Category Archives: Steakhouse

Gowings Bar and Grill, Town Hall

Hidden upstairs in the building next door to the newly opened Topshop is a bustling restaurant called Gowings Bar and Grill which brings alive the history of the original building with its name and rejuvenates it with a European brasserie concept.

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Hurricane’s Grill, Darling Harbour

The constant queues outside all of Hurricane’s outlets in Sydney are a testament to the addictive quality of their signature dish – gloriously marinated ribs. Tonight is no different; our group of 5 gets in early with a 5.30pm booking just before the hungry crowd starts forming outside.

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Chophouse, Wynyard

The Chophouse is an unassuming restaurant that is tucked away off the slanted Bligh Street in the heart of Sydney’s business district. Once you step in, you can feel the unconventional vibe of the restaurant in their decor which has some macabre touches playing on their association with meat and slaughter, such as the animal skulls hanging from the ceiling of the bar.

The whole restaurant is very dim and cavernous with high ceilings and arches which give the impression that the Chophouse may have once been some sort of abattoir, since it also has an industrial atmosphere due to the peeling paint on the walls. I’m sure that’s the authentic slaughterhouse feel that they were aiming for but luckily all the furniture and cutlery were spick and span.

We had a bit of a mix up with our booking time but the manager was very accommodating and we only had a short wait at the bar before we were ushered to our table. I ordered a bellini which was very sweet, consisting of sparkling white wine mixed with a scoop of peach sorbet which gradually melted and gave a lovely touch of fruity honey to the drink.

Bellini $18

We started with some complimentary sour dough bread served with butter on a cute plate bearing the Chophouse insignia and it was appropriately soft, great with the butter and sprinkles of salt or pepper which came with it for you to season to taste. That being said, I’m not actually much of a fan of sourdough in general, so I was eagerly awaiting my mains to be served.

We had originally planned to get two steaks but spotted the Chophouse Mixed Grill Platter to share between 2, which was perfect for us to get a good selection of different types of meat that the Chophouse had to offer and we were not disappointed at all.

Chophouse Mixed Grill Platter $59

It doesn’t look like a huge amount of food when the platter is first brought out but once we start nibbling away we realise that it is a LOT of meat to get through (especially when one of the diners is yours truly, notorious for getting full very quickly). We are spoilt for choice by the platter, it offers a couple of spicy merguez sausages, boerwurst (another sausage), meat skewers, dry aged rump cap, some onion rings and grilled tomatoes to satisfy our vegie intake for the day. It was also served with a small pot of BBQ sauce and little tongs to handle the food with.

We dig in to the sausages first and they were very flavoursome, not too spicy but just enough to give the meat a bit of a kick and were nicely grilled. The boerwurst is slightly more tough, but not actually sure what type of meat it is (maybe pork). Then we each take a few cubes of meat off the skewers (there’s a couple to share) and the grilled beef is amazing – it melts in your mouth and is just the right balance between being slightly chewy but still soft enough. The rump is carved into small slices ready for us to share and it is not as delicious as the beef skewer but still decently tender, tastes better when dipped in the BBQ sauce. The onion rings were also fantastic – light and crunchy batter and the slices of onions within were still a bit juicy despite being fried.

The service at Chophouse is very attentive, we had a nice waitress who is “watching us like a hawk” (her words, not mine). Every time we finished our dishes, she would come over to clear our table and she was also very obliging when we requested extra mustard – bringing us a little plate with Hot English and Dijon mustard. Both went well with the meats and provides a good alternative if you don’t like the BBQ sauce that comes with it.

Icecream, 3 scoops for $12.90

We finish off our meal with a dessert of 3 scoops of house churned icecream – one scoop each of fig and frangelico, vanilla and green tea which are served with some broken pieces of real honeycomb (nothing like what’s inside a Crunchie…) and a small pot of chocolate sauce. We don’t even need the sauce as the icecream is so fragant and creamy on its own – especially the fig and frangelico, where you can taste the hints of hazelnut and sweet fruit.

The green tea was also nice but a bit more creamy than I am used to having (especially since the night before I had eaten at Suminoya buffet where you can order as many scoops of green tea icecream as you like). The gamechanger is the honeycomb, you can break it up into little pieces and eat it together with the icecream and it really brings out the sweetness of the icecream but adds a touch of caramelised honey flavour to it. A simple ingenious touch to bring humble icecream to a whole different level of enjoyment.

If you like good meat, definitely head to Chophouse for some tender cubes of meat that will give you a bit of a foodgasm in your mouth – my friend is a self-professed meat connoisseur and he was blown away by the quality of the meat here.

Chophouse
25 Bligh Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: 1300 246 748

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Black by Ezard, Pyrmont

As most Sydneysiders know, the former Star City Casino has undergone a major revamp and now is known as The Star. It now boasts much fancier shops and restaurants run by acclaimed chefs such as Black by Ezard, on the ground floor facing the harbour side of the casino complex. The chef who lends his name to the restaurant is Teage Ezard, who runs a two hatted restaurant in Melbourne and is now expanding his horizons by opening an upmarket steakhouse here in Sydney.

The restaurant is sleek and opulent, with gorgeous panoramic views and there is also a beautiful contemporary bar if you’re after a bit of a drink before you start your meal and this is where we end up tonight as we wait for our dining companions to turn up. The drinks menu is extensive but of course I am immediately drawn to the cocktails and I order a Brunch Cocktail which tastes of fresh citrus flavours such as mandarin and grapefruit, a good pick for the girls.


