range
A. Indigo Delicatessen
Our Pick: The Filet Mignon
One of the most famous restaurants in the city, Indigo Deli (as it is fondly referred to by locals) serves western comfort food at a quality par excellence. It’s open all day between 9 am to 1.30 am and we’re fairly convinced that we’ve never eaten a bad dish here, no matter which outlet we’ve been to. The restaurant has six outlets sprawled all around the city, which means finding one of them isn’t a difficult task either.
At Indigo Deli, the fillet mignon is locally procured Buffalo Tenderloin. It is served with roasted onions, garlic, red wine juice and a choice of mashed potatoes or grilled vegetables. Executive Chef Jaideep Mukherjee suggests the best way of relishing it is, “when scorched on the outside and medium rare inside”.
Cost: Almost Cheap @ Rs 875 ( Taxes Applicable)
Restaurant Speak: “One of the issues affecting the Industry (In India) is the lack of consistent quality meat in the country due to certain restrictions imposed on importing. Even though there is steady flow of locally sourced buffalo meat, at times due to the lack of a quality / grading system the standard may vary. However at the restaurant level we ensure all meat sourced is thoroughly checked for quality, ensuring our guests relish only the best available produce,” says the executive chef, Jaideep Mukherjee.
Other Than Steak: If you don’t like beef, try the Deli fried chicken with apple slaw or the Risotto of wild mushrooms and red wine
B. Saltwater cafe
Our Pick: The House Spiced Tenderloin
Salt Water Café is the ideal culinary fall-back option for brunch, lunch, dinner and coffee, constantly switching it up with their seasonal menu. Chef Gresham Fernandes’s menu is consistently innovative, remaining one of the few menus to lay its emphasis on seasonal produce and indigenous twists. The house spiced tenderloin, a favourite for both loyal and new customers comes served with garlic whipped potatoes and a fiery whisky jus. Alcohol on your beef? Not sure it gets better than that.
Cost: A Serious Steal @ Approximately Rs. 600 (inclusive of tax)
Restaurant Speak: Definitely try the House Spiced Tenderloin.
Other Than Steak: Bacon Burger with Brie and Cranberry Chutney, potato ricotta and pea pesto gnocchi, and the pan-seared John Dory.
C. Smoke House Deli
Our Pick: House Special Tenderloin Steak
An all-day café and delicatessen, Smoke House Deli has quickly become a city favourite and spread its wings to other metropolises as well. In keeping with Impresario’s tradition, “the walls of the all-day restaurant are strewn with hand drawings full of detailed references to its surrounding areas, their inhabitants, sceneries, and history.” As far as we’re concerned, the only thing that comes as a disappointment is the fact that they shut shop as early as 11.30 p.m. so make sure you don’t get there on Bombay Standard Time. Otherwise known as late.
The steak we’ve chosen is as classic as it gets, served with a side of grilled vegetables and potato wedges.
Cost: Predictable @ Rs. 500 - 750.
Restaurant Speak: “We think of the Smoke House Delis as illustrated museums of whichever community we are in.”
Other Than Steak: Peri Peri rubbed grilled chicken and wild mushroom risotto
D. Kofuku (not steak)
Our Pick: The Japanese Hambagu
Kokufu, the casual Izakaya (sushi, Sashmi, Sukiyaki, Ramen and more) dining scores over other Japanese cuisine establishment for being unpretentious with quality Japanese food that doesn’t break the bank. It’s rare that a self-description hits the nail so on the head but this one certainly does so you’d better believe that the same goes for their delectable beef products. Our choice of steak sounds an awful lot like a hamburger but is actually a Japanese style hamburger steak.
Cost: Reasonable for something so unique @ approx. Rs. 700 for a Steak
Other Than Steak: We recommend the silken ‘Kakuni,’ silken Nagasaki styled braised pork belly and the ‘Tori Nabe,’ a Japanese chicken and vegetables table top hot pot. (Try the seafood version as well).
B. Cafe Royal
Our Pick: The Mexican Beef Chilly Steak
Open from 11 am to 1 pm, Cafe Royal is another one of those age old colaba joints that will have you pining for those few odd days you might have been willing to splurge in college what with their being characterised by their consistent food quality and large portions. And of course, the restaurant serves all kinds of steaks. Our pick, the Mexican Beef Chilly Steak, is served with herbal rice and vegetables. Our other favourite is the Steak Royal, which is served with mashed potatoes, caramelised onions and a merlot wine glaze. We’re fans of both and neither are authentic but it’s unlikely your cravings won’t be fulfilled to some extent.
