It is easy to overlook Steaks & Lobsters in Desa Sri Hartamas. Surrounded by a host of interesting-looking Japanese joints that offer yakitori, grilled seafood and deliciously cold Japanese beers, chances are you could walk right past this unassuming resto and not notice it. Its décor is, for want of a better adjective, understated — just a bunch of simple wooden tables and chairs with almost no interior design to speak of, save a string of fairy lights above the bar and an assortment of framed pictures featuring The Beatles, a winsome Marilyn Monroe, Muhammad Ali, a greasy spoon diner and a New Orleans steamboat. In a corner stands a tank of lobsters with which I had not dared make eye contact while a chiller holds a quartet of massive tomahawk steaks.
The kitchen is, strangely, upstairs. So, if you are the sort who gets annoyed about feet tramping up and down the stairs, make sure to get a table further in. What’s nice at Steaks & Lobsters, though, is that it’s well spaced out. So, even if it were bursting at the seams, you would not feel as if you were cheek by jowl with strangers. The restaurant was three-quarters full when we visited on a rainy Tuesday night, with a steady stream of diners coming in even when we left past 10pm — testament to the kitchen’s pulling power.
The week I visited, a Merdeka promotion was still ongoing, offering nasi lemak Wagyu beef steak, rendang burger and nasi lemak sambal lobster roll, the sounds of which made me just a tad nervous about my meal to come. Thankfully, the customary bread basket assuaged my fears a little, offering comfort and warmth in the shape of sesame-studded dinner rolls served, interestingly, with cinnamon butter. Our order of thick-cut spiced and lightly-battered Portobello mushroom fries (RM19) arrived quickly and proved a juicy bite, oozing umami flavours. It was contrasted by a Sriracha dip, the chilli’s heat working to perk up your senses. The escargots (RM18) came glistening with butter and swimming in a garlicky concasse, causing us to abandon the aforementioned cinnamon butter in favour of this pungent, creamy ambrosia.
As its name suggests, it makes good sense to have both the steak and lobster here and we were happy to comply. Our BOC Ribeye (RM68) arrived first, accompanied by regular and sweet potato fries, avocado-enhanced potato salad and green leaves drizzled with sesame dressing. Almost hidden under a pile of duck bacon, caramelised onions and cheese, the meat — all of which is air-flown in weekly from Australia — was tender and flavourful, the result of simple but effective treatment: a dry rub, splash of premium olive oil and chargrilling over an open charcoal fire.
If you are in the mood for comfort food with a luxurious twist, you can’t go wrong with the mac and cheese (cheddar and mozzarella) whole baked lobster (RM163). Again, the lobsters are air-flown in — this time from Canada — twice-weekly to ensure freshness and quality. Portions are hale and hearty, so, if you ordered starters, it might be wise to go easy on the mains. There are also lobster rolls, to save you from having to make a trip to Maine or New York City, and there are four variations to try: classic, truffle, foie gras and chilli.
If you are out to impress your date or simply want to have a meal to remember, try the Burger of Kings (RM188), packed with truffle, lobster, Wagyu beef and foie gras, and topped with 24-carat gold leaf, bringing to mind an equally luxe burger I once had at Hayman Island Resort in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Considering it was priced at A$150 many years back, this seems like a right bargain.
The wine list is not extensive but, happily enough, features the key Kiwi Sauvignon Blancs I love, like Kim Crawford (RM215.90) and Cloudy Bay (RM235.90). If burgers and steaks are your order of the day and red wine is your preferred match, there’s a juicy Cabernet Sauvignon by Los Vascos (RM125.90) — part of the Domaines Barons de Rothschild family that hails from the Colchagua Valley, Chile’s most famous wine region. If Petite Syrah suits your palate better, there’s a Durif by Aussie label Calabria, from its iconic Three Bridges range. Those in a celebratory mood would also appreciate that Moët et Chandon is priced at a pocket-pleasing RM349.90 here.
There is not much in the way of desserts but the churros, served with Belgian chocolate, caramel and a scoop of vanilla ice cream, is the signature offering — one that we found too crispy but passable if you absolutely insist on ending the meal on a sweet note. And for those who have suffered the parking trials of Desa Sri Hartamas, you would probably agree that Steaks & Lobsters’ complimentary valet parking is a sweeter touch.
Steaks & Lobsters, 42, Jalan 24/70A, Desa Sri Hartamas, KL. 012 743 7167. Daily, 5.30pm-12am. Kitchen closes at 11pm.