A great steak – real beef, medium rare, dripping with juices and fat – is an object of much desire. It’s therefore worthwhile writing about four worthwhile steaks I wolfed down in recent times. This is in Mumbai, not the glorified steak portals of New York or Dallas.
The steak that started it all was at Cory’s house, the meat and rub sourced from the Grand Hyatt Deli and paired up with a fullsize barbecue, a roof garden and some wine. Then came Mia Cucina, Basilico, Joss, Novotel’s Olio and Indigo Cafe. All in all, a proper steakout over a week or so. Mia Cucina, a nice slab of medium rare meat was ecstasy-worthy. A few days later, Novotel’s New Zealand steak was good enough to briefly distract me from Sunanda while at the Kala Ghoda Festival, Joss served me juicy chunks of beef covered in a butter sauce that genuinely merits a fabulous. Indigo’s generous filet mignon was excellent beef, juicy and tender but like so many other filet mignons I’ve had was more tender than tasty. It was also unequally done – some bits were definitely more rare than I asked for.
My interest in steak developed in New York, where every banker worth his suit goes to at least one of the binges every once in a while (I wore jeans and befriended bankers). In the big apple, steak is big. Steakhouses can be astronomically expensive, often with vintage. New York males have valid and completely defensible opinions about different cuts of meat, not to mention rare versus medium rare. All this of course is completely absent in Mumbai. Marbling here evokes the white stuff on floors, while rare is rarely mentioned. American steaks are towering achievements of cardiac arrest but Indian’s shy away at all mention of fat. The best cut of steak was Mia Cucina, with some genuine trims of lard and visible marbling (though neither Kobe nor Prime will be threatened) – the rest of the steaks were noticeably pleasing to cardiologists. Also, (and a huge sigh here) no charring whatsoever.
The trend, though, is encouraging; steaks of some level of edibility are at least on the menu. Holy cow and all that …