Had dinner with Farah, Jeremy and CK at iSTEAKS Diner (Holland Village) last week and I’m still feeling quite miffed about the meal, so here’s a warning/review if you ever wanna drop by. Not stopping you but it’s good to know some things first.
It is seriously one of the worst meals I have ever had and my worst steak experience ever. Terrible food, terrible service, terrible dining experience ??
Firstly, it had rained earlier so the entire outdoor seating area was closed due to the wet tables and chairs. Yet it was dinner time on a Friday and hence, very crowded. Of course, iSTEAKS can’t help this because they cannot control the weather.
But what’s bloody stupid is poor oganisation and a lack of system. They allow people to order food, pay and get order numbers even when no seats are available. So there’s a queue for the cashier and a separate queue for seats.
Not only that, there was no staff explaining what the proper procedure would be. We only had a vague idea when we overheard people saying you can order first, wait until you get a table, then tell the staff that they can start cooking your food. Huh?
Did I mention there’s a separate adjacent counter to order and collect your own drinks? (Which are all so sweet, they’ll put you at risk of diabetes. I had to fill my iced coffee with more ice.) Really messy and so much redundancy.
But nevermind, we were there mainly for the food after all and didn’t want to let something small dampen our spirits. And although we queued for quite long, at least a waiter remembered we were next in line and alerted us when there were seats.
CK doesn’t take beef so he order a chicken burger that he customised himself.
The rest of us decided to share a 1kg beef, which comes with 3 side dishes (we chose fries, onion rings and cream spinach), for $75 because it seemed more worth it. A 200g NZ Striploin costs $17.50 while a 200g NZ Ribeye costs $19.50 (both with 2 sides).
We were quite disappointed with the sides because they were all regular-sized. We had (wrongly) assumed they would be bigger to match the portions of 3 people. Also the waitress brought out the sides first and was quite snappy when doing so. I get that you are busy, but still… we didn’t do or say anything to warrant this??
And here we come to the main issue. I’m not sure what cut of beef the 1kg steak is as they just called it “NZ OP Rib Steak”. And it was far from worth it. It was fuckass awful.
The worst steak I have ever eaten (which is saying quite a lot in my case) and not just because it tasted horrid or was poorly cooked, but because of my entire experience in an *ATTEMPT* (again, attempt implies ‘tried and did not succeed’) to eat it.
Jeremy cut the entire thing into 3 portions and let us choose. I picked the part where my finger is in the photo above, where’s the outer layer of fat (which I usually polish off when eating steak, plus I know Jeremy and Farah don’t, so I took it).
The entire piece of meat turned out to be so thick and tendony that I couldn’t cut or bite through it at all. Whichever way / surface / side I tried to cut on with all my strength, I was met with impenetrable rubber (I think this is the first time I’ve used this phrase).
CK tried helping me cut into 4 (?) main pieces and it reminded me of the infamous leg amputation scene in Saw (2004), which actually seemed a breeze compared to what we did at iSTEAKS. Minus the towel in mouth, of course.
I managed to cut out another bite-sized piece that I could finally consume. By this time, the rest were already halfway through their meals. Huhuhu… I know they felt very bad because they offered me their food but eh, not their fault at all.
I tried so many methods, from more sawing to biting the whole piece directly, but nothing worked. At this point, I had already exerted so much energy that my hands and arms were starting to ache and I was no longer hungry. Bye appetite.
Eventually, I must have looked quite a sight because Jeremy swopped one piece of his steak with one piece of mine. Few more edible bites of beef for me, yay. I think Jeremy gave up cutting that piece of mine halfway.
I then asked one of the servers if she had a bigger knife.
Her: “We only have knives in one size.”
Me: “But your steak can’t cut through at all leh.” *showing her my plate* (already quite dulan at the lousy meal I was having so I was being quite guailan)
She offered to bring it back to the kitchen to have the meat cut into small pieces. Everyone knows this is a taboo way to eat steak and defeats the purpose and doesn’t taste as good, but I agreed because it’s not as if I had any other choice. I just want to eat, goddamn it.
In the same snappy manner as mentioned above, she took my plate, then returned afterwards and shoved it back on the table and stalked off without saying anything.
I wasn’t exactly my most courteous self but then again, I’m not the one serving shit food without any remorse.
Anyway, cutting the meat into smaller pieces didn’t work because I still couldn’t bite or chew anything. Plus I nearly choked on a tendon. The only chewable parts are the fats (exploding with oil) but do you see how freaking thick and gross it is?
Don’t think I had more than 10 bites of beef in total. I simply left my plate like that, with gross-looking meat mixed with crumpled tissues to give iSTEAKS an idea of how horrible I found my food. My first time desecrating steak like this but is it still steak if it’s barely fit for human consumption?
Jeremy didn’t finish everything on his plate either but fortunately, Farah’s portion was fine and nobody else was subjected to the same pain I experienced.
Of course, I might have had a better time if I came on a different day and ordered something else… Admittedly the ala carte, non-sharing stuff seemed quite ok. So don’t ever order anything under “communal pleasure” on the menu!
Thank goodness for great company because this was really an abominable meal and a huge disgrace to all steaks out there. Sorry to the cow that died in vain ?