Steak In A Box
Maria's SteakCafe seems to hold a soft spot in many a steak lover's hearts. Especially locals. "If you want fuss-free steaks, go to Maria's," I always hear.
My first taste of Maria's steaks only occurred early this year, despite there being an outlet in Telawi just a few minutes shy from my place. It was only at Maria's signature KLCC outlet did I first get the chance to sample their sizzling porterhouse, alongside a selection of delicious cocktails created by Amanda Wan. It was a delightful experience.
Last month, the good folks at Maria's contacted me to see if I would like to try my hand at cooking my own steak at home. You see, they've started a curated grocery meal box service where diners can recreate the restaurant's signature flavours at home. I found this concept enjoyable for individuals like me, who reside in that sweet spot between amateur and aspiring home cook.
What's In The Box?
All you have to do is choose two mains, and everything you need is readily packed for you, including oil, salt, the same in-house meat seasoning the restaurant uses and even easy-to-follow recipe cards. I opted for an Australian wagyu MB7 ribeye and New Zealand lamb chops.
Accompanying recipe cards make it incredibly simple to recreate a tasty Maria's SteakCafe meal in your own home. The preparation for my chosen mains involved dry rubbing the slabs of meat with the restaurant's blend of spices and herbs. Once done, break out your trusty chef's knife, a chopping board, a glass of wine and get to work on turning the provided vegetables intended for the sides into bite-sized pieces.
Sides in my box included a zucchini, French beans, cherry tomatoes, a bell pepper, potatoes, a carrot, shiitake mushrooms, and garlic, everything you need to make glazed vegetables and roasted potatoes.
Cooking the steak and lamb chops with compound butter was incredibly straightforward, but I highly recommend that you tweak the timing of the searing between flips based on your knowledge of your kitchen equipment. In my case, I don't have a gas stove at home and instead rely on an induction cooker, giving me less control over the pan's heat. This disadvantage meant that setting either the steak or the lamb on one side for four to five minutes as per the instruction resulted in one side being more burnt than the other, as I learnt after flipping my steak over the first time. Learning from this error, I avoided doing so when it came to cooking the lamb.
Despite this, following the recommended cooking time yielded medium doneness for both the steak and lamb, even though one side of my steak crust ended up a bit too charred for my liking. However, it still tasted delicious, and the butter provided with finely chopped garlic created in a flavourful outer coating during the basting process. The steak was succulent and the quality of the meat spoke for itself. Regardless of my subpar kitchen skills, I had a ton of fun. The same goes for the lamb, satisfyingly slightly gamey with a killer mint sauce (already prepared) that proved to be a hit at home.
I decided to serve the steak with roasted potatoes and the lamb with the glazed vegetables, which proved fitting. The greens were also pretty effortless to make thanks to the provided recipe.
For dessert, these incredibly moist muffins provided sweet, satisfactory relief. I'm usually not a fan of carb-heavy muffins, but credit is given when credit is due because these were delicious. Out of the three choices, my favourite was the chocolate chip banana muffin.
It was a pretty wholesome experience getting a restaurant-quality meal prepped for you, especially when you have the chance to make it. Open a bottle of red, turn on some tunes and I suspect that you too will have a blast. It's not the same as having the restaurant cook you a sultry slab of beef, and frankly, it ain't no comparison, but there's something pleasing about cooking it yourself and enjoying the fruits of your labour.
Hit the button below to find out more about Maria's SteakCafe grocery meal box on Beepit.