Steak & Wine: The Perfect Pairing

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Posted: 15/03/2023

Chef Kamil explains why coal-roasted cuts go so well with a glass of the good stuff, and shares his own perfect grape pairings for Hunter & Barrel Dubai and Abu Dhabi favourites


Fish and chips. Mac and cheese. Steak and wine. Some culinary pairings are just so exquisite we couldn’t possibly imagine one without the other. But do divine taste combinations happen by chance, or is there actual science behind the most moreish food and beverage marriages? Well, when it comes to red meat and red wine – the man at the helm of Dubai’s Best Steakhouse, Chef Kamil, says yes.


Fill us in! Why does red meat with red wine taste SO good? 

Red meat and red wine are a classic pairing because they both offer rich, complex and savoury flavours. Tannins – a chemical compound found in grape skins, seeds and stems as well as wood barrels – taste dry and bitter, and have the ability to cut through the fatty, buttery taste of red meat, releasing more of its beefy flavour. The fat, in turn, softens the astringent qualities of the wine, helping to mellow it and make it taste smoother while bringing out more of its fruity flavours. So essentially, because they are opposites, they work to balance each other out by reducing the contrasting sensations – and what we end up with is a very pleasing effect on the palate! 


Can the ‘wrong’ wine ruin a meal? 

Food and wine pairing is an essential part of enjoying a meal; both have a major impact on each other. A badly-matched wine can create undesirable reactions and lessen the enjoyment of a meal, while a well-matched wine can open up a whole new world of flavours and create a truly memorable culinary experience.


Is there a general rule of thumb to help me choose the right red wine for my steak? 

Try to match the intensity of the meat dish with the wine. Lighter or medium-bodied red wines work well with lean cuts of beef as they have a higher acidity, which will cut through the texture of the lean meat. Richer, bolder dishes deserve a bold wine like a Merlot, those with some spice pair well with a Shiraz, and herbal dishes with a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Bordeaux.


Are there any drinks I should avoid when eating steak?

I don’t think so, because many factors come into play during the pairing process. And it all comes down to an individual’s personal preferences and sensitivities to certain flavours and aromas. Then there are also the characteristics of the beverage, its basic interaction with the food, the steak’s preparation method and the ingredients used, the cooking techniques as well as the seasonings, garnishes and sauces that accompany the meat. It goes without saying that some drinks are, of course, more suited than others, but one of the most important elements to consider when selecting a beverage is to ensure that it does not overpower the flavour of the steak and that its various components are able to cut through the meat’s richness to balance the flavours well.


And when should I raise the bar with the Hunter & Barrel Fine Wine Menu? 

Hunter & Barrel offers a wide variety of meats at different quality grades and price points. Our wine list has been thoughtfully designed with different styles and tastes and includes a good representation of relevant regions and grapes, but we felt we needed a higher-quality selection to match our more exclusive meats. For this reason, we introduced our finer wine collection which pairs well with the flavour profile of our more discerning cuts – such as our chocolate-fed Mayura Station Wagyu Beef and Kiwami Japanese Ribeye Cap. 


Chef Kamil’s Top Wine Pairings For Hunter’s Red Meat Favourites 

Flank Steak – Cabernet Franc or Malbec

Rump Steak – Dolcetto or Monastrell 

Ribeye – Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz or Merlot

Fillet tenderloin – Pinot Noir 

Beef Ribs – Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz

Garlic & Rosemary Angus Fillet Skewer – Malbec 

Angus Beef Burger – Cabernet Sauvignon, Nero d’Avola or Shiraz


To browse the Hunter & Barrel Beverage menu, click here 

To view our Fine Wine selection, click here 

For our award-winning A La Carte, click here 

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