Header image courtesy of @scarlett_hk (via Instagram)
With just a few ingredients—beef, an egg yolk, and a variety of customisable seasonings like onions, capers, and Worcestershire sauce—steak tartare might seem simple, but fans of the raw dish will know that not every version is made equal. A good steak tartare, whether it’s the more rustic variant found in French bistros or a fine-dining version dotted with caviar, has to have the right texture, mouthfeel, and balance of flavours—and that’s before you even get to the all-important quality of the beef. As a result, the risk of getting a gamey or bland steak tartare is pretty high—so instead of taking the chance next time you’ve got a craving for steak tartare, why not check out some of our favourite versions in Hong Kong?
As befitting its bovine theme, Beefbar has gone all out on its steak tartare menu, which comprises not one, but seven different variations of the dish. Purists can go with the OG “bistro-style” tartare ($250), but we’d recommend the more unconventional milk-fed veal filet, tarragon, and praline tartare ($250) if you like aniseed or even the tuna, veal, oyster, and caviar tartare ($490) for a taste of luxury. For uber-special occasions, you can even request the hand-cut tartare, which involves a member of staff whipping up a huge 200-gram portion of steak tartare on a tableside trolley to your exact preference from premium cuts of American black Angus filet ($680), Australian Wagyu filet ($780), and Korean filet ($1,100).
Beefbar, 2/F, Club Lusitano, 16 Ice House Street, Central | (+852) 2110 8853
For a classic take on steak tartare, drop by this convivial French wine bar and restaurant in Tsim Sha Tsui. The tartare à la Montmartre ($188) is a simple, well-seasoned rendition made with beef tenderloin (hand-cut for better texture, naturally), onions, Dijon mustard, parsley, and Worcestershire sauce, topped with a sunshine-yellow egg yolk, and served alongside crispy French fries. There are no frills here, just casual and comforting bistro-style fare.
Scarlett, 2 Austin Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 3565 6513
Like everything else at this “funky Chinese kitchen,” you can expect chef Jowett Yu’s steak tartare to have a twist—in this case, the Wagyu steak tartare ($168) in question is described as being “Yunnan-style”—a.k.a. hot and sour. The rough-cut beef comes with a liberal dusting of chilli powder accented by the inclusion of tart, acidic sorrel, and a cured egg yolk. It’s a playful, irreverent dish that tastes like an encapsulation of Yu’s tongue-in-cheek style—bold, modern, but well-executed and thoroughly unpretentious.
Ho Lee Fook, 1–5 Elgin Street, Central | (+852) 2810 0860
In the tradition of Latin American cuisine, Ichu’s take on steak tartare—beef tenderloin tartare ($150)—is bright, punchy, and flavourful, cutting through the rich beef with Peruvian ingredients. The beef is mixed with syrupy molasses from the algarrobo (carob) tree, then flavoured with a velvety corn alioli and fiery aji amarillo (yellow pepper) paste.
Ichu, 3/F, 80 Queen’s Road Central, Central | (+852) 2477 7717
Instead of capers, onions, and mustard, this dish—which is actually a traditional Korean raw dish called yukhoe—is seasoned with salt, sugar, sesame oil, pepper, and garlic. Celebrated Korean chef Mingoo Kang’s yukhoe, which can be found on the dinner tasting menu ($780) at his new(ish) establishment Hansik Goo, is a delicate and thoughtful take on the traditionally home-style dish. The relatively small portion of sesame-sprinkled Australian Wagyu beef comes topped with a quail egg yolk and is served alongside crisp slices of Korean pear and curls of fried lily bulb for texture and earthiness.
Hansik Goo, 2/F, 8 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central | (+852) 2798 8768
While Café Gray Deluxe might serve fine French fare, the steak tartare ($180) here is surprisingly unconventional, with a higher-than-usual number of accoutrements like semi-translucent slices of beef carpaccio, pickled celery, mixed greens, hardboiled eggs, and crispy potato gaufrettes (Belgian waffle fries). There are also more condiments here than you’d find at a Parisian bistro—besides the ketchup, Tabasco, brandy, and Worcestershire sauce that have been mixed in with the beef itself, the steak tartare also comes with Café Gray’s housemade Kunz ketjap (a secret blend of spices and kecap manis, a sweet Indonesian soy sauce), as well as a creamy cucumber yoghurt.
Café Gray Deluxe, 49/F, The Upper House, 88 Queensway, Admiralty | (+852) 3968 1106