The Pump Room at Great World City has been rebranded almost entirely: all but the small outdoor patio space has been renovated to accommodate Pepper Steakhouse & Bistro’s full capacity of 55 diners. Working from the same kitchen, these conjoined establishments offer the same lunch menus of Western staples. What sets the bistro apart, with its clean, white walls, black lampshades and brown-tuft seats, is the specially framed ‘Signature Steaks and Fries’ menu.
The beef is imported by The Butcher’s Dog (two floors down, in the same building) from the Antipodes: the Harmony organic-fed prime, grass-fed Savannah Black Angus, Wakanui, and the grass-fed Firstlight Wagyu are from New Zealand, while the grain-fed Harvey prime comes from Australia ($33-$78 per portion). The aim is to serve consistent-quality cuts of beef that are free from hormones and antibiotics, along with a free-flow of thick-cut fries. We suspect the other menus – mains and a weekend-only all-day breakfast – are just there for padding.
The Wakanui in ribeye cut (200gm, $38) – GMO-free, grass-fed for 22 months and aged for 21 days – is touted as the healthiest choice (if steaks can ever be healthy). This medium-rare piece arrived superbly: evenly grilled on the outside, while still tender in. The Firstlight, ‘the only grass-fed Wagyu in the world’, came as a sirloin, a more fatty cut. This latter slab was cooked more rare in some parts than the requested medium-rare. Unfortunately, the fries wavered – while the first batch arrived crisp, the refill was underdone.
Curiosity got the better of us: the truffle tagliatelle ($22) – also on the Pump Room’s menu – is a wet, overly sweet dish made with port wine. This might be better hidden in the bar snacks menu, if they must.
A no-frills place to get quality steak – appropriately, prices are lower than The Prime Society’s and Morton’s The Steakhouse’s, but higher than Astons’. We suggest that you ignore the non-steak menus, unless you’re in the mood for sloppy bar food. Berwin Song
Steaks $33-$78; main courses $22-$28.
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