University of Surrey - Surrey Business School. Cardiff University Cardiff Business School. Published April 13, Updated May 8,
Adding smoked ketchup to the mix is not helpful. More on smoked ketchup later. Bestellen was formerly a convenience store, and what was once its walk-in fridge is now a glass cooler for dry-aging meat. The cooler is filled with steaks aging not that much fun to watch and also with meats that Chef cures in house. They do a very good hand-chopped steak tartare with espelette aioli, topped with a quail's egg that has been first perfectly poached and then deep fried for a mouthburst of liquid gold.
House-made grilled brioche slices make this fun food, much like the Betsellen burger. It's served on a wondrously crunchy house-made brioche bun, with decent fries.
This is served with the smoked ketchup, however, which does not turn my crank, especially not on fries. I ask for normal ketchup; they don't have any. Not for the fries and not for the burger. But the burger is deeply pleasurable, superlative beef cooked rare as ordered. It's a form of steak, and steak is what they do well here. The only difference between Bestellen and a traditional steak house is that it doesn't present itself the way steak houses traditionally do.
There is no creamed spinach and no iceberg wedge with blue-cheese dressing. And there are hipsters. Why else would the fish seared halibut with tough little gnocchi be overcooked and the spaghetti with ramps and pecorino be bland?
Because steak is the priority here. It is butter with teeth, a perfect pink dream steak. Absent the hard crust thanks to ultra-high-temperature fast grilling or searing that often means steak in this town, this steak is incredibly delicate, with no spiced char to obfuscate its essence. Hardcore carnivores will be very happy here. Dressed in light buttermilk vinaigrette, the bittersweetness of the celeriac sets off the steak like mink set off Marilyn Monroe.
The desserts change all the time, and tend to get all of chef's attention since there are usually only two of them.
One evening there's a quite fabulous warm, pudding-like carrot cake topped with cream-cheese mousse. It all kind of fits together, as long as you remember that Bestellen is not one of the new hyper-interesting artisanal restos. It's a post-modern steak house. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe. If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters globeandmail.
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