I’ve been having a lot of those moments recently when I’m trying to explain something to a friend and they have no idea what I’m talking about or can’t relate to my level of excitement. I was trying to explain to the OH how much fun it is to go to this restaurant called Stone Grill in Hong Kong and how I want to bring him the next time we’re there. You get try your hand at being the chef, cooking your own slab of steak, vegetables or seafood to your own liking. There wasn’t any such restaurant in Edinburgh when we spoke about this a couple of years ago, so I was excited when I saw there was now Steak on Stones which opened earlier this year.
Located on the same strip as a pub, car rental, convenience store and a hotel, Steak on Stones stands out, albeit with a quiet, unassuming kind of presence. The menu hung on the metal railings grab your attention immediately as you walk past Picardy Place, almost like a butler clearing his throat to get your attention.
The restaurant is divided into 3 parts: the more extravagant Steak Restaurant, the slightly more casual Steak on Stones or the basement pub, Beer & Skittles.
It’s hard to describe how the quirky mix of vintage, artistic and mix match of furniture works so well to give you a comfortable atmosphere without appearing like a second thought. The walls are a mix of bare stone, bricks and glossy paint while you seated at a comfy upholstered bench or what appears to be a half-prepared wooden chair about to get its first coat of varnish.
The menu doesn’t appear to be extensive, but when you get to cook your own meat with your choice of side, sauce and drink, there’s not much to complain about. After all, you’re here for the cooking experience right? For the price of £12, you get 200g of beef. When it first arrives, it doesn’t seem like much, but if you’re having doughnuts afterwards (which I highly recommend!) you’ll find it’s more than enough to order 200g each!
Our serving of bread for the table
It might seem the basket of bread is quite plain at first, but it’s surprisingly good. The OH cooks our bread whenever we go camping on a pan with a bit of butter and it tastes quite different from toast: it’s almost on the crispy side without being dried out in the oven. The bread we were given had that same flavour and I had a bit of a nostalgic moment when I took my first bite. We were quickly served our sides of salad, sauces (I went for the jerk mayo while the OH had the pepper sauce) and chips and our drinks came in Havana tins which I thought was quite eccentric but a nice touch.
Then came the main event: the pre-heated 350°C lava stone with a bowl of sea salt and your raw pieces of meat.
I hadn’t realised until I saw everyone else doing it that sprinkling the salt onto the hot surface (normally your grill or pan, but in this case your lava stone) first helps keep your pieces of meat from sticking. I just thought it was to give your meat some flavour!
To keep the meat hot when we wanted to eat it, we only cooked another piece once we’ve finished the few pieces we had on our plates.
I wasn’t sure how I felt about it at first. At the Stone Grill restaurant in Hong Kong, you’re given an entire piece of steak but here they give you small slices. It turns out having small slices mean you get to cook it when you want without overcooking your steak! It still tastes really good and you get more pieces to cook.
After satisfying our carnivorous sides, we went to satisfy our sweet tooth with dessert.
Custard and hot fudge doughnuts
I’m not normally a big fan of filled doughnuts only because the ones you get from the shops always taste like custard and you end up making a big mess. Even the chocolate flavoured one tastes like chocolate-flavoured custard. I’m pleased to say that the hot fudge doughnut is proper dark chocolate filling. The dessert is served hot which was quite a nice change from the room temperature store bought doughnuts.
It wasn’t the same experience I wanted the OH to have memories of, but we both enjoyed our visit and hope to go back again sometime with friends and family. It seems like you’re charged for absolutely everything, but when you calculate it all in your head (or when the bill arrives) you realise you’re not spending a lot more money on the food than you would expect. For a meal at Steak on Stones, you’re spending a reasonable amount for a meal considering it’s at a prime location nearby the Omni Centre and at the top of Leith Walk!
Steak on Stones can be found at 14 Picardy Place, EH1 3JT and is open for dinner Mondays to Saturdays 5:00 to 11:00 pm and to 10:00 pm on Sundays. For any enquiries or to make a reservation you can call 0131 556 1289, or use their online booking system.