Cost: You’ll Be Full For Days @ Rs. 475
Other than Steak: The Indiana Jones, which is essentially chargrilled chicken tikka infused with paprika sauce. We told you it was reminiscent of college royalty.
C. Sassy Spoon
Our Pick: The Ranch Style Steak With Queso & Salsa
The Sassy Spoon offers a wonderful dining experience overall – the ambience, the decor, and especially the food. They shut shop between 3.30 and 7 pm, but while they’re open, they serve a variety of cuisines, and some of the best steaks in this mid-level price range. Thei ranch style steak is totally unauthentic and totally delicious. Because Mexican + Steak = Perfection.
Cost: Not Too Shabby @ Rs. 600 – 800 Especially Since You Won’t Be Able To Finish It!
Other Than Steak: Honey roasted duck breasts with swiss chard and coriander quinoa.
D. Cafe Mocambo
Our Pick: The Bistecca Bismarck
Much like Café Royal, this spacious cafe has served generations, and still sees loyal customers come in for a meal with good reason. They have a separate section for the steaks on their menu cards, and all the steaks are grilled to order. It is generally open from 11.30 am to 11.30 pm so it’s undoubtedly one of the best places for a strangely timed steak craving. The Bistecca Bismarck is essentially a grilled steak, topped with a fried egg, cheese and spiced Tomato sauce.
Cost: Better Than Buying Some Imported Beer @ Rs. 425
Other Than Steak: Roast chicken breast with Bacon dripping, served in its own pan sauce. Drool.
E. Café Nemo (closed)
Our Pick: The Galbi Steak
Call it the luck of threes but restaurateurs Anup Gandhi, Neville Timbadia & Sahil Timbadia have just pulled yet another rabbit out of their delectable hat (they also started Bonobo and Jamjar Diner prior to this) in the form of Worli’s Café Nemo, once better known as Cool Chef Café. And despite their newbie status, we can already vouch for the fact that their Asian-influenced Galbi steak is one of the best your (mid-range) money can buy.
Galbi refers to grilled dishes generally made with marinated beef in korean soy, sugar, ginger, corn syrup. It’s 200 grams 2 pcs steak (100g each) and they serve it with hassle back potato, stir-fried morning glory, and soy based jus. If you’re a fan of subtly infused Asian flavours, this steak will quickly become your go-to.
Cost: Well Worth It @ Rs. 537
“The menu has strong Asian-influences but the best way to describe Café Nemo’s innovative food menu is agnostic.”
Other Than Steak: Crispy Pimento Chicken, Seoul Bowl with Pork or Chicken, Noodle Bowl with Chicken and Shrimp. Vegetarians should try their vegetarian Seoul Bowl.
II. Comparatively Cheaper Options
A. New Martin
Our Pick: Steak, Onion And Chips
We have an age-old allegiance to this hole-in-the-wall that fed us when were more broke than we’ve ever been as college students, and fed us well at that. A tiny, relatively unknown place in Colaba, New Martin’s offers excellent flavours, well cooked meat, and decent portion sizes – all at an unbelievably cheap rate. The ambience isn’t for everyone seeing as to how you have to sit wherever you get room which usually means a strange, slightly unwelcoming neighbor but the food is good enough to break any ice. And the steak. Oh, the steak. A nice juicy chunk of meat, slathered in generous dollops of a brown gravy whose ingredients you’ll never know and should never try to know, all topped off with a mighty heap of fried onions.
Cost: If You Complain About This, You Don’t Deserve This List @ Rs. 140!
Restaurant Speak: New Martin does not waste time with interviews. They don’t need the publicity and they never will.
Other than Steak: Bacon and Eggs for 75 bucks!
Our Pick: The Imbiss Buffalo Steak
Said to be “Beyond value for money,” Imbiss is a well known name among meat lovers in the city. It also happens to be a favourite order-in for the HG team seeing as to how our office is situated a 100 feet away from it! The restaurant serves meat generally cooked in German style in large portions for a very reasonable amount. Things you should know--it’s a little difficult to locate, and is shut on Mondays. On other days, it is shut between 3 to 6 PM but at all other times, it’s a quick fix for any blues. And as for the steak, full points for their honesty in being the only ones to proudly wear their ‘buffalo’ tags out in the open for all meat lovers to see. The buffalo steak is tender, juicy, grilled to your choice and served with mashed potatoes and jus.
Cost: What Is This? We Don’t [email protected] Rs 180 for a steak
Other Than Steak: Definitely the chorizo rice topped off with a fried duck egg. The perfect hangover remedy for any day of the week.
Compiled By: Homegrown Staff