SEAR: Steaks and Seafood in the Sky

Tenderloin, sirloin, and ribeye. Pira charcoal grilled.

Perched on the 45th floor overlooking downtown Singapore is Sear, a new modern American Steakhouse. Let’s find out how it adds to Singapore’s culinary landscape.

Tenderloin, sirloin, and ribeye. Pira charcoal grilled.
Tenderloin, sirloin, and ribeye. Pira charcoal grilled.
The signs of Singaporeans’ affluence continue to grow. You can tell we are doing well, when steakhouses pop-up in industrial estates, heartland estate, and malls. We are spoiled for choice with all the different locations, beef varieties, and types of preparations in Singapore.

Expansion has recently started in a new dimension: Altitude.

Steakhouses are rising to top – literally. And Sear is no different. Opened in December 2015, Sear joins a number of other steakhouses seeking prestige by offering towering views of the city along with cuts of ribeye, sirloin, and tenderloins.

Impressive Start

A formidable appetiser to kick off an impressive meal is their “Angie’s Ocean Platter” (S$68 for 2 pax, S$128 for 3-4 pax) consisting of Maine Boston lobster, jumbo shrimp cocktail, Diver scallop ceviche, oysters on the half shell, and Alaska King Crab legs. This two-tier platter comes from Sear’s neighbour on the 45th floor, Angie’s seafood restaurant, which is also owned by the same people who own Sear.

Two tiers of seafood pleasure
Two tiers of seafood pleasure

Freshness Needs No Introduction

A premium place like Sear will only serve the freshest seafood. Indeed, all of the seafood was infused with a clean, simple, sweet taste of the sea. The flesh of the seafood was succulent, tender, and soft. What blew me away were their French Tsarskaya (“The Pearl of Tsars”) oysters.

Named in honour of the Russian Monarchs, who favoured the oysters harvested in Cancale France, these gems are large, meaty mouthfuls, tender yet firm to the bite with the consistency of a good medium rare steak. They were absolutely delicious! At S$52 for six (if ordered as an entrée), it’s a king’s ransom, but it is a dish worthy of a king! I highly recommend anyone who loves oysters to give Tsarskayas a try.

 

Tsarskaya Oysters
Tsarskaya Oysters

Bone Marrow Delicacy

Unfortunately, bone marrow isn’t my cup of tea. The texture was a bit too gooey and gelatinous for me. The taste of the marrow was too bland/subtle and easily overpowered by the garnishes. Nonetheless, it was a very delicate and competently made dish. It is just one of those polarizing dishes with strong, distinctive character – either you hate it or love it.

[quote]It is just one of those polarizing dishes with strong, distinctive character – either you hate it or love it.[/quote]

 

Bone Marrow. An acquired taste.
Bone Marrow. An acquired taste.

A different type of grill

Sear’s press release was quick to mention that they use two 4500 kg Pira Charcoal Grills to “achieve only the best ‘sear’ on the outside.”

There isn’t much information on the net about Pira Charcoal Grills in terms of imparting better flavour or presentation except that the grill “is the perfect combination between a barbecue and an oven, merging … the best of two options”, saving 40% more charcoal, and cooking 35% faster than open grills.

It also traps dripping grease which prevents flare ups, which over-chars. Okay, sounds interesting enough! So let’s see what my taste buds say!

Back to the Steaks

Sirloin cross hatching grill marks
Sirloin cross-hatched grill marks

We were presented with three Pira-grilled steaks, medium doneness:  First, the ribeye from Australian Angus Jacks Creek Wagyu (S$70, 250g). Second, the tenderloin from Canadian Western Countries Cross Angus (S$78, 250g). Lastly, the sirloin from Wakanui Hormone Free 21 Days Aged New Zealand Hereford Cattle (S$88, 300g).

All three came out similar – pale light brownish tone with grill markings. Of the three, only the sirloin had the iconic crosshatch marking. I thought the colour was a bit pale. Usually, the steaks I experienced are deeper, darker, colour, which is a good sign of more flavours from the browning. (ie. Maillard Reaction)

Served in slices, the colours of the inside were a beautiful sensuous pink with no blood at all – a perfect medium doneness, for all three steaks.

The tenderloin was the most tender; however, the ribeye was the most flavourful. It had the beefy flavour and its marbling made the texture soft yet firm. The sirloin was good as well, and its flavour fell somewhere within the spectrum.

Even though the steaks were tasty, I couldn’t help but to wonder if it would be better with more browning. Perhaps with the Pira Grill, the steaks cooked faster overall and didn’t have more time to brown on the outside like a traditional open grill.

Sauces Galore

Sear provides an impressive array of sauces for their steaks for diners who need additional flavour: Pommery Mustard, Seaweed Butter, 5-type Peppercorn, Bordelaise with soft bone marrow, Chimichurri, Salsa Verde, Béarnaise, Sriracha & Tomato Salsa, and Daikon Ponzu.

They are all very good. But, I prefer to savour the taste of premium steaks and its charcoal flavour by itself. After all, isn’t that why we go to great steakhouses in the first place?

Beef Tasting Adventure

Unless you have $6000 to spend on Sear’s Specialty Cut, which consists of 2 Kg of certified Kobe Beef (A4 grade) and 300 gm of Vintage Caviar, I would go for their “Tasting of Trio” which includes their Tenderloin, Sirloin, and Rib Eye for $95. They also have a very reasonable two- and three-course lunch sets, S$29 and S$36 respectively, for those who want a top-of-the-world experience at relatively down-to-earth prices.

SEAR_STEAKHOUSE_SINGAPORE_5
Sear’s impressive desserts top off a fine meal

SEAR 50 Raffles Place, Level 45
www.50rp.com.sg  Tel: 6221-9555

By Frank Young

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