At W Singapore's grand opening party held late last year, there was only one question on everyone's lips as they roamed the chic hallways and bumped into acquaintances: "have you had the steaks at SKIRT?". And it wasn't just sheer kiasuism that drove the snaking lines at W's grill restaurant where the chefs were working tirelessly to feed guests -- the slices of perfectly seasoned and pink-tender steak were, we had declared rather emphatically at that time, some of the best we've ever had in Singapore.
What is it: SKIRT isn't just a steakhouse, though its name is, of course, a reference to the cut of steak, its decor of leather chandeliers and horned salt and pepper shakers paying tribute to the cowboy culture. The star here, is the Parilla grill on which meats and seafood are prepared to perfection with SKIRT's culinary rules: using the finest sustainable produce, treating it with simplicity and an inherent respect for nature.
Must-try: You'd be tempted to make a beeline for the steaks (we were) but it'd be a pity to miss out on starters like the robust chorizo with olives and bread (S$22, made from the skirt cut, and excellent on its own without the accompaniments) and the seared giant king scallops (S$28) which slices through like creamy butter, and whose inherent sweetness is enhanced by the dashi and apple sauce.
Besides steaks, SKIRT also serves grilled seafood like the Split and Peppered King Prawns (above).
A salt-and-peppered dish of king prawns (S$22) comes beautifully seasoned, but can be a bit of pain since it takes a fair amount of effort to remove the sweet flesh from the shells. Personally we'd save some of that energy for the main show which, at SKIRT, comes imported from Argentina, Australia and U.S.. Choice cuts are aged right there in the restaurant in special "aging cabinets" alongside cuts of lamb and venison.
The misunderstood skirt cut has never been popular with diners due to its tougher texture but it wouldn't do missing out on the signature dish when we were at a restaurant named after the cut. With a grade nine on the marbling scale, the Blackmore Australian Full Blood Wagyu skirt steak (S$44, 250gm) is tender under the knife, but still with plenty of bite. Its winning factor: the intensely beefy flavour complemented by its lightly-salted treatment and accompanying rosemary. Consider our misgivings on ordering lesser known cuts properly eased.
The skirt cut might not be the most popular, but SKIRT's Blackmore Australian Full Blood Wagyu Skirt steak is excellent with full-bodied flavours and a tender texture.
Even if you're already loosening your belts at this point of the meal, the warm Venezuelan chocolate mud cake (S$18) is worth popping a couple of buttons more for. Sweet without being too cloying, SKIRT's take on the quintessential dessert is far more palate-friendly than the usual Valhrona versions, with all of the chocolatey goodness that oozes out at the slice of the knife.
Verdict: We're always apprehensive of paying a return visit to a place that we had set the initial bar so high for, and though the dishes we tried made up only a small portion of SKIRT's extensive menu, it's probably safe to say that the restaurant is off to a comfortable start, with plenty more to look forward to from. Service can be a little flustered and confused at times, but the sincerity of the earnest wait staff makes up for it.
Valentine's Day promotion: SKIRT will be serving a Valentine's Day set dinner at S$388 per couple, inclusive of two classes of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Rose.
SKIRT, W Singapore, 21 Ocean Way, +65 6808 7278