A crooning pianist accompanied by a saxophonist, $200 steaks and Moreton Bay bug mash. Alison Walsh checks out this fancy restaurant
A crooning pianist accompanied by a saxophonist, $200 steaks and Moreton Bay bug mash. Alison Walsh checks out this fancy restaurant

$200 steaks! Is this one of our most lavish steakhouses?

THREE OF the steaks cost $200 and there's an eight-item potato menu that includes a version with crab, roasted bug tail and trout caviar for $38.

But, just in case even reading about such vertiginous prices induces some sort of episode, I hasten to add that you can also get stuck into a wagyu steak burger with chips for $28, or a 200g half sirloin for $33.

SK Steak and Oyster, the newest restaurant on the flourishing food scene at the Calile Hotel in Fortitude Valley, is owned by Simon Gloftis, who runs Greek blockbuster Hellenika upstairs in the same establishment, in partnership with chef Kelvin Andrews and Theo Kampolis.

SK Steak and Oyster in the Calile Hotel Picture: Mark Crantich
SK Steak and Oyster in the Calile Hotel Picture: Mark Crantich

The menu quickly bats away any thought that this is just another steak restaurant, although its meaty repertoire is impressive. (The $200 options are a 1kg black angus T-bone dry aged for 25 days, a 600g black angus marble score 6-7 chateaubriand and a 500g kiwami
9-plus premium wagyu scotch fillet.) It's more an American-style grill: there's also an extensive line-up of seafood (including platters and John Dory schnitzel), pasta (bug with Sicilian casarecce twists or Wagyu beef with tagliatelle) and risotto (lobster or mushroom) as well as mains such as duck with black garlic
and cherries.

SK’s prawn cocktail. Picture: Mark Cranitch
SK’s prawn cocktail. Picture: Mark Cranitch

The dining room is an appealing concrete cocoon with a circular bar, curved booths along the large windows and leather chairs pulled up to double-clothed, lamplit tables, with a saxophonist and a singer softly tinkling the keys of the baby grand to pile on the atmosphere.

Oysters from Wallis Lake ($6 each) arrive freshly shucked on ice with the mignonette finished by champagne poured at the table, although they are so fresh and briny and wonderful I left mine unadorned. Agnolotti stuffed with minced sweet corn and bathed in burnt butter and sage ($26/36) is also terrific, while the prawn cocktail ($30), five monster crustaceans dangling around a glass containing shredded iceberg lettuce topped with marie rose sauce, is a simple ode to the seafood's quality.

SK’s sirloin steak. Picture: Mark Cranitch.
SK’s sirloin steak. Picture: Mark Cranitch.

Patagonian toothfish with burnt miso and cavolo nero ($56) is fleshy and sweet and almost melts in the mouth. The SK signature slow roast prime rib 300g, served either sliced like English roast (our choice) or whole American style ($65), arrives pinkly resplendent as the requested medium-rare, a tender, flavoursome, beefily magnificent example of why I doubt I'll ever be able to entirely give up eating meat. Beyond an accompanying small glass plate bearing four types of mustard, the meat travels solo. Sides are extra. The potato menu is a stunner with its olive oil roast kipflers, Moreton Bay bug mash potato, classic potato salad or French fries ($12), which were thin, crisp and plentiful. Chunks of just-cooked English spinach ($12) make you feel better just looking at them.

 

The finale: SK strawberry cake. Picture: Mark Cranitch
The finale: SK strawberry cake. Picture: Mark Cranitch

The wine list makes its intentions clear with an extensive opening line-up of champagnes leading into a global array of bottles. However, surprisingly, wines by the glass are not poured at the table, and we don't ever see the sommelier.

White chocolate and coconut cremeux ($14) is a smooth, cool finale while the SK strawberry cake ($22) is a classic, elegant confection of sponge, cream and strawberry but somewhat muted in its charms given its headline status.

Service is obviously taken very seriously as there are more staff than I have ever seen in a restaurant of this size but our waiter, while largely efficient, doesn't take the time to engage and never returns to take our dessert wine order.

SK is a gorgeous restaurant with memorable food forged from outstanding produce but at these prices there are also high expectations that everything is going to be just right.

 

 

SK Steak and Oyster in the Calile Hotel Picture: Mark Crantich
SK Steak and Oyster in the Calile Hotel Picture: Mark Crantich

SK STEAK & OYSTER

Food 4

Ambience 5

Service 3.5

Value 3.5

Overall 4

 

Must try
SK signature slow roast prime rib

 

Ground Level

The Calile Hotel

Wandoo Street

Fortitude Valley

3252 1857, sk-so.com

Open: 12-3pm and from 6pm Tue-Sat



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