Culina is one of those steakhouses that focused on delivering a great experience on top of fresh, good steaks. Being able to pick out one’s choice meat from the deli section then have professional chefs prepare it for my dining pleasure isn’t an experience that’s available everywhere.
Their range of steaks was pretty impressive, boasting prime cuts from prime cattle. These included Black Angus, Wagyu and even dry-aged prime ribeyes were up for grabs. Needless to say, my eyes sparkled at the range of choices available. I did notice that their pricing was a little on the premium side but then again, Culina isn’t your neihbourhood ‘Western Food’ stall either
Alright, now that I’ve gotten my “beef high” out of the way, let’s talk about how much value this place delivered.
I went with the 330 gram Black Onyx (RV) Angus Beef Cube Roll (Ribeye) MBS 3+ ($39.60 + $15 prep fee) and had it twice! Wait…what?! Let me explain. The first time round, the steak was overdone and arrived on my plate at a shocking medium-well. The waiter and kitchen staff replaced it without question though. While it’s tough to overlook premium steakhouses overcooking steaks, their smooth service recovery deserved some points.
So I picked the steak because of its impressive marbling score at 3+. Considering that it wasn’t Wagyu, this was really decent marbling. And true enough, the steak was well within expectations. The tender ribeye was firm, tender, juicy and flavourful. I loved the ribeye cap section which had a similar feel to that found on roast beef, despite the different cooking methods. The darker tone and tighter grain of the meat was exceptionally beefy while still staying as soft as butter. I also suspect that they gave me a larger steak as compared to my initial choice, at no extra charge.
Having said all that, I wouldn’t say that it’s great value because the raw steak was priced well above what I can find at other butcheries and preparations came with no sides except for some leafy greens. I understand that it’s not low-end steaks but considering the premium pricing and prep fee of $15, I think diners deserve at least once choice of sides. 7.7/10.
Roli went with the Great Southern Pinnacle Beef Cube Roll (Ribeye) MBS 3+ ($28.20 + $15 prep fee). This steak had a leaner, tighter outlook with a smaller ribeye cap. It was firmer than the Black Onyx but it was by no means tough. This serving was a little smaller than mine, coming in at around 300 grams. Nevertheless, it was tender, juicy and flavourful.
I did agree with its pricing a little more but I understand that’s it’s about the difference in meat quality. Pretty good value. 7.9/10.
The beef wasn’t the only tantalising sight that evening. The oysters looked very inviting and we thought to give them a try. But being conservative spenders, we only had one each. As their site states, ‘Oysters are shucked on demand and served natural with lemon, Tabasco, Tetsuya’s Oyster Vinaigrette and chili lime dressing.’
We went with the Fines de Claire, Marennes ($4/ pc) While the vinaigrette was interesting, it was the oysters that blew me away. I thought the freshness was pristine, the flesh succulent and I could taste the ocean man! It delivered this clean and refreshing taste that inspired me to earn more just so I can indulge in these frivolous yet tasty treats. Damn.
Since the mains didn’t come with any sides, we had ourselves a serving of Truffled Shoestring Fries ($12). They were well seasoned and the truffle wasn’t too sharp and overwhelming. Crisp on the outside with fluffy insides, they were pretty satisfying bites.
Service was good but one server (I think he was Steven) delivered exceptional standards. He was patient, accommodating and always quick to serve. While the ambience was nice, the table setting was a little crowded. There was little room for our legs and we had to conscientiously keep our legs away from bumping into each other.
Should You Try It?
Yes. It’s a great place for small and intimate celebrations.
8 Dempsey Road, #01-13,
Mon – Fri: 11:00 am – 11:00 pm
Tel: +65 6474 7338
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