High Steaks in South Australia

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Jun 07, 2017

by NIGEL HOPKINS, Writer

Where to find the best in Adelaide and beyond.

Food trends change. One second it’s fried chicken and the next we’re obsessed with sushi bowls. But a great steak never, ever goes out of style – just ask Vogue’s Anna Wintour, who is apparently consumes one every day for her lunch al desko. South Australia must be very á la mode as the state boasts some of the best steak spots in the country. 

Coal Cellar + Grill

A massive coal-fired grill glows on one side of this elegant dining space while a glass-encased 3000-bottle cellar with one of the best shiraz lists in Adelaide beckons on the other. In between are happy customers tucking into a grill menu, the signature dish of which is a one-kilogram Angus tomahawk resting on roast heritage vegetables, served with Béarnaise sauce and a highly reduced red wine jus. Most, but not all, consider it a meal for two, especially if teamed with crisp duck-fat chips and a salad of roasted heirloom tomatoes with Persian fetta, sorrell and baby beets. Less formidable steaks include Mayura Station Wagyu rump or Clare Valley Gold beef fillet, which come with roasted vine-trussed tomatoes and a choice of sauces. 

Hilton Adelaide, 233 Victoria Square, Adelaide; (08) 8237 0697; coalcellarandgrill.com.au

Gaucho’s

For 25 years, Gaucho’s has been as Argentinian in style as its famed chimichurri sauce. Whole sides of beef are dry-aged for a month before being carved by meat master and head chef Chris Robinson, whose secret is to glaze and seal each steak with chimichurri before it hits the charcoal grill (and turn it only once). Gaucho’s hero steak is the costilla de bife, a 600-gram Scotch fillet on the bone, closely followed in popularity by a 500-gram ojo de bife porterhouse. Can they do something bigger to order? You bet. The current record is a three-kilogram T-bone that a Serbian concreter demolished solo in 20 minutes. He was no doubt helped by something from the excellent list of Argentinian wines.

91 Gouger Street, Adelaide; (08) 8231 2299

A Hereford Beefstouw

Winemaker and cattleman Tim Burvill has partnered with the Danish Damgaard family, founders of the A Hereford Beefstouw series of restaurants. Perhaps ironically, the result of this venture is housed in a stately 1850s Women’s Christian Temperance Union building that now features elegant Danish design – custom-made chairs, tables and cutlery. The menu is meat, meat and more meat. Naturally, there’s dry-aged, grass-fed Hereford beef including a 600-gram T-bone or a carved-at-the-table traditional chateaubriand. The star choice is the 500-gram, on-the-bone rib eye, dry-aged for 100 days. Relief is provided by the extensive salad bar.

143 Hutt Street, Adelaide; (08) 8232 6868

Pepe Cucina

Calabrian-born owner-chef Salvatore Pepe cooked in Florence and knows exactly how a bisteca alla Fiorentina should be done – in this case it clocks in at around one kilogram, so unless you’re very hungry it does the job for two diners or more. At Pepe Cucina it’s a giant Black Angus T-bone, carefully hand-cut and aged for six weeks. Pepe also insists the animal be at least 18 months old, not the usual 12 months, claiming the difference in flavour is enormous. It’s then gently seared over very hot South African charcoal for 20 minutes, salted and served rare and sliced, as per tradition. It’s best served with seasonal greens and rosemary roasted potatoes.

Shop 105, Burnside Village, 447 Portrush Road, Glenside; (08) 8379 8991 

Sosta Argentinian Kitchen

To get more Argentinian than Sosta you’d have to become a gaucho and head for the Argentine pampas. Once you’ve navigated past the empanadas and the cordonices – chargrilled quails with chimichurri sauce and lemon – you’re into the main game and seriously considering a 600-gram, grass-fed, Adelaide Hills aged T-bone, or a more modest Tasmanian 300-gram, grass-fed, Cape Grim rump steak – both given lots of love on the wood-fired grill by chef Vincenzo Aiossa. There’s a choice of sauces but nothing beats the field mushrooms with porcini and truffle.

291 Rundle Street, Adelaide; (08) 8232 6799 

Blackwood

This is not a “little Orana”, despite its acclaimed sibling upstairs it has its own distinct style and personality. Nor is Blackwood a place you’d expect serious attention to be given to steak, given its broader focus on native ingredients. But here you can enjoy the deep, savoury flavour of South Devon, Belted Galloway and even Longhorn breeds in rump, rib eye and sirloin forms. The steaks are served sliced so they’re easy to share, a good idea when the weights hit a kilogram or more. All are grass-fed and dry-aged, grilled over mallee charcoal and served with a mountain pepper sauce or simple jus.

285 Rundle Street, Adelaide; (08) 8227 0344  

Cork and Cleaver

This is old-school dining at its best and there’s no better way to begin than an exemplary steak tartare, 13 ingredients added to finely chopped beef fillet and mixed at the table. It is still every bit as good as it was 39 years ago when C&C first opened. The steaks, too, remain spot-on and there are many to choose from. The headline act is a classic chateaubriand for two, but there’s serious competition from the thick New York porterhouse, a pepper steak that’s remained unchanged on the menu since 1978, and a Black Angus scotch fillet crusted with a special house-made spice mix. Each comes with a perfectly cooked baked potato overflowing with whipped sour cream.

2 Bevington Road, Glenunga; (08) 8379 8091

Hoosegow Charcoal Restaurant

There are empanadas, fattoush salad and even Mexican chilli squid on the menu at Hoosegow Charcoal Restaurant, a multicultural lucky dip thanks to its Armenian and Lebanese owners. But one thing they really understand is cooking meat over charcoal and the smoky flavour it creates. That has attracted steak-lovers from across the city to this suburban dining outpost. The la parrilla (grill) section offers grass-fed eye fillet, scotch fillet, rib eye of the day and Waygu rump, grilled over mallee charcoal and served with a choice of salsa or, if it’s in season charred field mushrooms with asparagus, parsley butter and red wine jus.

419 Magill Road, St Morris; (08) 8332 6599

The Tasting Room

There can be no better place to find a fabulous steak than at the source of some of Australia’s finest Waygu beef, Mayura Station. Overlooking paddocks of grazing cattle with distant views of national park and the sand dunes of the Limestone Coast, The Tasting Room offers three- and four-course menus featuring various Waygu cuts, each involving different cooking techniques explained at the table by chef Mark Wright. This is rich and buttery meat, so no mega steaks here – it’s quality over quantity with portions as small as 80 to 150 grams. Customers have declared it the best steak they’ve ever tasted.

Mayura Station, Canundra Frontage Road; (08) 8733 4333

SEE ALSO: Adelaide’s 10 Best Restaurants