A dozen of us head to Meat and Wine Co at Darling Harbour, next to the IMAX theatre late on a Friday night to celebrate the end of semester and we are ushered into our private room behind a glass wall on the ground floor of the restaurant. Since our friend had booked for a 8.30pm start, we didn’t expect to get a whole enclosed area to ourselves so this was a bonus, although the unfortunate trade off was that we didn’t get a view of Darling Harbour. The restaurant is bustling and we understand why they had only given us an option of either 5.30pm or 8.30pm sittings as they were very very busy, so book early!
Meat and Wine Co, as its name would suggest, is famous for their wide variety of steaks but they also do non-steak options such as seafood and pastas. As we are dining in such a large group tonight, most of the group opt for different types of steaks (beef and kangaroo, of varying sizes and cuts) but your bloggers aren’t feeling like meat because we’re a little full already (we had a pre-dinner experience at Holy Basil because we got hungry waiting for our 8.30pm dinner). So we go for the Portuguese prawn entree and the pasta of the day to share.
The restaurant has several levels and thankfully we are seated in a room sealed off from the rest of the restaurant because it is quite hot and stuffy outside in the main area, as it is an open kitchen with occasional bursts of flames adding some excitement (and heat) to the air. The private room has funky tribal looking designs carved into the concrete walls and the fitout is dark but contemporary.
We are served by a bubbly American waitress to start with our drinks orders. The drinks menu is very extensive with many different juices, cocktails, wines and beers are on offer. We get the pink moscato and pear cider; the former is very girly and pretty served in a cute glass while the latter is a 500ml bottle poured into a very tall glass. I enjoyed the moscato – it was like sparkling honey water but not too sickeningly sweet, it didn’t taste like wine at all. The pear cider was also delicious; fruity and sweet (although quite a large bottle), it was much nicer than the one DK had at Chin Chin.
Innocent Bystander 2010 Pink Moscato – $9 a glass
Rekorderlig Pear Cider from Sweden (500ml) – $16
Unfortunately, we forgot to tell the waitress to bring out all our food in one go, as we are the only people on the table who ordered an entree. So we face the shame of being the only ones eating while everyone else looked on hungrily. It was worth it though – the Portuguese prawns are served in a kitschy little copper saucepan on a bed of jasmine rice with 5 succulent prawns shelled and drizzled with creamy tomatoey sauce with hints of the golden eschalots the prawns were panfried in. The prawns are as juicy tasting as they look and the sauce goes very well with the jasmine rice, especially with the sprigs of shredded shallots that were the garnishing on top. It gets the tick of approval from us both. If only they had a main sized version of it we would gobble it up in a flash.
Portuguese Prawns – $18
There’s a bit of a lull between us finishing up our entree before the mains are brought out but when they are, we see how huge the servings are. The various steaks and ribs everyone else ordered were neat blocks of steak, with either mash or crunchy chips sectioned off in a little copper chip tin on the plate and a small dish of sauce.
Steaks – prices ranging from $24-$59 depending on the cut and quality of the meat
Steak Sandwich $27
Our pasta is a chicken spaghetti in white wine cream sauce with mushrooms and spinach leaves, that looks very small and plain next to all the meaty goodness elsewhere in the room. Too bad that it tasted as plain as it looked – the sauce is extremely bland, so that it just tastes like we are eating boiled spaghetti with no sauce at all and the chicken pieces were dry. Lesson of the day – stick to eating the seafood and meat at Meat and Wine Co and don’t bother with their pasta.
Pasta of the Day (Chicken Spaghetti in White Wine Cream Sauce) – $20
The bite of one of the wagyu steaks that I had was quite nicely done – medium rare but closer to the rare side, although the accompanying mushroom sauce wasn’t that strong tasting. By all accounts, despite the hefty prices paid for the steaks and ribs – the quality is quite good and the servings were more than enough to fill up even the hungriest of (potentially still growing) boys on the table, with some of the girls having to offload parts of their steak to the boys since it was so filling.
If you’re a steaklover, Meat and Wine Co would be your idea of heaven with all the varieties of steak on offer but be prepared to pay the premium prices that come with the luxury of choice. It won’t be a cheap night out regardless of whether you opt for the meat options or seafood (with some prawn mains costing a whopping $40).
ps. Special thanks to Larissa and Lily for letting us use some of your photos
Meat and Wine Co.
L1, 31 Wheat Road, IMAX Theatre Complex
Cockle Bay Darling Harbour
Phone: (02) 9211 9888
Sunday – Thursday, Lunch/Dinner 12pm – 10pm
Friday – Saturday, Lunch/Dinner 12pm – 11pm