It was Saturday night, Collingwood had just won the grand final rematch and we all had a little something to celebrate so we headed out with Mish and Ania to Squires Loft Steakhouse for dinner. The two-level venue is tucked away in an alley, so unless you know about it and you’re making a bee-line straight towards it, you’re in for an epic discovery.
When you walk in, you are first greeted by the sweet, savoury smell of grilled steak, then by a smiling face to show you to your table. All the staff were super nice – casual and friendly, and willing to have a quick chat or giggle with us.
The atmosphere inside is very relaxed, with a lot of deep, warm colours and dimmed lighting. The only weird thing was how small the tables were. The only way they could have gotten away with having such small tables was if the plates were small too. I dunno.. let’s see how it pans out.
Because it was Mish’s recommendation, she had already tasted the wine and knew which to order. She asked for Bobby Brown Shiraz, but don’t be fooled – it’s actually Bobby Burns… and OMG I know why she likes it.
The wine was poured at room temperature, if not a little warmer, so when the liquid touches your lips and tongue, it’s nothing but smooth and silky. Despite being a Shiraz, there were no spicy, harsh, or dry textures. It was just a deliciously graceful drop of dark crimson wine with raspberries and black cherries. It was an absolute pleasure to drink and I think I’ve found my new favourite.
Once again, at Mish’s recommendation, we ordered the 500g serving of Pork Spare Ribs. These came out fairly quickly on a sizzle plate and they looked absolutely fantastic. Unfortunately, because Mish is a vegetarian, she had to watch us ferociously gobble these down and leave nothing but clean bones.
The ribs were basted with Steakmate™, an Australian product that looks like it’s exclusive to Squires, then char-grilled to perfection. Yes, I sound like an ad, but they were perfect. Like the smell that greets when you walk in, the taste was sweet and savoury at the same time, the meat was tender but not gooey, oily, fall-off-the-bone soft like a shank. If I was a hot shot executive that worked in the city, I would be coming here at least once a week to have the ribs for lunch. I really hope my photo gives it justice.
The menu gave you a choice of pasture-fed Rump, Porterhouse, Eye Fillet, Scotch Fillet, Rib Eye, or T-Bone, with either chips or a baked potato. There was grain-fed beef options but these were WAAAAAAY out of our price range. You can also get sauces for extra but if the meat is good, you shouldn’t need sauce. I went with a medium Rump and a baked potato. It came out on a sizzle plate, with the nugget of steak on one side, and the gargantuan potato on the other, and a small dishlette of sour cream in the middle.
The steak was superb. Basted with Steakmate again to give it that “Squires” flavour, it was beautifully cooked to leave a bit of pink on the inside, with the criss-cross markings on the outside. The flame grilled smoky flavour broke through the baste and while the texture can’t exactly be described as melt-in-your-mouth, I didn’t break my jaw chewing the meat.
The potato was cooked consistently all the way through and I see it as the “healthy” accompaniment to the steak, instead of the deep fried chips.
We also ordered a greek salad for a bit of fresh greenery, and it seems like they couldn’t do wrong. The colourful salad had plenty of everything in it – feta, olives, Spanish onion, cherry tomatoes, cucumber and carrot – all tossed together with a light vinaigrette dressing. YUM!
Hark! Vegetarian Option…
I suppose we wouldn’t have come to Squires if they didn’t have a vegetarian option for Mish. Her dinner consisted of two kebab sticks with char-grilled mushroom, capsicum and zucchini, and a crescent of grilled pumpkin and a bowl of onion rings with some chips.
I tasted the pumpkin and while I was a bit taken back by how solid it still was (I’m used to pumpkin roasted to sludge), it was still soft and well cooked, and even had the criss-cross of the grill plate for visual pleasure.
The onion rings were basically lightly battered onion fried until slightly crispy, and on their own they were ok, but with the steak, or wrapped around a chip, it added a new dimension of flavour to your meal. The chips were a mouth party on their own. They tasted a little different from your standard chip, almost buttery or creamy, and well salted. I don’t regret my baked potato, but the chips were excellent!
There will be no hesitations to come back to this place. The service and atmosphere was relaxed, friendly and warm and the food was beautifully cooked and full of flavour. Despite the small tables, this place is a goldmine, but don’t forget to bring a goldmine with you when you pay the bill. I’m not saying that it’s ridiculously expensive, but with my income, a revisit will have to wait for another special occasion.