Review: At Steak On Elgin, The Starters Outshine The Chops
Hong Kong is not short of steak lovers, but a steakhouse that is solid and consistent remains hard to find. It may seem like a simple thing, but a great steak hinges on premium quality meat and a chef’s control over temperature and cooking techniques. We were hopeful for this at Steak On Elgin, a new independent steakhouse that (finally) took over the petite space that formerly housed Tate Dining Room and Bar.
The dining room is small and elongated; it’s easy on the eye with muted tones and warm lighting throughout thanks to the globe-shaped lamps overhead. The restaurant has been designed by local interior firm Zanghellini and Holt, which also handled the cosy interiors of various steakhouses such as Wooloomooloo Prime and Buenos Aires Polo Club. You can expect an abundance of marble, wood, and leather to come together to form a warm, welcoming ambience.
The menu is small, with a short selection of appetisers. We began our meal with crudo of New Caledonian ‘Angel prawn’, where the deshelled prawns are sliced lengthwise and laid flat on the plate, garnished with microgreens and shiso cress. A drizzle of fruity Arbequina olive oil is all that is needed to dress the cold starter. Grilled Spanish octopus is the highlight of the meal, where tender, bite-sized chunks of octopus come lightly charred on the outside and served with tangy caper sauce.
Meat lovers will enjoy the wide range of beef offered. Look to the specials board and ask for recommendations from the servers. The highlights here are British and Irish beef, the latter not as common in Hong Kong. We ordered the Irish John Stone striploin and UK’s Ashdale grass-fed dry aged rib eye. Each order of steak, best served medium rare, comes with three sauces including beef jus, bearnaise sauce and pepper gravy. The steak arrived promptly after we finished our starters. Cut against the grain, both steaks seemed flatter than usual. The striploin was medium rare as requested, but the rib-eye was cooked way past medium. We preferred the striploin’s rich texture and flavour of the meat is prominent and vibrant, though seasoning for both steaks was way off, especially the rib-eye being too salty. The salt has drawn too much moisture out of the meat and rendered it tough.
The three sauces were neatly served in miniature copper pans, yet they were only lukewarm at best. The beef jus, made with an abundance of caramelised onions, was a bit bitter on the aftertaste. The bearnaise, however, was rich and a better fit for the steak. Yorkshire puddings were properly brown on the outside with a slightly custardy interior. Creamed spinach and hand-cut fries are also popular side dishes here.
Steak on Elgin offers a very small selection of desserts, and we ordered just the grandma’s boozy trifle. Aptly served in a glass, the trifle’s sponge is evenly soaked in dark rum and brandy, while the fruit and jelly worked well with the thin layer of custard and cream. It is a satisfying treat but is much better shared.
The wine list at Steak on Elgin is strong with an abundance of reds and a small selection of champagnes and whites. Guests can always consult the restaurant manager for wine pairing options and choose labels based on personal preferences. The service is warm and friendly at Steak on Elgin, and even though the team is small, service is prompt and keen. The staff are knowledgeable and enthusiastic on sharing more on the origins of their steak cuts and offer portion control suggestions at time of ordering.
Steak on Elgin offers a comfortable and satisfying dining experience, as its starters are in such high standards it brings the experience to a high, but the execution meats, despite its vast selection, needs considerable work to improve to match the same level of satisfaction it offers before they arrive at the table.
Steak On Elgin, G/F, 59 Elgin Street, Soho, Central, Hong Kong
A dinner for two at Steak On Elgin: around HK$1,900
How we rate
Each of our reviewers score restaurants based on four main criteria: setting, food, service, and drinks, taking into account more than 35 different points of reference including manners of staff, usefulness of the wine list, and whether or not the restaurant makes an effort to be environmentally aware. 5/5 indicates an exceptional experience; 4-4.5/5 is excellent; 3-3.5/5 is good to very good; and 2.5/5 or lower is average to below average. Before visiting a restaurant, the reviewers will book using a pseudonym and do not make themselves known to restaurant staff, in order to experience the venue as a regular guest—if this is not possible, or if we are recognised, we will indicate this in the review.