My friend had told me about the great Wagyu steak he had at Lygon Charcoal Grill and Steakhouse. Shortly after hearing about it, I tried a Wagyu steak at Ishiya Stonegrill and totally loved it. Hence, while I happened to be in Lygon, I met up with my friend to try some of the Wagyu at Charcoal Grill.
Despite what their online menu says, they do serve grade 7+ Wagyu steaks in two sizes. The 300g steak is $60 while the 400g size is $70. It is a lot for a steak, but we are talking Wagyu here. Rockpools grade 9+ Wagyu is $110 for only 200g as a comparison.
It was a very warm night so we asked for a table outside. Strangely, the outside area has plastic surrounding the tables so you didn't the full effect of the atmosphere of the street. This is good and bad. Good because it isolates all the noise outside, but that is also the bad side. I would prefer to have all the noise of the street given a choice.
A quick look at the menu and none of the entrees really captured me. Steak was going to be the highlight so we both got the Wagyu, done medium. A serving of chips was ordered, as well as some diced uncooked onions. My friend said that the onions really bring out the flavour. I rarely eat raw onions, although strangely I love it with Beef Tataki. Hence it never really occurred to me to try it with cooked steak.
Our waitress was fantastic. She had a strong Irish accent so we had to concentrate to understand what she was saying, but otherwise she was efficient and friendly. Also, when she noticed me snapping photos, she asked if she could help us take a photo. Now that is good service, noticing a need from the customer and addressing it without needing to be asked. She helped us take a photo and then went to get our meals. The other times when a waiter had shown some initiative were at Madame Sousou when a waiter got my friend a free honey and lemon drink since he was coughing really badly and at Isthmus of Kra where again the waiter offered to help take a photo. Why can't more service be like this. Service should be good at all places, not just restaurants where you pay a premium for the food.
Our steaks were served very simply with a mash and some chargrilled vegetables. We both didn't want any sauce as we wanted to taste the steak. And boy was the steak good. It was melt in your mouth stuff. The charcoal flavours gave it some more ooomph. But otherwise, the meat with its oils was so yummy. A little bit of salt on it just brought out more flavours. I tried some of the raw onions and again it helped to lift the steak even more. The steak was very filling, probably the fatty parts helped to make you full quite quickly.
We drank our wines and soaked up the residual taste of the steak and the atmosphere. It was Grand Prix time and I have never seen so many Ferrari's in my life. There were red, yellow and black Ferrari's zooming up and down Lygon street.
As we walked back towards the car, my friend said I had to see this bar on Faraday street. I immediately knew the bar he was talking about. I said "it's the one with all the gold statues right?". So we walked to Il Duce Si Diventa. I had never been in, nor had my friend, so I said, let's go in and have a drink. Before our drink though, we went downstairs to look around, then to the second ground level room and finally upstairs. Then we got our drinks and settled in the room upstairs. It really is sensory overload. You don't know where to look. At every corner there is something strange to look at. We even managed to find and read some books about Dictators of History. Totally ecletic place that you can't help but smile at. I even posed for a photo with a headless statue. I looked so silly and sheepish in that photo, so I'm not showing it.
Back to Lygon Charcoal Grill and Steakhouse. The steaks were delicious and the service was very good. I don't know what the atmosphere inside is like but it was slighted muted outside for my liking due to having those plastic around the perimeter of the tables. Otherwise, a very enjoyable dining experience, enhanced by good friendly service.
Overall Rating: 15/20, Steak was very good and service friendly and efficient.
Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20: Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.