Stick to steaks the

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - TASTE - Graeme Phillips

OPENED about a month ago, Red Red Grill’s owner/ man­ager Craig Sey­mour says it is a ‘‘ con­cept res­tau­rant’’. The menu in­tro­duc­tion ex­plains: ‘‘ Red Red is about red meat and red wine. But it’s much more than just an­other steak­house’’ with ‘‘ a menu de­signed to show­case high­qual­ity pro­duce in the con­text of in­ter­na­tional food icons’’.

What­ever that all means, there’s cer­tainly plenty of red meat – wagyu, grain- and grass­fed steaks, kan­ga­roo, pulled pork, ribs, ox tongue, corned beef and even lamb’s fry and ba­con at break­fast.

But af­ter eat­ing a din­ner there and speak­ing at some length with Sey­mour, I’m still not sure what the res­tau­rant is about.

Our bis­tecca rossa, a rib- on- the- bone take on Tus­cany’s famed bis­tecca florentina, was su­perb. Juicy, per­fectly charred and cooked, pleas­antly salt- rubbed and served with aro­matic sprigs of rose­mary, it was as good as you’ll find any­where.

Un­for­tu­nately, the four dishes pre­ced­ing it didn’t come close.

Steak tartare that wasn’t, along with over­cooked tongue, flavour­less corned beef and OK pulled pork pre­sented in a rather un­ap­petis­ing jumble as a char­cu­terie se­lec­tion; beef tataki in­clud­ing that ox tongue again with very sweet pick­led gin­ger and a wasabi dress­ing that lacked any dis­tinc­tive wasabi flavour; long- cooked, fall- off- the­bone ribs with a cloy­ingly sweet, thick and sticky bour­bon- based sauce; and a span­ner crab, fen­nel and orange salad on sweet corn puree with shell­fish oil, which sounded good and fresh but, like our other en­trees, was over­whelm­ingly sweet.

Chat­ting with Sey­mour, I got the im­pres­sion the sweet­ness of our en­trees was there to pro­vide ladies with an al­ter­na­tive to the 300g and 450g steaks. And he said they would shortly of­fer lady- por­tioned 200g steaks. Which is good news, for the steaks are the only thing I’d re­turn for.

There’s an ad­e­quate and rea­son­ably priced se­lec­tion of wines plus a list­ing of more than 50 whiskies from Tas­ma­nia, Scot­land, Ire­land, Ja­pan and the US, I guess to cater for what the menu in­tro­duc­tion claims is whisky’s ‘‘ global surge in pop­u­lar­ity as an ac­com­pa­ni­ment to food’’. Yes, well . . .

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