Located centrally in the city, Hilton Kuching has long been an institution for locals and the de facto hotel of choice for well-heeled travellers. The hotel’s culinary options abound, among them, its cosy and multiple award-winning Steakhouse restaurant. Inside an ambience enriched by jazzy strains of music, seating is offered for up to 52 people (including a private room for up to 14 diners) with relaxing riverside views of the daytime bustle and serene evenings. Executive chef Alex Wong’s 20+ years of experience in the kitchen has enabled him to offer a menu of classical steakhouse delights, with a rhapsody of local touches to enhance the palate.
An example of the latter comes with the Gula Apong Cured Salmon, with the palm sugar attaching fragrant new aromas on the salmon. A Cowboy Steak of 780g (RM285), served with Togarashi fries, offers a hearty serving for two. Aged and cooked sous vide before grilling, the steak retains its juices and flavour, although one may opt for in-house made bearnaise and brown sauce for extra dimensions. “Quality ingredients is of course the key," says Wong. “However, we also like to introduce something new to our diners and this cut of meat is an ideal addition to the menu." To pair, you can select from a series of New and Old World varietals including Castello Banfi’s Poggio all’Oro Brunello di Montalciono Riserva (RM1,500), a 100-per-cent Sangiovese blend bearing a symphony of tobacco, liquorice, vanilla and toffee.
For Wong, his go-to favourite here is a Chateaubriand done medium rare, served with a side of creamed spinach and crushed potatoes. “To drink, a New Zealand Pinot Noir for its interplay of flavours." Cooking is a game of patience for Wong. An example of this is the Cheese and Sundried Tomato-Crusted Beef Tenderloin (RM145), which is described as a painstaking process of grilling and preparation of the crust to achieve smooth smoky aromas even before you bite into it.
Similarly, the Steakhouse’s Lamb Rack (RM125 for 380g) is an exercise in restraint, with pedantic chargrilling to provide crusty, caramelised edges on still succulent meat. As his coup de grace, Wong offers Green Tea Lava for dessert (other choices include chocolate and caramel). The softer sensations of the matcha are soon joined by an irresistible liquid centre sending waves of delight for a resounding finish.