While Ash isn't a steak house per se, it has been described as a “meatery”. They have a Josper oven specifically for grilling meat, they consistently offer at least one cut of steak on the ever-changing menu, they trumpet where they get their "ethically sourced" meat from (the overrated Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants), it even says “CHARCOAL COOKING” on the logo... but their steaks - bar the ribeye on the bone - were substandard, not just in terms of the quality of meat, but also how it was cooked (or in some cases, wasn’t cooked). In particular, the Denver cut that they served received universal condemnation from the SteakBoyz.
The starters were all very good: the deep-fried pickles, the bread, the cheese balls. The sides were OK: that cabbage was pretty good but looked awful, the mash was nice enough but those fried baby potatoes were a poor substitute for chips.
I appreciated the managers' willingness to accommodate us, which I find unusual for hip spots in Cape Town. They were keen to impress; they organised a "Steakboyz Selection" of steak cuts, they willingly rearranged the tables on request, they bent their own corkage rules. The service on the night however was very average. We were supposed to have a dedicated waiter who would take care of us for the whole night but after sitting for 10 minutes, I had to go and hunt him down. He didn’t offer much direction on what to order and hadn’t taken it upon himself to learn about the bespoke cuts that had been curated for his only table.
In terms of ambience, it was bustling and full, but too small for a table of 18. I was warned by the managers beforehand that a big table like that would be cramped and they were right. In general, I found it to be a limited restaurant, with limited choice: hardly any spirits, only one soft drink option, only craft beers. I think they are too niche, too boutique for a full house of SteakBoyz. They’re probably more used to well-behaved tables of four.
Ash the owner and chef boasts an impressive CV, but her kitchen produced a lot of poor steaks. She didn’t engage with us at all and didn’t look like she wanted to. She should've checked in, received feedback and redeemed herself. She didn't.
81 Church Street, Cape Town
(021) 424 7204
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