The last couple of days I’ve done a comparison between what is reputed to be Singapore’s best steakhouse, It’s Lawry’s, and what is fast becoming known as Perth’s only steakhouse to go to, which is called Hippo Creek.
You would expect that if you were going to a cosmopolitan international city like Singapore, it would be absolutely the best of the choices. I went to Lawry’s with some good friends of mine, Valerie Ring and Douglas Ong. We had a great time. They serve in a very unusual style. When the young servers came to the table, they suggested to us that the chef would bring the meal to us. The beef was presented to the side of our table and we could choose how it was cooked, from blue, which is just slightly warm, rare right through to well-done, and we could pick different styles of how the meat was cut. Valerie is a vegetarian so she wasn’t into the meat at all. Douglas and I, we love our meat. He had a rare steak, cut
very thin. It looked absolutely fantastic. I chose a diamond cut, which is a thick cut, and it was medium-rare.
Here’s the really interesting stuff. We were served wine with the meal. I chose a bottle of Cape Mentelle from my hometown of Margaret River. It was very, very expensive in Singapore, over $100 a bottle. One of the problems of being in a restaurant where the servers don’t drink, is that they don’t know how to serve it. It needed to be decanted because it wasn’t the best example of the Cape Mentelle Red, and the servers wanted to keep topping the glass up all the time.It was okay. It was palatable. On a rating scale
I would say it was a 5 out of 10 because it was obviously overpriced, and we only had a little glass of it. Douglas and I shared the bottle. It was really okay.
Getting to the steak, it’s a known requirement of a steakhouse that you have really good steak knives. As the meat is cooked rarer, you really do need a sharp knife to do it. On knife number seven, I’m not exaggerating, it was the first time I had a knife that could cut the steak. It was absolutely, beautiful, there was nothing wrong with it. It was just medium-
rare. It needs to be cooked so you need to be able to cut it.
Compare that to the steakhouse in my hometown, Perth. This week, a great colleague of mine, Dennis Hall, was in town, and on Thursday evening, which is not normally known as being a busy night in restaurants in Perth, we decided to go to Hippo Creek in Subiaco. Hippo Creek is fast becoming well-known in Perth for steaks. It has two restaurants, one at Hillarys Boat Harbour and one in Subiaco. For those of you who don’t know, Subiaco is
Perth’s up-market suburb.
We got there about 6:30, quarter to 7:00. It was very uninviting from the outside but we went in and said, “There are two of us.” The person that greeted us, who we later understood to be the head chef or the owner, said, ”We’re fully booked. You might have to wait an hour. What I’ll do is I’ll get the young lady who was looking after everybody, the maitre d’ whose name is Claire Kelly, that’s her across there dressed in red – she’ll come
across and have a chat with you and see what she can do.” Claire comes across to greet Dennis and I and she said, “The best place that I can seat you is at the bar, but we will set it for you.” We said, “That’s fine. We would really like to see what Hippo Creek is about.”
A table was rapidly set for us at the tall tables near the bar, with a full setting at the tall tables near the bar. It took no time at all. The young staff fussed around and made us
welcome, and explained to us the ways the steaks worked and all sorts of things. The impression was really fantastic. Claire came back and asked, ”How do you like your steak? These are the ways that it comes. It’s more tasty if it’s not feed lot selected,” all those amazing things.
Dennis selected his and I selected mine. I’m sure Lauren will put up a picture of my half-eaten steak. It was fantastic! The service was even better, and the steak knives were superb. A bit later in the evening I told Claire about my challenge with the steak knives up in Singapore at Lawry’s, and I said Meat & Wine in the city of Melbourne has a special knife locker where you have your special steak knife and they keep it at the restaurant
for you. Isn’t that client loyalty, special favors for good clients? She said, “Oh, we’ve got one of those, too. If you come regularly you can select your knife and we’ll keep it for you. Nobody else will use it.”
We had wine. I don’t really recall other than it was Margaret River Red.
One of the really interesting things in the last few days is I found out about an iPad app called iHi. In a noisy restaurant, as Hippo Creek was on Thursday night, I tried it, and I’ve asked young Lauren, who is putting together the video here, to do a screenshot of how we ordered the coffee and our red wine. On iPhone apps, the pro version of iHi is absolutely
How do I rate our restaurant adventures? Lawry’s in Singapore, reputed to be the best in that magnificent city, I give a 5 out of 10. It was overpriced, $400 for three of us. The wine at $100 a bottle, which in Perth would be maybe $25, the staff didn’t know about the best way to have steak, and whilst I was embarrassed about finding a knife sharp enough to cut my steak, I am sure that they saw that I was complaining but they kept a happy face. All in all, I really wouldn’t be recommending to anybody who had to have a steak meal to try Lawry’s in Singapore.
However, I’d give Hippo Creek a 10 out of 10. On a busy night they made us feel welcomed. The service was superb. In Perth, you might not know we get transients and visitors being servers in the best restaurants. Claire Kelly must have been doing a good job, because her team was fantastic. How would I rate Hippo Creek? A must-visit, pretty close to a 10 out of 10. For Dennis and I, amazing steak and the desserts are to die for. You have to look at the pictures of that. For the two of us it was $165, about 30% less
than the meal we had in Singapore.
To sum up, get the iPhone app, iHi. When in Singapore, maybe another place other than Lawry’s to try steak. There are some fabulous restaurants in Singapore, which I’ll talk about next time. If you’re visiting Perth, either Subiaco or Hillarys Boat Harbour, put on your list of must-do. Make a visit to Hippo Creek and try their steak. It is just extraordinary.
Until next time, this is Wayne Mansfield.
Well not quite, I had lunch with a friend yesterday at Hillary’s Boat Harbour where the choice of eating venues are many and varied, from all chocolate at San Churro to Hippo Creek, a meat eaters delight. We chose a fairly new venue at the marina called Grill’d, healthy hamburgers, really they are, check it out.
My love affair with food and my passion for Perth. I had high hopes for my steak though, hadn’t been disappointed with Hippo Creek‘s beef in the past. This was a hard decision though because Hippo Creek‘s ‘monkey gland’ sauce is famous. I love Perth and I love food. Perthmunchkin Perth restaurants.
I would go there again if I had the chance, but I probably wouldn’t dine there, we just might try out the local restaurants in the area…or splurge out at Hippo Creek. Share the love. Love all things food, passionate about things of God, OT by weekday and baker by weekend. Be the first to like this post.
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