Appreciating Meat at The Grill at Hillcrest

collageWas invited to a beef appreciation seminar organized by The SAFRA Food & Wine Explorer’s Club at the Grill at Hillcrest. This restaurant was formerly known as the Coq and Bull but was closed and given a new shine.

This is a good thing because The Coq and Bull was a horribly expensive suburban restaurant that had urban pretentions with prices to match.

Oh… wait…

Anyway, the theme for the dinner was “Beefy Goodness” and who could resist? I mean, it is almost every real man’s dream to sign up for this.

Besides, it was rumoured that Pichon-Longueville and the Reserva de la Comtesse would make several appearances.

Especially being an event organized by Indoguna with the Les Amis Group.

The SAFRAFWEC (it’s quasi-military, so it must have impressive acronyms that require a wipedown with a towel after saying it) people there were friendly. While Jamie lost my reservation (hey, I paid already), she was nice enough not to kick a big fuss and let me in.

I will join SAFRAFWEC. 😉

It was great to see so many friends there whose reservations weren’t lost and were let in. And so we congregated and waited for the whole thing to begin.

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First was a short talk on the wines from Chateau Pichon-Longueville and the Reserva de la Comtesse, their similarities and differences. This was followed by a vertical tasting of the different years.


Then came the talk that everyone was waiting for.

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Apparently different cultures prefer different cuts of meat. This is because of the different cooking styles, for example, the flank is usually reserved for stir-frys.

The most interesting topic and one that had the most questions was on Wagyu and Kobe beef. They are the same thing except that Kobe beef comes from (ha!) Kobe, whereas Wagyu is for the rest of the world.

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Also, there are 13 grades of Wagyu beef, but the world only gets to see at most up to grades 12 (very rare). Typically we get grades 6-10 in Singapore. Grade 13 is totally consumed in Japan.

Oh yes, there is no big difference between the Sirloin and Striploin cuts of beef.

By this time, everyone was getting hungry. It is not a good thing to talk about food when there is none at the table. A few people (me included) actually ordering pizza from the pizza joint next door (it sucked).

The statement made as the pizzas were carried in and brought to our table was profound.

And happily, the talk ended then and dinner commenced at 9pm, an hour after we sat down. First up was a beef carparccio.

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It was a thinly sliced affair with olive oil and citrus flavours. Delicious but short-lived. 😉

Next was Veal cheeks. It looked horribly dry and unappetizing at first sight. But put a slice in your mouth and you get a dense and intensely flavourful morsel that was enhanced by the dryness.

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Flavorful, almost like beef jerky but without the jaw exercise.

The main course was three different cuts of meat, the tenderloin, the Sirloin and the Ribeye.


Perfectly cooked in a red wine sauce, the three different cuts of meats had distinctively different tastes. The only thing that marred the experience was that the position of the meats were jumbled up and that no one could tell which cut was which. 😛

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It is my belief that to have a good beef steak experience, one should go for the ribeye. This was confirmed by Thomas, the person who gave the talk, as it is also his favourite cut.

The Ribeye is cheaper than the usual Sirloin but has more flavour because the marbling of fat is more pronounced.

So now you know. 🙂

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Dessert was so-so where the only point of interest was the Coconut cream tempered the sourish sauce to a tolerable point for me.

All in all, it was an interesting dinner where my beliefs were confirmed and my appreciation of beef has enhanced been enhanced with the new-found knowledge.

The Grill at Hillcrest does not only serve beef. There are other meats. Stepping in is like a meat-lover’s dream.

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Posted on 2nd Sep 2006 in Food and Drink, Meat, Western


There Are 7 Comments


Esther commented on September 4, 2006 at 1:55 pm

Wow! I’d like to go to a beef appreciation workshop.

Do you know whether just anyone can attend and are they having any more? Tks!


Ivan commented on September 7, 2006 at 8:00 am

Unfortunately, it was a one off thing. However, if you call the restaurant, I am sure they can reproduce the same menu as that night.


Leslie commented on September 8, 2006 at 9:12 pm

Do they have all these meats on a normal night? Best Beef in Singapore?


Ivan commented on September 8, 2006 at 11:34 pm

Hey Leslie, yes the meats you see are available. However, I am not sure about their closing times, so do give them a call.

Not sure what you mean by best beef in SG, but I did enjoy the different cuts of beef that night, and you know about how I am like when it comes to meat. 😉


superfinefeline commented on November 4, 2006 at 12:18 am

Ooh la la! U’re darn right!

I TOTALLY DIG THIS! The vertical tasting from both chateaus must have been really interesting! 🙂

Hee hee! Any chance u might be so kind as to organize such an event again? *hopeful look*


superfinefeline commented on November 4, 2006 at 12:22 am

Ooh la la!

U’re right! I’m soooo envious of u for having the fortune to enjoy an evening of beef & wine tasting! A vertical tasting of Chateau Pichon-Longueville & Reserve de la Comtesse!

BTW, which of the 3 did u prefer, u lucky devil? Reserve de la Comtesse ’94, ’95 or ’96?


superfinefeline commented on November 5, 2006 at 4:27 am

Hi Ivan,

U’re right! I enjoyed this review immensely & am darn envious that you managed to enjoy such a wonderful evening of beef & wine tasting. 🙂

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