I don’t think there is anybody out there (except obviously vegetarians or vegans) who doesn’t love a good steak. Not everybody can make a good steak though. I have tried many times and just can’t get it right. It’s always either done to much or not enough and I think the Damselfly may even have given up on me finally producing her the perfect steak. But there are those who CAN make the perfect steak and on my visit to Umhlanga recently I discovered just the place to enjoy it at. Unfortunately it’s just too far from home to do so on a regular basis.
The Butcher Block Restaurant is located on Umhlanga Ridge right next to the Holiday Inn Express Umhlanga where we were staying. The nice part of staying at the Holiday Inn Express was that we could sign the bill to our room and only settle it along with the room bill on departure.
We decided to indulge a bit and go for starters as well before tucking into the steaks. The Damselfly loves mussels and I love cheese so she opted for the Mussel starter (Half shell mussels gently simmered with Chardonnay, garlic, mascarpone cheese and cream) while I went for the Camembert starter (Deep fried camembert cheese served with roasted almonds, fresh rocket, cranberry sauce and melba toast). Great options on both instances. Second tick for Butcher Block for the evening. The first being the great service we received from the moment we walked in. A greeting at the door, a greeting from a passing manager, a good table at the window and very attentive, brisk and extremely friendly service.
Then it was time to select our steaks. With a great variety it wasn’t easy though and we both probably changed our minds a couple of times while discussing the different options on the menu. The Damselfly eventually settled (although settled probably isn’t the word; more like excitedly chose) on the Camembert and Bacon sirloin steak (Steak with a delectable green peppercorn sauce topped with pan-fried bacon and Camembert cheese. My choice fell on one of their specials for the evening, a Fillet steak stuffed with jalapeno peppers, cheddar and mozzarella wrapped in bacon with a paprika infused butter on top When the steaks came we immediately knew we were in for a treat when we saw that they were flame grilled and cutting into them they were also done to perfection. The Damselfly’s medium rare and mine just over medium (so that a good vet can’t save it anymore). My better half also mentioned that the bacon on her steak definitely wasn’t just catering grade beacon fried in a pan as it had a distinct smoked taste and flavour to it. Both steaks came on very nicely presented plates and were served with chips. Steaks = tick number three and four.
My lovely wife having dessert
And talking of dessert. Although we weren’t really planning to have dessert after starters and mains, I decided to have a look at the menu anyway. With the Damselfly only having ice cream and chocolate sauce I decided to be a little more adventurous and try something else. I was torn between two options and hadn’t even finished asking the waiter which he would recommend when he said the Kahlua and Ice Cream Crepes. (Ice cream rolled in light crepes, drizzled with hot Bar One sauce topped with roasted almond flakes) I’m sure I could find somewhere to fit that in as well… Out came the plate with two pancakes filled with ice cream and accompanied by a shot of Kalua. My eyes went big but it tasted so yummy that I made sure I found enough space for all of it. Fifth tick goes to the dessert giving them a full house for the evening.
The verdict at the end of the night? Butcher Block can really be highly recommended and served us probably the best steaks we have ever had anywhere. And don’t just take my word for it. The next morning while waiting for our taxi to take us down to the beach we chatted to a British visitor who comes to the area at least once a year. He asked us about our plans for the day and told us that we definitely had to try the restaurant (Butcher Block) next door as it had the best steaks he’s ever had and he travels extensively. So next time I’m in Durbs and feels like a steak I know where I will be going.
Disclosure: We were invited for a weekend at the Holiday Inn Express Umhlanga by the InterContinental Hotels Group and they carried all the costs for the weekend. They asked for a blog post to be written about the hotel itself but had no editorial input in the content of the post. This post I threw in extra as I can recommend the place with conviction.