Restaurant review: The Beef Club – an unexpected fine dining place in Bucharest

Ever since The Beef Club opened in early spring this year, I was curious to see what it brings, compared to its older brother Red Angus in the Old Town (same owners). With the recent menu change at The Beef Club, I got to try it, and see whether it stands up to the fine dining label it uses as marketing. As it turns out, it’s not all just marketing.

Their new chef, a young Romanian who studied in UK and returned to make a difference in local cuisine, seems to be both inspired and talented. Daniel Grosu created the new menu and oversees the daily cooking. He often uses a combination of meat and fruits – rather than simply meat and vegetables – for example, beef with apricots, and plays around with textures – raspberry sauce and fresh raspberries. The special flavor of the menu is however the use of organs into the dishes, such as the increasingly popular veal cheecks – who would have thought? While they bring the beef from abroad, the organs – including the veal cheecks – are sourced from Romania – and we liked that.

Chef Grosu did take us by surprise several times during our dinner at The Beef Club. The amouse bouches – a crouton with duck and raspberry fondue, plus fresh off the oven mini-breads, with different flavours, including turmeric – were a nice touch, while the risotto with truffles, boletus and parmesan was what you’d expect from a place which calls itself a fine dining restaurant.

But on to the main course. I had a type of surf and turf, including of course beef fillet, king prawns with a mango sauce, baby fennel, dauphinoise potatoes, and allspice sauce, and I fully enjoyed it. My husband tried the chef’s specialty, featuring, of course, the veal cheeks, sweetbreads, red onion agrodolce, baby carrot, turmeric, and minted potatoes. Both were delicious and some of the mixtures were unexpected.

Then came the unexpected sorbet – which we first thought to be the dessert. I understand they sometimes do that, serve artisanal fruit sorbet made in between the dishes, to mix and balance flavors.

My husband also tried the house burger – upon hearing they promote it as the best burger in town – and indeed, this signature burger deserves the praise. The home-made fois gras brings the wow to this burger, and the home-cooked bun adds to it – you can eat the burger without the bun breaking, as it so often happens. Hat off! My husband is a big burger fan and has tried several in the city, and The Beef Club special burger is now among his favorites.

As for the dessert, this was perhaps my biggest wow – being such a fool for sweets these days. Without glancing at the menu description, I ordered the cheese cake, and my husband had the lemon tart. Little did we know what we were about to get. Andrei’s plate – or better yet, slate – looked like a kitchen accident, or the result of a battle between the tart, fruits, the sorbet; somehow, this unexpected presentation made it more interesting, and ever tastier – he said.

My cheese cake was also out of ordinary. It did not look like the cheesecake I was expecting – at all. Upon reading the menu description, the plate made more sense: cheesecake pineapple ravioli, mango sorbet, passion fruit sauce and coconut crisp. It was indeed shaped like a big ravioli, in two or three thin layers of pineapple, with the cheesecake filling on the inside. A little bit more on the sour side than I would have wanted, but loved it all together.

The dishes are priced on the average (some) to the high side – our dinner cost a bit over RON 300 – or some EUR 75, without drinks. What else is on the menu? They also serve seafood and fish – including lobster than you get to pick yourself from a big tank, and of course Black Angus beef steaks, as well as Jamon Iberico. I understand their RON 30 business lunch offer is much sought after in the area – with many of the people who work in the office buildings around Aviatorilor area coming here both for the assortment, and the speed of delivery that fit into one’s limited lunch time. The full tantalizing menu is here.

The restaurant does have a non-smoking area, but I think it is not very well separated from the smoking area  – which I usually try to avoid; but I do understand its rationale as everyone in Bucharest seems to smoke, and you have to offer customers what they want. But in combination with the excellent food and the tasty interior, I would conclude The Beef Club is a fine dining place indeed, and one that should be tried at least once.

By Corina Chirileasa, corina@romania-insider.com

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