To find Tomahawk Steakhouse, step off the bustling cobblestone streets of Temple Bar and follow the stairs down to this intimate and unique dining setting where the steaks are the star of the show…
The ethos is for people to enjoy their beef like they would wines, whiskeys or cheeses, experiencing the different flavour notes due to the aging, smoking and cooking processes on the charcoal burning grill. The Tomahawk team believe there is no better beef than Irish and are proud to serve only the market-best. They work closely with the team at Dollard & Co. Food Market to source top level Irish beef, which are hung in the Dollard & Co. Dry Aging Chamber.
Tomahawk’s Head Chef Kamil Pekar has a passion and respect for cooking with high quality produce and ingredients. Here we ask him to tell us a little about his background, his experiences – and his favourite cut of beef.
- Tell us a little about yourself? What has been your journey so far in the lead up to becoming head chef at Tomahawk?
I’m the middle child of my family and I’m from a small city in Slovakia. During my youth, I did lots of things – from working on motorcycles and car engines, DJing, building, being an electrician, working in air conditioning, even being a piano player. That was until I found my dream job – working with food. I was always looking for the pressure that would challenge me, and I found that in kitchen work.
- How have you evolved as a chef working at Tomahawk? What did you learn coming from your previous background?
I always say that you can’t skip the basics. Basics are the foundations of success. To build something big, you’ve got to start at the very beginning. I started working in a staff canteen, then a coffee shop, a pub and then a large restaurant. I learned a lot about food service and working under pressure. I also learned a lot from the colleagues and amazing chefs I worked with along the way. I learned that behind the success of every great restaurant is not only the look and taste of the food or the location – but the team of colleagues and friends who work hard to create plates of food with love.
Every single job I have worked at has given me more ideas and experience – both good and bad! I’ve worked with an amazing Michelin star chef, who was not just an amazing chef but an incredible person. I worked with a celebrity chef who had brilliant ideas. Every previous job and every chef I’ve worked with has helped shape me into who I am now.
- Tomahawk is a pretty unique restaurant. Does that bring challenges creatively?
Tomahawk is great and wonderful place both to dine in and also to work at. Our main focus of course is the meat, but when we create a new menu every chef has their input. I work with amazingly talented people. Each and every one of them have unique skills and we wouldn’t be where we are without supporting and helping each other.
- Can you tell us about the journey the steaks make before they land on a customer’s plate?
The steaks journey begins when our producer hand picks animals from 4-5 farms in Leinster. The producer then delivers the meat to our experienced butchers upstairs at Dollard & Co. The very first thing they do is check the quality of the meat, rating the product on fat score, colour and size. Once they’ve passed our butchers rigorous tests, the meat is placed into our dry aging chamber in Dollard & Co. This is where our meat gets its unique flavour and tenderness. After a minimum of 21 days, it’s time for the meat to be broken down and delivered to us, where we check the quality again. After all this, it’s time for the grill!
Our cooking process is done on a charcoal base, built from birch wood which has great heat holding properties. It brings a unique smoky taste to the steak as well as searing it to a golden crust. After the grill the meat rests under warm holding lights. Resting the meat is as much, if not more, important than the cooking itself. At Tomahawk, we like to give a steak enough time to rest to perfection. The last step is to plate it up and send it out!
- What is your favourite cut of beef?
It would have to be the Tomahawk of course, but when I’m dining alone I prefer a smaller cut sometimes Delmonico (a thick cut ribeye) or a T-bone.
- You work in a very open kitchen – it has more similarities to a bar counter. This is an unusual environment for a chef, does this change how you operate a kitchen?
I’ve worked in an open kitchen for the past 13 years, so I’m used to it. I like talking to our guests and educating them on the varieties of dishes that we serve. I don’t mind people watching how we cook.
- Is there anything about the day-to-day life of working in a kitchen that you think would surprise people?
I think some people might think that cooking isn’t a challenge. Actually, working in this industry can throw challenges at you that you’re never ready for! Even a little mistake can bring about a bit of panic and lots of improvising!
- If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I am a serious meat lover! The only problem is you can’t eat steak every day. If I could choose just one meal to eat for the rest of my life it would be the BBQ Meat Platter from our neighbours at Bison Bar.
- Are there any staple ingredients that you always keep at home?
We never run out of coffee, milk or cereal. I’m so busy cooking at work that I keep it very simple at home.
- Now’s the chance to let us know – do you have anything special coming up?
Our winter menu is exciting, but I cannot wait for the spring menu. Spring means a brand new start to the year and my team and I are getting prepared with lots of fantastic, fresh ideas.
Want to find out more about Tomahawk? Check out https://tomahawksteakhouse.ie
Tomahawk offers two different styles of seating – a timber dining bar set around an open kitchen where you can watch Kamil and his team and enjoy the theatre of a professional kitchen at work. Alternatively, you can sit back and relax in the leather dining chairs and savour the atmosphere.
The Tomahawk Team are knowledgeable and passionate about food, Irish produce and are avidly involved in every step of the diner’s experience. They’ll talk you through the choices – from Black Angus Striploin to The Tomahawk a 24oz Ribeye for two.
To book – head here https://tomahawksteakhouse.ie/contact/