Remember Charango on Bree? That steakhouse is no more, but another rather exciting one has replaced it. Iron Steak and Bar serves up organic, grass-fed, halaal-friendly beef in a relaxed yet chic-looking setting. They’ve also got a 1920s-inspired bar offering a nice array of drinks including a creative cocktail menu.
After smashing the complimentary popcorn flavoured with beef drippings, Jason and I kicked things off with a cocktail. I tried the Ironcolada (R69) – a mix of Patron silver tequila, fresh lime juice, fresh grapefruit juice, Bottings roasted coconut and pineapple puree, sugar syrup and soda water – and loved it! Sweet, but not too sweet, a little tart and super silky! Iron Steak has made a real point of using superior spirits in everything they whip up and you really can taste the difference. Despite being spiked with tequila, I felt like I was drinking a super fresh smoothie as opposed to booze and could’ve easily knocked back two or three.
Food-wise, we ordered the coal-charred octopus (R99) and braised pork cheeks (R79) to start. Now I won’t lie – I did not expect a giant tentacle to arrive and was initially terrified of it, but it was actually pretty good. The “meat” was nice and tender and the creamy romesco sauce it was served with was delicious. I’m glad you can order it on the side (R32) as its something I definitely want to eat again.
As for the pork cheeks, this turned out to be a little too fatty for me, but Jason, being a pork belly fan devoured it in two minutes. It’s served with smoked white bean puree (so yum!) and charred baby onion (even yummier). Jason described it as “perfection” and insinuated I had an unsophisticated palette which is rich considering I’d just eaten a surprisingly yummy octopus leg.
Moving on to mains, you’ll find Iron Steak has a nice selection of meat, including wagyu rump, but we both tried the flat iron steak (R100), quirkily served with a branded cleaver imported all the way from London.
Fun fact: I’d thought Iron Steaks’ namesake were called as such due to being served on an iron plate but, as it turns out, “iron steak” is actually a particular cut of meat. It’s cut from the shoulder of the cow; is nicely marbled, full of flavour and great for grilling. As there’s a bit of connective tissue that runs through it, there’s a misconception that flat iron is tough, but when cooked properly, it can be really juicy and tender. (Just remember that it’s a thin cut of meat, so it cooks fast. If you like your meat medium, perhaps order it medium to rare to ensure it’s not cooked through. If it’s underdone, you can always send it back for one more flip on the grill.)
While the steak is served with a cup of leafy greens, do NOT miss out on the sides. The creamy, dreamy mash and gravy (R32) was honestly one of the best I’ve eaten in ages – and I consider myself a bit of a “mash connoisseur”, ordering it whenever I see it. You have no idea how often I’ve thought about Iron Steak’s mash since eating it. I might actually go back sometime soon just to gorge myself on two bowls and neck cocktails next time I’m in town over lunch.
Lastly, here’s what makes Iron Steak an absolute-must: When you receive your bill, you’re given a token that you can use to redeem an ice cream at any time. (Can you imagine what kind of psychopath could garner a free ice cream token and not want to use it immediately?) We turned ours in at the door and were given a generous scoop of salted caramel Unframed Ice Cream cone that got rolled in Valrhona chocolate shavings. Talk about ending on a high note!
Next time you’re feeling like a li’l beef that won’t break the bank and want to take things to Comfort Eating level 2000, get on down to Iron Steak and bump up your meal with their killer good mash and a decadent ice cream chaser. Your love handles can thank me later.