Elvet Steakhouse, Hasanoghlu 6, Baku Tel.: +994 12 567 6464 www.elvetsteakhouse.com
You’re gasping for some protein? You want a full on meatfest? Have I found the place for you! Elvet Steakhouse is tucked right behind the Heydar Aliyev Cultural Centre – you can’t miss it- and here you can indulge to your heart’s delight. Meat, meat and more meat, all fresh and top quality. Sharpen those gnashers and get stuck in!
As you approach, you think you are entering a nightclub. A grand entrance with a red carpet and a doorman welcome you in. Inside, a somewhat confused interior designer has been let loose. Part fast food joint with rustic pine tables, no placemats, paper napkins, wooden kitchen chairs, part elegant dining room with provencale arm chairs, black and gold wall panels and huge oil paintings, part kitchen larder with large raw meat counters and whole sides of animals. The staff, however, are most professional and it seems as though there are at least two waiters for every guest hovering in very close proximity.
You’re greeted, you’re seated, you’re offered Sangria from a jaunty two barrel trolley and then the Elvet Way Of Doing Things begins. Don’t you go getting any ideas of your own! I wanted to mix my own spritzer, so I asked to retain an extra empty wine glass on the table. I got the ‘you are a most peculiar woman’ look. Later, I asked to serve myself from our shared salad to which the waiter rolled his eyes, looked at my husband pityingly and barked “Why?” and proceeded to serve me while I watched in stunned silence. Taking photos for this blog earned me challenging stares and I don’t think it would have taken much for them to call the men in white coats. The service is certainly most efficient….in a smiling Gulag warden kind of way.
The menu is a carnivore’s dream. Sure, there’s the odd salad and one apologetic looking fish dish but otherwise it’s red and it’s juicy and it’s waiting for you. It’s mostly beef in all permutations with some lamb thrown in for good measure. You’re invited to inspect the meat at the meat counter and truthfully, Harrods Food Hall would blanch in comparison. Lean and mean, there it is, fillets, slices, cubes, ribs, everything you could possibly wish for.
We ordered goat’s cheese salad to start with. It was nicely drizzled in Balsamic vinegar though there was only a little bit of crumbled goats cheese in evidence. I imagine they thought eating such a sissy’s starter was a waste of time anyway. I proceeded to what was termed a ‘starter’ portion of Carpaccio on a bed of rocket which was quite enough to feed three people. The lovely husband went all out for a New York Fillet Steak. Both were succulent and perfectly done. The steak was supposed to come with baked potato and indeed it did but this was a rather shriveled overdone little thing and there was no sauce to accompany it, no ketchup, no sour cream, just two types of mustard, some dried thyme and salt and pepper on the table. Still, the sheer size of the meat slab and its juicyness entirely made up for it.
At the table beside us, we saw the Elvet Special being prepared which involved thin slices of meat being sizzled in hot oil and then piled on to a bed of lettuce. It looked and smelled delicious!
We sat, we cogitated, we chatted while the sun set behind Zaha Hadid’s stunning Heydar Aliyev Cultural Centre. Eventually, we were ready for pudding and coffee. Dessertwise, there’s not much choice. It’s bakhlava and ice-cream or ice cream and baklava. A slice of bakhlava pie arrived and was deftly cut apart and vanilla ice cream spread over the pistachio centre before it was put together again, flattened and served. I didn’t dare tell the waiter that I’d prefer the pie without ice cream and surreptitiously, fearfully glancing over my shoulder, I scraped it off afterwards. Ha, I’m not stupid, I know what’s good for me!
We paid AZN105 for a shared salad starter, a portion of Carpaccio, a New York Steak, a shared portion of dessert, two Efes beers, two mineral waters and two glasses of wine. I thought this was excellent value considering the size of the portions and the quality of the food. We’ll meat again!