Medium rare, well done, blue—on one occasion or another, beef connoisseurs would have thrown out these terms to ensure that their steaks were prepared the way they liked.
Most would assume that the cut and doneness would be all to a good steak experience, but the real secret behind some of the world’s top steakhouses and speciality butchers would be the innocuous process of dry aging.
Dry Aging: what does the term mean in the world of prime cuts, charcuterie, and game? This is a delicacy so revered that Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs were buried with it. Simply phrased, dry aging is the controlled decomposition of meat. It harks back to an old craft tradition where meat was hung dry on the bone until it ripened.
These days, more sanitary precautions are taken to ensure both the quality and safety of the meat. The cuts are typically found in a dedicated dry ager fridge, with conditions that rigorously control the levels of moisture and bacteria throughout the aging process, which can range anywhere from four to six weeks.
During this period, the natural enzymes within the beef break down the muscle tissues to produce a rich, unique aroma, delicate consistency, and robust flavour. Some even describe it as double the tenderness with a stronger, beefier taste.
The aging process also creates a crust of fungus outside that seals off the meat as it tenderises, further containing the changes happening to the meat and adds an extra depth to the final flavour. Due to its complexity and prolonged preparation, dry aged beef can be pricier, but when prepared right, one bite of this delicacy can alter a person’s expectations forever.
Luckily, no gourmet experience is unattainable in Singapore. When Ginett acquired their dry ager fridge a few months ago, they certainly raised the steaks for everyone else. Introducing both inexpensive dry-aged beef and a plethora of French cheeses at the same time was a siren’s call, one that promised to fulfil the epicurean fantasy.
Proudly erected in the middle of their restaurant, the fridge boasts of several cuts with huge slabs of salt lying at the bottom to maintain the optimal moisture conditions. The meat chosen for the fridge is a premium Australian Black Angus from Australian beef producers such as Rangers Valley, O’Connor Beef and Stockyard, while all the cheeses are verified with Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) under French law.
When served with other steaks, the nondescript appearance echoes its counterparts. However, from the first bite, the difference is clear. Gone are the irksome, chewy parts of a steak. Gone is the slightly metallic flavour one gets when eating a steak that has been wet-aged (the most common technique used for most meat sold on the market).
The rich, charred notes of the grill cut through the meaty flavour, but the steak is still unbelievably succulent, almost as if it was cooked sous vide instead. Purists may scoff at the accompanying condiments, but the intense taste paired well with the decadent blue cheese sauce.
Those who enjoy a variety of dishes will be delighted with the luscious creamy spinach, which is far tastier than several renowned steakhouses in Singapore. Another ideal, and quite localised, pairing will be Ginett’s pasta dishes, each executed masterfully with al dente noodles and fresh ingredients.
The refreshing heat from the Vongole makes for an excellent staple and deters one from being overwhelmed by the table of meat, or you could just wash everything down with French wines that start at $6 a glass.
If there was a standout place that checked all the boxes for a memorable night out, Ginett’s latest additions only formed a new benchmark for its neighbouring establishments. Judging by the staunch crowd of regulars that the restaurant draws every night, the charm of its evolving menus may be understated, but the institution is a definite knockout.
Ginett Restaurant & Wine Bar
When? Now till otherwise specified
Hotel G, 200 Middle Rd, Singapore 188980