Charcoal Grill on the Hill

Every so often…

It’s not the new startups, off spins or popups.. Every so often, the one you have been missing out on is sitting under your nose.

Such is the case with Charcoal Grill on the Hill, a Kew mecca that has, for years now, been serving locals with their famous cuts of meat cooked over their proprietary broiler.

The wine list, which is among the best listed in Australia, will have enough on it to see you pick out a different bottle on each visit through the remainder of your lifetime. The food, a focused yet extensive list of cuts ranging from porterhouse to eye from standard (Brilliant) to waygu (Sublime). Co-owner and Master Sommelier Dejan Derbogosijan is quick to point out that the Wagyu on offer is the real deal, 300+ day aged meats cured on site, not like many of the imitations on offer around town.

Even the starters, such as the famed Chevap’s are from Wagyu trimmings and are salty, decadent slabs of beef that could be the sole focus in and to themselves. I am salivating purely at the prospect of one day convincing Dejan to turn them into a signature burger, as countless Chefs have done all over the world with their proprietary grinds. This friends, was shaping up to be a stellar evening.

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Our cuts, identical slabs of Porterhouse served Medium Rare (On Dejan’s almost insistence) was cooked to absolute perfection. The meat, tender enough to dissolve in your mouth quicker than an Alka-Seltzer was tender, creamy and very juicy. The barebones meat is accompanied by some fantastic steak fries and a side salad for the health conscious. This paired beautifully to a 2006 Pondalowie Special Release Shiraz served in the largest and sexiest shiraz glasses I’ve yet seen.

We finished off with a coffee, and sat back simply in awe of what had occurred in front of us over the course of the evening.

Why then, it has taken me 27 years to get down there is somewhat absurd. Such is the case, that the entire time I was sitting there shaking my head at J. This review, somewhat disjointed because I had opted to leave the camera at home should serve as a signpost for those in a similar circumstance as me. I don’t have the quality photos that this review deserves, but jump on the website if you need the relevant food porn. But go one better, and make a reservation here (Well in advance). It will be truly memorable.

Charcoal Grill on the Hill
289 High St, Kew Vic 3101
Charcoal Grill on the Hill on Urbanspoon

Le Relais de l’Entrecote, Saint Germain, Paris

Certain “Institutions”…

4K6A1906…Are better explained, if I may paraphrase, with the old adage of ‘You don’t tell your friends about your hairdresser, or your cleaning lady’. Such is the case with Le Relais de L’Entrecote, a literal house of the Paris bistrot classic steak frites, or, more simply, steak and chips.

It’s the sort of place Parisians drove to by the hundreds, at peak dining times the line has been known to stretch out the door and onto the zebra crossing (Cars don’t seem to mind, it’s as if they understand). It’s a place little known to tourists, and for good reasons, because residents of Paris want to keep this one to themselves. The decor, while it looks showy does nothing to stand out on the corner of Boulevard du Montparnasse in the heart of Saint Germain. There are actually 4 of these hidden treasures, but we picked the one closest to home.

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You walk in, you’re handed what looks like a lovely hand-written menu with a twist. The charming waitress comes over to take your order, but the only thing she asks is what colour you’d like your meat. Because, and therein lies the beauty of this place; the entrecote is the only thing on the menu.

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So, you choose your drinks (Don’t expect a stellar wine list, as Chateau de Saurs graces every listing and it’s the sort of polish you drown your casserole in) and the wait begins.

4K6A1917About 5-10 minutes later, and the is plate of deliciousness is wafted in front of you. A juicy, tender, crisp, flavourful and above all tasty piece of steak arrives, cooked just how you like it. Served with the classic french fries and drowned in the houses own secret sauce, you take a moment to breathe it all in, absorb your surroundings and prepare for the onslaught. One bite, and your tastebuds are drowned in a medley of flavours that just work so well together. The crisp baguette on the side delights as it adds texture to every piece.

And just when you finish that mountain? The waitress again appears, this time for a refill. No, not wine. She actually tops up your plate, just like nonna, with yet more steak, chips and dipping sauce! Whilst it spells double trouble for your hips, it’s impossible to say no, and before we knew it we were two plates down so heavily satiated with protein and carbs that I could reel off euphoric superlatives all night.

4K6A1925I had the creme brulee, yet again. Didn’t disappoint.

4K6A1924Even L’s meringue medley goes to show you that you don’t need Michelin stars to win over the hearts of diners. She loved it.

So where does that leave us? Thoroughly impressed. Dare I say it, but at €80 including the mandatory 15% service charge, it was an absolute belter. I feel guilty for having enjoyed this more than last nights meal.

I wish someone back home had the stones to come up with a concept so devilishly simple, because this steak may have just been the best one I have ever eaten.

Le Relais de l’Entrecote, Saint Germain
101 Boulevard du Montparnasse, Paris, France
http://www.relaisentrecote.fr