Sunday, February 15, 2009

Review: Meat and Wine Co, Darling Harbour

It has to be said that Meat and Wine Co is so far my favourite steak in Sydney, despite having visited a number of more exclusive venues, they understand the grain fed aged fillet that I like so much. Additionally their service is perfect for me, well trained waiters and sommeliers run around attending to your every need, cocktails are shaken with flair (but sadly not Flair) and there's a different alcohol for every stage of the meal. Being steak there's an air of casual dining in the menu that precludes it as a choice special occasions, but this is no family restaurant and is well chosen for celebrations of promotions, visiting friends and the kind of relative you don't want to spend $150 a head on.

Firstly cocktails;

Lychee Martini $15

This is the boy's weakness, followed possibly only by Espresso Martinis. Lychee liquer is mixed with Ketel One vodka and served with glacé cherries and preserved lychee. The glass is chilled and the drink well mixed, hard to find fault, unfortunately they tend to serve his drink to me on the look of the thing, it always makes me laugh.

Brandy Alexander $15

I opt for a more classic Brandy Alexander; brandy, creme de cacao, cream and ice are served sprinkled with spices, its reminiscent of Egg Nog and makes me smile on a rainy night.

From Meat and Wine Co

This is the stairwell I want in my house.

The wine list is well chosen though young, but that's to be expected from restaurant wine lists; there are a number of higher end wines that are older but as the only wine drinker at the table there is a limited range of by the glass numbers and a bottle in addition to apperitifs is a little much even for me.

Molly's Cradle Setti Grade NV $10.50

The last time I had come to Meat and Wine Co I was disappointed to discover a very limited range of sparkling wines, hampered by the fact that I am not a fan of Henkell. Of the two new additions one is a Rosé which hardly inspires, so I order the more budget Molly's Cradle and am rather happy with the choice. It's a very light refreshing lemony wine with a strong acid that's excellent with the breads.

I am served in a rather sweet and petite Taittinger glass, I don't like alcohol being served in the wrong brand glass a strange dischord born of one too many trips to Germany but this glass is a lovely design and I contemplate briefly pocketing it before I am given a stern look.

1/2 Sized bread platter $9

In the past we have ordered an amazing bread basket at Meat and Wine Co filled with freshly baked rolls and grissini with french butter; this time the menu has changed and there is only a bread "platter." The waiter warns us that for 3 we should order a half size and I'm glad that we do as it is 6 slices of heavy breads even at a half order. To be honest we are very disappointed with the bread and I would not order it again. Instead of the warm doughy rolls this is variations on the same Italian style loaf; all laiden with oily toppings. The bruschetta is rather nice, especially as the soft Danish fetta is definitely my style however it has been placed in a pool of overly sweet Balsamic reduction and is losing structural integrity by the time it reaches the table. The other breads are herb and garlic breads that are generic to any cafe or cheap Italian joint and with fatty steaks on the way the last thing I wanted to was oily garlic bread.

Ramos Pinto Duas Quintas - Tempranillo Touriga $11.50

Most of the red wine list is Australian and the strong Shiraz, Cabernets and Merlots on the menu don't lend themselves to the age of restaurant wine so I instead order this Portugese Tempranillo Touriga. This is evidently a bottle that has been opened some time earlier in the evening for another order and I am glad for it as it has had time to breathe and is warm and soft. The colour of the wine is dark and rather hard to photograph, and the taste is warm and fruity with a soft oak brush. Not necessarily something I'd buy for home but I find Spanish, Portugese and South American wines tend to make a safe order in a restaurant with a climate that allows for young drinking wines.

300g Fillet of Angus 120 day grain-fed beef $49 with Blue Cheese Vodka sauce $3

On the way to the restaurant I comment to the boy that I should order another sauce, he laughs, and he's annoyingly right I just can't move past this blue cheese vodka sauce it's heaven and surprisingly not heavy on the stomach. The beef is perfectly aged and melt in your mouth texture, everything I was looking for. I have it with garlic mash rather that tastes excellent but is very heavy and obviously contains hefty amounts of butter and I suspect cream rather than milk.

500g New York Strip of Angus 120 day grain-fed beef $45 with Chilli sauce $3

My friend joins me in the aged beef as he like I is not fond of the fatty wagyu, being a boy who likes his meat (and the call for the meal) he tries to balance the size to price ratio and chooses the New Yorker. He's rather happy with his choice as the New York strip tends to have less fat melted through the meat and be a little dryer which he prefers. When I look up from taking pictures most of the meal is gone and I do not get a chance to taste the steak.

300g Rib Eye of 6+ marbelling score 500 day grain-fed Wagyu $59 with Cheesy Garlic sauce $3

The boy has wet dreams about Wagyu, occasionally he talks with religious fervour about the 9+ steaks he's eaten in his life so this 6+ rib eye is perfectly made for his order, and served rare. He's incapable in fact of waiting long enough for me to take a picture of his food and you can see one corner of the steak has already been gleefully cut off by the time I get this picture. This is definitely not my kind of meat but I can see if nothing else that it is well prepared; served warm rather than hot at this level of cooking I find the sensation rather strange and the fattiness of the meat means that it is almost gelatinous to eat. I look strangely at the boyfriend and leave him to the rest of his steak, a fact he's only too happy with.

I must comment at this stage that there is one thing and one thing only that annoys me about Meat and Wine Co and that's the garnishes. I am a believer that if it's not edible it shouldn't be on my damn plate and the blade of grass placed across my steak only makes me grit my teeth and we enter into a several minute rant on the topic while we eat.

Regardless this is a restaurant we return to several times a year and affords nice views of Darling Harbour making it a great location for out of towners with reliable fair and a strong if not perfect wine list. The bill comes in at $80 a head including the drinks which is the perfect value for occasional not Occasion.

The Meat and Wine Co. - Darling Harbour
L1, 31 Wheat Road
IMAX Theatre Complex, Cockle Bay
Darling Harbour
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9211 9888

Sunday - Thursday 12noon - 10pm
Friday - Saturday 12noon - 11pm

Bookings essential
Fully licenced

1 comment:

  1. Riedel used to have the most beautiful cuvée glass, petite and curvy. We snapped up four for ourselves but when we went back to get the fabled 5th and 6th additions they were no longer listed in the Ridel catalogue :(

    Although they're just machine-blown Vinum, not from the hand-blown Sommelier range, I will shed a tear if anything should happen to them. They're that beautiful.