The Grill Steakhouse – Aylesbury
Home to a charming little museum dedicated to the late, great children’s author Roald Dahl, Aylesbury is also home to the town’s only gourmet Halal steakhouse.
Situated in Lower Kingsbury Square, The Grill Steakhouse is a basement restaurant with a fully Halal food menu of “the finest 28 day, hung and aged, home counties, grass-fed beef”.
The place itself has been thoughtfully designed, with a table for six outside, and a solitary table-for-two upstairs for those unable to make their way down a short flight of stairs to the spacious 68-cover dining room that’s conveniently separate to the alcohol bar.
With an analogous brown colour scheme, sitting room-oriented decor, warm lighting, a dominant central pillar etched with the words ‘Ribeye’ and ‘Sirloin, and a wall mounted breakdown of the steaks offered, the restaurant has quite the character.
Another thoughtful consideration implemented by the owner has all non-alcoholic beverages prepared entirely separately from the alcohol bar.
With that said, however, The Grill Steakhouse certainly needs to go back to the drawing board with its selection of mocktails, as well as those dated paper carasols.
Hence, while the two Daiquiris left much to be desired, with a peculiar bitter aftertaste, the Pina Colada was a lazy juice-flavoured version, and thus anything but what we were hoping for.
These pan-seared scallops had a delicate, crispy top, courtesy of some superb cooking, and went well with the light smokiness imparted by the torn flecks of Halal beef bacon, which were drizzled in a smooth and silky, mildly sweet complimentary sauce.
The crispy bits of onion crumble served as textural contrast to a delicious plate of food.
Whether this was down to the 60 day dry aging process or not, what was unquestionable was how seriously good these partially crispy-cum-chewy strips of deeply smoked bacon were.
And while the signature glaze added a touch of tangy-sweetness, the crispy onion crumble seemed superfluous. Truth be told, we’d have probably enjoyed these more lightly seasoned and simply served up as they are.
But it was this utterly unique Grill Baked Tikka Camembert that stole the show when it came to the starters.
This was, we were told, conceived of during those experimental culinary moments a chef has from time to time. Whatever the case, we really enjoyed the way in which the earthy sweetness of the caramelised red onion chutney countered the gentle heat of the mildly spiced tikka mince base, and the strong smokiness of the gooey layer of cheese over the top.
This also came with a mint raita, which was perfect in helping to neutralise the piquancy of the cheese.
In the end, all that was needed was the accompanying cumin seeded flat brown bread, brushed with the restaurant’s signature glaze, to help scrape up and scoop out all the remaining scrumptious sticky bits near the end.
All steaks, which have a minimum weight (weighed prior to cooking) and have an extra per 100g price listed, are basted in the restaurant’s signature house glaze, and served with grilled tomatoes, chunky chips, side salad and a sauce of your choice.
While the option is there for steaks not to be basted in the restaurant’s default signature house marinade, we were here to experience what the locals have been coming down to enjoy all these years.
With that in mind, how does a steak as lean and as tender as a fillet stand up against said glaze?
While it was simply presented, with crispy, chunky chips that were gorgeously fluffy on the inside, the preparation of this steak split the crowd, with one Lion left somewhat disappointed at how the glaze appeared to overwhelm the attractive charring so meticulously achieved.
The other Lion, however, appreciated both the medium cooked nature of this delicate cut, which retained a level of succulent chewiness, and the gentle sweetness of the glaze.
We did, however, agree that the taste of the glaze appeared to clash against most of the sauces mentioned below.
Cooked to medium, this cut, faired much better in comparison than the above when it came down to taste and experience.
In effect, the sirloin’s fattier make up, helped to sufficiently temper the strength of the glaze in a way that the fillet didn’t quire achieve.
As a result, and with its pleasurably chewy texture, we really enjoyed this for what it was, as well as with most of the sauces below.
Given its meaty robustness and its charbroiled taste (thanks to some equally impressive griddle marks), not only did the natural umami flavour of this premium steak come through strongly (thanks again to its juicy medium to medium-rare cooking), but it was also easily the most charred of the three, with a lovely crispy exterior.
Despite all three plates coming with a simple salad, it would have been nice had said salad been dressed in a vinaigrette to add that little extra.
As for the available sauces, then there were eight that we tried – all inhouse made – and certainly some of the better ones we’ve had.
Starting with their Signature, then despite its watery nature, it had a lovely, silky texture, a mildly caramelised taste, and a gentle heat that came through nicely.
The Peppercorn, while having a really good smooth consistency, offered some mellow heat without being overly strong.
The Blue Cheese, however, was superbly judged, both in terms of its texture and strength. We couldn’t get enough of this one.
And while the watery Mushroom wasn’t as strong as it should have been, the creamy Peri Peri delivered a vinegary kick followed by a spicy kick that lingered strongly thereafter.
What followed the traditional Béarnaise, which incidentally was amazing with its distinctly vibrant tart-herby taste, were the following two altogether non-traditional sauces.
The first was Chocolate, which didn’t really do it for us, and the second was Peppercorn & Rose Petal, which really did, with the peppercorn being well tempered by the subtle aroma of the rose petal.
NOTE: All burgers are served with chips and leafy salad.
When the beef patty is this flavourous, let it sing from the highest peaks, we say!
Nestled simply in between a crispy toasted brioche bun, complete with those now familiar griddle marks, some salad, and a layer of quality cheese, it was all about the deep, meaty taste of the beefy blend of sirloin, rib eye and fillet that had us enthralled.
Superb burger, with some crispy onion rings as a bonus, and one of the better ones we’ve had this year.
The only shortcoming with this grilled and baked Dauphinoise was its texture, which we would have preferred a little more creamier. Otherwise, the garlic taste was certainly there.
Their orange-red hue was achieved through the addition of tabasco sauce.
What this did, aside from impart some tangy heat, was really crisp-up the exterior, making this an addictive little eat and a good accompaniment to any of the steaks.
Not a bad dessert this Honeycomb Cheesecake. Smothered in plenty of runny cream, the cheese was nice and smooth, as it ought to be, with the biscuit base offering that contrastive bite.
The mix of chocolate flakes and honeycomb buttons on top, along with the chocolate cigarellos, provided additional texture.
- YES/ NO
- CHILD SEATING
- JUST EAT (BURGERS ONLY)
What also separates this steakhouse from others is their use of a signature house glaze, which lends a sweet, smokiness to the meat along with an extremely light hint of spice. While the option of having your steaks prepared naked is there, diners presumably visit to enjoy the former, with a solid 4.5/5 Tripadvisor rating from 345 reviewers to date, indicating this fact.
One thing is for sure, there's no denying the quality of the steaks, with the following cuts available: fillet, sirloin, rib eye, t-bone, chateaubriand, and cote de boeuf, nor the expertise with which they're prepared and cooked (we asked for medium and that's precisely what we got). In the end, we were compelled to add our own personal placard to the many affixed on a noticeboard bearing testimony of the experiences enjoyed by previous diners.
In spite of the alcohol bar, owner and chef proprietor, Usman, has put a lot of thought into making this restaurant as accommodating as possible, with mocktails being prepared entirely separately from said bar, as well as a table upstairs for wheelchair users given the restaurant's basement location.
The Grill Steakhouse offers delivery for burgers only from Mon-Thur via Just Eat, and a 10% NHS discount.
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