Tucked away behind an Art Deco façade in the middle of Sydney’s CBD you’ll find the city’s newest high-end steakhouse, The Meat & Wine Co. Inside you’ll see nods to the African heritage of the restaurant (with the first The Meat & Wine Co opened in South Africa in 2000) through hand-knotted rope installations and elegant mood lighting.
But don’t expect stuffiness. “We’re firm believers that when you dine at The Meat & Wine it’s like dining at home – bringing the family together in a comfortable atmosphere,” says The Meat & Wine Co’s head of culinary, Sean Hall. “We want people to be relaxed but surrounded by beauty.”
That beauty extends to the plate with The Meat & Wine Co serving some of Australia’s finest beef. The restaurant is renowned for a number of steak programs that include dry-ageing and seasonal flavour infusions. Hall has introduced a new long grain-fed program from the providores at Gippsland, Victoria’s O’Connor cattle farm that sees prime beef fed for an extended time on grain to boost its fat marbling and flavour.
Before you head to The Meat & Wine Co’s new Sydney CBD restaurant located on Castlereagh Street, put these dishes on your radar.
Tuck into dry-aged Wagyu tartare
“We dry-age the rib eye for four to five weeks – that’s the sweet spot,” says Hall, who has put his own twist on classic tartare. Combining the rib eye with Wagyu girello fillet, the steak tartare includes the classic add-ons of cornichons and shallots along with wholegrain mustard, cured egg yolk and the subtle addition of anchovy aioli. Hall recommends cutting through the umami flavours with a sharp South Australian riesling before going back for more. “Dig into it with the tapioca crisp – it’s so memorable.”
Try these moreish Mozambican peri-peri prawns
The Meat & Wine Co’s Afro-centric heritage shines through this signature dish. Harnessing the flavour hit of Mozambican peri-peri sauce, Australian king prawns are marinated in bird’s-eye chillies, onions, capsicum, garlic and lemon, along with spices and an African chilli sauce that’s made in-house. Grilled to charry perfection, they’re served with sourdough crostini and aromatic fresh herbs and wouldn’t be complete without a crisp South African sauvignon blanc. “This dish has been on the menu for 12 years now,” says Hall. “It’s a real classic.”
Get stuck into slow-cooked ribs
“We pride ourselves on our ribs. They’re always a show stopper.” Ordered by the half or full rack, beef or pork (and yes, you can get a mixed selection of the two meats), the ribs are basted in a secret recipe that’s sweet and tangy and caramelises on the grill. Served with classic steakhouse chips or salad, they’re best paired with a rich and intense Argentinian malbec.
Relish an O’Connor’s long grain-fed New Yorker
Raised on the rich pastures of Victoria’s Gippsland, O’Connor’s beef is moved to a grain-fed diet for 240 days prior to hitting the restaurant. “It makes for incredible marbling of the meat, which means incredible flavour.” The 350-gram New Yorker – a striploin without the bone – is cooked to a perfect medium-rare. Just add chips or salad and choose from sauces, including blue cheese, peppercorn or African hot chilli. Alongside it, nothing beats a benchmark Barossa shiraz such as Penfolds Bin 128.
Indulge in a chocolate and hazelnut fondant
The baked chocolate fondant boasts a melted white chocolate ganache centre and a toasty hazelnut praline gelato. It's been a signature since the first Australian Meat & Wine Co opened in Darling Harbour in 2003. To drink? Try a Don Pedro – Jameson whiskey or Kahlua blended with vanilla ice-cream. “It’s very traditional in South Africa,” says Hall of the drink. “We love it as an after-meal tipple.”