Christchurch has a new upmarket steakhouse which ranks extremely high on the flavour and premium cut market. Say hello to Jaba Grill & Bar. Situated in the popular precinct on Lichfield Street, you will find Jaba Grill & Bar serving up some culinary goodness inspired by 'caveman' cooking, hearty cuts plated up elegantly.
I had the pleasure of heading to Jaba for my 34th Birthday and boy was it a night to remember. Besides the food, which was, of course, the highlight, my partner had organised a surprise party with our nearest and dearest there. Anyway back to the food.
Jaba is owned by steak connoisseur Jay Balasundaradas who knows how to season and prepare brilliant steaks. The meat is cooked in house in a state of the art Kopa charcoal grill, allowing the meat to tenderise and really encompass that delicious charcoal flavour. With over 20 years experience in the hospitality industry and ownership of successful restaurants in Australia, Jay has brought his talents, eye for detail and love of a perfect steak to the Christchurch dining scene, and we aren't complaining.
250gm Sirloin with crisps and bone marrow @ Jaba Grill and Bar (photo by Praneel Lal)
Having a party of 15 altogether, there was definitely options for all. Those that felt more pescatarian on this particular Saturday opted for the salmon, while the other 95% went straight in for the meat.
The portions are ideal for dinner. Even the token salmon dish (which was perfectly cooked) with crispy skin, dukkah, gourmet baby potatoes, bok choy and a ginger-lime glaze; was an ample serving.
A variety of steak dishes were ordered with each causing complete silence on devouring, as plate by plate the mains came out. The first up was the 250gm Sirloin with crisps and bone marrow. This was seasoned to perfection providing a really crunchy exterior charcoal skin with an ideal medium pink colour inside. The bone marrow was like no bone marrow I had tasted before, it had parts that melted and parts that were crispy. Very unique.
Out next was the 450gm Prime Steer Rib Eye on the Bone. This was incredible melt-in-your-mouth and fall-off-the-bone tender meat. The side of Chimichurri style sauce provides a surprising addition to the meal, adding a freshness without taking away the impact of flavour from the beef. The secret sauces and caramelisation of the exterior of the meat really packs a punch, and with a cheeky side of agria chips, and a local matched red wine, calls for an ideal Saturday night.
Lamb rump with coriander, fennel, cumin rub, cauliflower puree, broad beans, roast capsicum, red wine jus @ Jaba Grill and Bar (photo by Praneel Lal)
Lamb is also a popular item on the menu, after all, we are in New Zealand, it would be rude not to. The lamb option at Jaba Grill & Bar experiences the same love and attention in its season preparation with a charcoal coriander, fennel, cumin rub on a cauliflower puree, roast capsicum and red wine jus. The lamb is cooked perfectly with a light pink colour in the middle.
The venue itself is large with a rustic inside seating as well as outside with heating. The restaurant serves up a grand selection of cocktails, and local and imported wines. They cater for large groups with options of an a la carte or banquet menu for 15 persons and over.
A booking is recommended for Jaba Grill & Bar as Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights are pumping. If you are looking for a date night location, a place to take your folks, or somewhere to start your birthday celebrations, I highly recommend Jaba Grill & Bar.
Salmon with crispy skin, dukkah, gourmet baby potatoes, bok choy, ginger lime glaze @ Jaba Grill and Bar (photo by Praneel Lal)