I like food courts. I mean, there are so many things to like about them. They serve a variety of non-conflicting cuisines that makes decision-making a lot easier, the air conditioned interior creates a comfortable place to eat and a conducive hang out for meal time conversations, and the prices are often well within most people’s ‘daily meals’ budget. But when I come across one that houses a value steak joint, that’s when I know I’ve struck gold.
So when I heard about Essen at Pinnacle@Duxton, which later proved to embody all the factors mentioned above, it was music to my ears. And when I realised that Grill Lab (the food court’s ‘western food’ place) was only recently opened (Dec’17) I knew that I was looking at a potential meaty surprise right there and then. Special thanks to Roli for finding Essen during one of his mini cycling / exploration trips around the island.
The Grill Lab’s setup had the startup-fueled-with-passion kind of feel behind the counter and I was immediately greeted with a bright smile. Upon browsing their menu with a modest selection, hope started brewing within…that it would be a stall that prioritised quality over quantity.
Now that that’s said, let’s get to the meat.
After 15 seconds of browsing, I went straight for the Grilled Ribeye Steak ($19.90). After paying via NETS, collecting my buzzer and exchanging quick smiles, I sat with Roli and waited with hungry anticipation. The buzzer lit up within 10 minutes and I brought my order to our seats with barely restrained haste.
According to the menu, the steak was 250 grams of New Zealand Black Angus ribeye. Now, New Zealand is a country and Angus is a breed (not a grade) of cattle. So that description doesn’t really tell me anything about the quality of my steak. Perhaps it was supposed to be assurance that the beef isn’t imported from questionable sources? But 250 grams is a generous portion for that price range.
I therefore took the next best option to check out the quality. I ate it. The meat was as tender as I hoped my ribeye would be and the flavour was spot on. The done-ness was delivered at the medium-rare I asked for and it was a bonus that it had deep-set grill marks across the surface. I also enjoyed the sizable ribeye cap no that juicy slab of meat.
While there were no fancy labels like marbling score or prime grade being thrown around, the steak was well worth the price. Toss in the prompt service, generous portion (meaty surprise!) and comfortable setting and we’ve got ourselves another superb value find. Man I love seeking the best value steaks in Singapore. 9.4/10.
As shared earlier, the ambience and setting is very pleasant. The high ceilings, clean tables and refreshing combination of stalls (more meat choices) truly makes Essen a remarkable food court. Roli struck up a conversation with our neighbouring diners and found out that they’ve been having family gatherings there at least once a week.
Should You Try It?
The Grill Lab
1 Cantonment Road, #01-01
Mon – Sun: 10:30 pm to 11:00 pm
Tel: +65 6727 6068
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