BIFTECK is named after the French nickname for “steak”, but it’s not your standard American-style steakhouse. By the team behind another French-Japanese spot, Le Rêve in Causeway Bay, this restaurant marries French and Japanese flavours.
The kitchen is helmed by industry veteran Chef Ken Kwok, who has worked at acclaimed restaurants in Hong Kong including Michelin-starred VEA, Beefbar and Wagyu Takumi. Chef Kwok says of BIFTECK, “There are many ‘same old’ steakhouses in Hong Kong. I want to bring something unique and surprising.”
The mimimalist eatery is unassuming in design, decked out with an exposed, industrial-style ceiling, leather armchairs and booth seating and distressed concrete and wood-panelled flooring around an open bar. There are no distracting design elements, so diners can concentrate on the food.
We started with some homemade foccacia, miso butter and deep-fried seaweed coated with rice, complimentary for all tables at lunch and dinner. Quite an umami start to the meal!
A5 Wagyu tataki roll ($268): it’s all about the texture of these one-bite beef wonders, which are filled with Spanish red prawn and amaebi (sweet shrimp) tartare, swimming in a delicate cold lobster consommé. We enjoyed the accoutrements of lobster jelly and pumpkin mousse, lending even more sweetness to the natural sweetness of the shellfish.
Grilled Alaskan crab-leg brioche ($228): presented like an open-faced sandwich, the toasted brioche adds a lot of bulk to the dish, which we don’t think is needed. We also think that grilling crab takes away some of its inherent succulence, but the buttermilk-anchovy dressing ups the flavour. We enjoyed the extremely crispy fries on the side, dusted with sakura shrimp powder.
Grilled Spanish red prawn udon ($448): without a doubt, this was our favourite dish at BIFTECK, a sublime combination of silky handmade Inaniwa udon, resembling tagliatelle, flavourful grilled Spanish red prawn, confit cherry tomato and a robust stock made of lobster and sakura shrimp (there was no sign of the spicy prawn oil mentioned on the menu). The unctuous prawn-head fat is mixed in tableside to maximise the flavours. This dish is absolutely delicious but also very rich, so we recommend sharing.
Slow-cooked Japanese A5 Wagyu rump ($438): though of high quality, we felt that the Wagyu beef in this comforting dish was a bit underseasoned, and we also didn’t get much flavour from the radish and tofu cubes. The beef consommé had a good depth of flavour, and the paper-thin black truffle slices on top were very fragrant, adding to the enjoyment of the dish.
Japanese A5 snow-aged Wagyu (market price): this signature dish showcases melt-in-the-month tender, well-seasoned Wagyu beef that’s been “snow aged” at 1–2 degrees Celsius by an ancient Japanese ageing technique called yukimoro, where a high humidity of around 90 per cent is achieved. This is a very special, very rich dish, with a tender texture that’s hard to beat. The beef is served atop “crispy” rice (though ours was wet), with a tasty tofu purée that reminded us of cashew cream and a punchy cold pepper sauce. Pre-ordering is recommended.
Grilled vegetables ($88): these gorgeous grilled veg – carrot, broccolini, potato on our visit – with quinoa are autumn on a plate. They are supposedly served with a tofu dipping sauce, but on our visit, they came with a creamy pumpkin purée that we thought was a great match.
Hojicha tiramisu ($78): not a tiramisu in the traditional sense of the dessert, with the ladyfinger-like layers remaining very crisp. The intense, nutty flavour of the hojicha pairs well with the addition of earthy black sesame.
Roasted pineapple with wasabi sorbet ($78): this is the second time in just a few weeks that we’ve tried wasbai sorbet/ice cream (the first was at Sushi Hisayoshi), and we have to admit that we’re fans – the flavour of wasabi in sorbet or ice cream is unexpectedly refreshing and delightful. It’s also difficult to go wrong with grilled pineapple, with the roasting process bringing out the fruit’s juiciness and intensifying its flavour.
We like the creativity being displayed at BIFTECK, and it’s nice to see a different kind of steakhouse in Hong Kong. It’s obvious that premium ingredients are being used here, but we think that the prices are on the high side considering the bare-bones ambience. Curiously, despite BIFTECK being a beef-focused restaurant, we were most enamoured with the Spanish red prawn udon dish.
23/F, QRE Plaza, 202 Queen’s Road East, Wanchai, 2246 8805, book online
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.
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