Brunch Cocktail, $18

When our friends arrive they also order a couple of cocktails from the charming bar manager, the Leisure Suit and a Velvet Martini. I had actually been eyeing off the Leisure Suit which contains elderflower and it was quite fragrant as expected, whereas the martini was a bit too strong for my tastes (actually reminded me a bit of the bitterness of Chinese herbal medicine).


Leisure Suit and Velvet Martini (around $18)

We are then escorted to our table along with our freshly made drinks and are impressed by the plush leather furnishings, from the comfortable chairs to the pebbled leather placemats. The boy and I have already got our hearts set on the signature dish of Organic Farm Egg as our entree while our friends opt for the prawns to start.


Brioche loaf  (complimentary)

The waiter brings out a complimentary loaf of mini brioche bread, butter and some black salt. I am intrigued by the black salt and sprinkle some onto the brioche after I slather the creamy soft butter on top. The brioche and butter are both unbelievably soft, and the salt is intensely flavoured delivering hits of savoury to counter the slight sweetness of the brioche.

It’s not too long before our dishes arrive and our entree is beautifully presented – crunchy shredded pastry on top and a slow cooked egg enveloped with light potato cream sauce, shaved black truffles, herb salad and some iberico ham. I almost can’t bear to destroy it with my spoon but eventually we tentatively break into the pastry to also crack through the egg with its runny yolk. It is a glorious medley of flavours, which is saying something since I don’t even like eggs but here the strong flavours from the truffle and potato cream bring out the savoury freshness of the egg and the shredded pastry adds a satisfying crunch and texture. The ham is just like proscuitto, intense salty flavour condensed into a wafer thin slice of meat and this adds another layer of savouriness to the dish.


Organic Farm Egg $34

We are already blown away by our entree and see why it is the signature dish of the restaurant but our friends are also enjoying their prawns which have been poached in butter, with corn salad and wood grilled watermelon. It is a much sweeter entree due to the corn and the watermelon is interesting, tastes softer than a fresh watermelon but retains its juicy flavour and has a hint of charcoal to it.


Butter poached prawns $25

Part of the hype of the restaurant is that it uses extraordinary cooking methods for both its steaks and its seafood. The steaks are cooked “sous-vide” which Wikipedia tells me is French for “under vacuum” and is a method where the meat is sealed in plastic bags in a water bath for a couple of days at a pre-determined temperature (lower than normal temps for cooking) to ensure the meat is cooked evenly and stays juicy. Afterwards the meat is woodgrilled as per usual. The seafood on the other hand, is poached in special Hawaiian deep sea water. Needless to say, we are all keen to find out whether our mains (a couple of steaks and a couple of fish dishes) live up to all the fuss that the cooking methods would suggest.

I have chosen the Ocean Trout which is pan roasted, with a heirloom carrot salad, orange scented lentils, carrot emulsion and crispy bacon. It is gorgeously arranged on the plate and the serving of fish underneath all the shredded vegetables is quite generous. The fish itself is nicely cooked so that it retains its moisture and the fresh flavours of the ocean trout shine through but sadly, I cannot taste the Hawaiian sea water it has been poached in. I am not a huge fan of the carrots; they are soft but do not add anything to the flavour of the dish and the lentils offer a strange texture in contrast to the smoothness of the fish. The bacon is a bit random, very crisp as it has been dehydrated but I prefer the crunchy pieces of fish skin that are peppered all throughout the dish to add a burst of saltiness. There are also a couple of bits of fresh mandarin which don’t really go with the overall flavour of the dish.


Ocean Trout $42

The standout seafood dish of the night is the Hapuka which my friend ordered and demolished in a flash. It is served with cauliflower, crustacean vinaigrette and shellfish oil, which all bring out the flavour of the delicately cooked white hapuka fish and in this dish you can actually taste the fresh seawater. Very jealous I didn’t order this myself but thanks H for letting me taste it!


Hapuka $46

Onto the steaks – we have not ordered any sides, only sauces so when they serve the dishes to us the plates look hilariously bare in contrast to our seafood dishes which are overflowing with garnishings. Fortunately the beef was very impressive, extremely soft and tender but still retaining its gamey flavour and it tasted more seared rather than grilled, which helped it maintain its juiciness.


Filet (200g grass fed angus) $45


Rib eye ( 400g dry aged grass fed angus) $52

The filet looks like a little rock of meat but is very flavoursome according to my friend and made her eyes light up after the first bite because it was so delicious. The housemade BBQ sauce that she ordered with it was quite sweet, in contrast to the savouriness of the marrow and shallot sauce which we ordered with the rib eye. The marrow sauce was served in a cute miniature copper pan with onions rather than shallots mixed through the dark brown broth that was the marrow itself, which tastes a bit heartier than stock. The rib eye had quite a bit of fat still attached to it which we cut off but was impressively tender otherwise.

This lavish new restaurant in The Star is definitely worth the trek across the Pyrmont Bridge if you are looking for premium meat and seafood in a fine dining setting. The restaurant is brimming with energy and luxurious touches, so come here to treat yourself, especially if you’ve just had a lucky run at the casino upstairs.

Black by Ezard
Level G, Harbourside,
The Star, 80 Pyrmont Street
Pyrmont NSW 2009
(Closed on Mondays)

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Meat and Wine Co, Darling Harbour

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
Opening Hours:
Sunday – Thursday, Lunch/Dinner 12pm – 10pm
Friday – Saturday, Lunch/Dinner 12pm – 11pm

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