Little Havana was named the country’s best steakhouse in The Wolftrap Steakhouse Championship this year. Owner Martin Lombaard shares some of his Durban restaurant’s top tips for your T-bone…
Where does the whole the concept “the perfect steak” begin?
The perfect steak begins with the best meat. The quality of the product determines the end result, as do the details of its preparation.
What is the biggest no-no when preparing your steak?
We at Little Havana do not believe in any marinades or rubs for our steaks.
What are some of your step-by-step tips for creating the perfect steak?
First, don’t over-marinade. Excellent meat only needs olive oil and seasoning.
Then, your heat source needs to be searing hot. Slow heat cooks the meat and ruins the taste. With a very high heat you sear the outside to caramelise it and still retain the juiciness inside.
Basting with marinades often burns your meat, usually due to the high sugar content. If you want to baste, apply towards the end to prevent the burning/blackening effect.
Don’t serve your steak immediately – allow for at least 10 minutes of resting time.
Finally, don’t forget to turn the steak on it’s side for the fat to crisp up.
Could you explain the concept of a “blue steak”? Who should eat such a thing?
A blue steak is still dark in colour – almost purple – and just warm in the centre, with a spongy texture. This is a dish for someone who likes steak tartare and wants to taste the true flavour of the meat.
It must be rested at room temperature before cooking for at least 30 minutes, and then cooked on a very hot grill for 90 seconds on each side.
What is your favourite cut and why?
It all depends on what is well-aged and it its best. I like dry-aged beef on the bone, and a whole rib eye roast aged for a minimum of 30 days. But a rump cap, also know as Picanha (pee-con-ya) in South America, is considered the best cut of beef there is.