PHUKET: In this so-called “New Age” of raw food fads, organic salads and whole grain sustainability sometimes it is necessary to go all out for what all macho real-red-meat- eaters really crave – a great big juicy steak. We hear there is a new steak venue on the island and as part of our New Year celebrations my male colleague and I, both confirmed carnivores, go in search of that elusive rarity – the perfect steak.
Following an extensive US$30 million refurbishment, the Angsana Laguna Phuket, now the flagship property of Angsana Hotels & Resorts worldwide, occupies the site of the former Sheraton Grande Laguna Phuket.
The refreshed and restyled resort offers a variety of dining options, from Market Place, the resort’s all-day dining venue; Baan Talay and Loy Krathong, serving sunset cocktails and Asian tapas; Canal Bakery, which serves fresh baked pastries, sandwiches and those healthy PC salads and juices and the Bodega & Grill, featuring premium char-grilled steaks, roasted fish and seafood which is where we have come to find the object our meat obsession.
Featuring the best of Italian and Mediterranean cuisine in an elegant indoor or al fresco setting the Bodega & Grill is situated on a picturesquely landscaped patio overlooking the lagoon but we are not here for the view and given the task ahead we opt for the air conditioned comfort indoors.
Executive Chef Mirko Cappa with over 20 years of culinary experience, is the perfect accomplice in our bloodthirsty quest. Having established what we are looking for and gauging our impressive combined body mass index he recommends we plump for the signature Tomahawk (9,375 baht) a generous 1.2 kilogram hunk of Jackcreek wagyu beef designed to accommodate three to four “normal” diners.
Chef Mirko then proceeds to question us on our predilections pertaining to sauces, side dishes and the most important question of all “How rare do you want it”? Explaining that the meat is presented on a large cast iron skillet resting on a wooden platter he recommends that we choose slightly under our optimal expectation as the meat will continue cooking a little while we eat.
After negotiation we all decide on medium rare to rare but with more emphasis on the rare. This is first time I have ordered a bespoke steak, but then this piece of tender meat was grain fed for up to 500 days so deserves only the utmost respect. By this time our own juices are flowing and to keep us from chewing the table cloth we are offered an exquisite selection of hors d’oeuvres washed down with a beautiful Italian Chardonnay. There was an oyster served in a Margarita (I will never be able to eat an oyster any other way again), pan-fried foie gras with caramelized apple, a duo of salmon and tuna tartare and a salt cod and crab croquette – all fantastic.
At this point we are joined by Bastien Giannetti who will manage the Angsana Beach Club due to open in March. On being told by his fellow countryman and colleague of the wise choice we have made with regards to our bespoke main course, Bastien joins our hedonistic conspiracy and suggests we “Let the meat determine the wine and not the other way around.”
We do not argue and are proffered a special selection 2009 La Volte from Tuscany which is light but with just enough tannins to cut through our rich reward.
Angsana is great place to eat and these two professionals really offer the full package when it comes to gastronomic pampering. “If you love meat you must try our signature Beach Club Steak Tartar once we open,” he says as he leaves us to our food.
Bodega & Grill also specializes in authentic homemade pastas, risottos and paellas as well as roasted fish and seafood prepared in a wood-fired oven, but we will have to return another time for that as our mission here is focused on red meat.
A short while later as our steak arrives sizzling on it’s platter. A long rib bone juts out of the juicy flesh giving it the shape and size of an axe or indeed a tomahawk.
This steak with a marbling factor of 7/9 is so tender we do not even need a steak knife to cut into it as it melts under an average blade.
If there was a competition for the most delicious steak on Phuket then the hefty Bodega & Grill Tomahawk would probably win hands down. But we will return to try that Beach Club Porterhouse Tartar.
For information visit angsana.com.
— Marc Mulloy
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