In a culinary world which seems every more driven to veganism, The Porterhouse grill stands proudly apart – a monument to the love of meat.

Sleek, hip and cool, this new addition to Oxford’s burgeoning restaurant scene is bucking the trend towards trendy plant-based fodder and going all out for flesh. And a fine job it is doing too.

The Porterhouse, which sits on Mill Street, is the new incarnation of The Kite – but leave all memories of that dowdy boozer behind. While the height of culinary expertise at the Kite never stretched far beyond a cheap burger and bowl of chips, the Porterhouse is an altogether different beast.

The grill is the latest venture of Tom Rainey, the genius behind the ultra-successful Punter, on Osney Island – directly across the river. And it is set to do for fine dining in west Oxford what its Osney sibling has done for pub-going.

While occupying the site of The Kite, there is no comparison in either what is offered or even the look of the place.

Chic yet cosy, this steak house and boutique hotel (achingly cool guest rooms are offered upstairs following a tasteful renovation of the 117 year-old building) is a welcoming space of expensive-looking decor – muted Farrow & Ball tones, dark-painted brickwork, arresting vintage photography on the walls, a hefty polished bar and, dominating the restaurant, a glass fronted chiller in which enormous hunks of richly-coloured beef sit dry-ageing gracefully for 28 days.

It makes an arresting focal point, and a strong mission statement.

But it’s in the kitchen that the real magic occurs, in the form of the real mistress of the house: Bertha.

Bertha is a hefty beast – an iron, charcoal-fuelled stove which reaches temperatures of between 150 and 400 degrees centigrade for sustained periods of time, meaning that meat is succulent, locking in its moisture and flavour, and imparting a divine chargrilled taste and aroma.

The meat comes from Smithfield, as you might expect, but the charcoal is local – sustainable, chemical free blocks from the Oxford Charcoal Company.

After a cheeky cocktail (Tommy’s Margarita in honour of the host, and a very reasonable £8), we sat down near the bar (a second, potentially private dining room is available) and decided what to sink our teeth into.

We went for a the vegan option.

Sorry. Of course we didn’t.

We went for roasted bone marrow (£6) – great thick bones split open to reveal their sweet, fatty and oh-so-addictive nectar.

We also tucked into a plate of deviled duck hearts (£8) served with pecan, black pudding and apple: surprisingly sweet and tender with a satisfying bite.

But the best was yet to come. Among an array of dry aged steaks, we went for the joint for which the place is named – the Porterhouse – agreeing with the waiter that it ought to be served rare. I wouldn’t have it any other way – though they may stretch to a medium-rare if you are of a more sensitive disposition.

While purists may prefer it unadorned, we ordered it with a Gentleman’s Relish sauce – giving it a subtle yet tantalising anchovy kick.

It arrived perfectly cooked and nicely cut into thick slices, arranged on the bone like the flights on a cartoon arrow: sirloin on one side and fillet on the other – offering a nice contrast in texture.

Juicy, tender, melt-in-the-mouth succulent, and slightly smoky from its sweaty session with Bertha, it was, by far, the finest steak I have ever eaten. Not only in Oxford but anywhere.

Of course you’ll pay for it – it is sold by weight, so you chose what you can afford – but what price excellence? And this was a piece of meat which went beyond the realms of sustenance to reach near spiritual levels of satisfaction, worthy of this temple to meat.

We were joined by friend and colleague, the food writer Christopher Gray, who also enjoys his meat, and on this occasion chose a Barnsley lamb chop (£15). This was a beast of a bite, served on mash with glazed carrots and gravy. He looked to be enjoyed it very much. His companion Rosemarie – like Chris a firm regular at Tom’s other establishment, The Punter – was curious to see how well non-meat eaters were catered for, and enjoyed a whole lemon sole (£19), which came with fine beans and a caper butter. Distracting her for a moment, I stole a piece and found it wonderful – sweet, moist, delicate and perfectly matched by that subtle butter.

Still it was no match for our steak.

I believe our meat came with chips and even a salad.

They may have been good too, though I confess I didn’t give them a second glance. This was all about that meat.

We also had a pudding – a very generous seasonal fruit crumble served with custard (£6), but all I can recall now is that steak.

Try it and you’ll completely understand.

The Porterhouse 68-69 Mill St, Oxford. 01865 248546 theporter