Home of slow-cooked ribs, juicy steaks and a refreshing watermelon salad – 3 out of 5.
Address: Shop R3/11 Lime St, Sydney NSW 2000
Last visited: 24 February, 2016
Must Try: Roasted Bone Marrow, 240g Kangaroo and the Watermelon Salad
Review: Based on a meal provided by First Table
Keep reading to find out how you can get 50% off restaurants in Sydney
When brothers Coco and Gary Simonian, of Platinum Restaurant Group – owners of Blackbird Cafe, Sicilian, and Bluewater Cafe Manly – saw a gap for a mid-range Steakhouse in the Sydney market, they got excited. Having seen the success of Meat District Co. in LA, the pair figured the same concept was needed in Sydney, whose food scene revolved heavily around Burgers and Fried Chicken. A collaboration with the design team at DS17 saw the birth of Meat District Co. A spacious two-storey located on King Street Wharf.
The setting couldn’t have been better when I arrived at Meat District Co. The afternoon sun painted brilliant pinks and oranges over Darling Harbour. I’d been invited to join Mandy and Stuart from First Table in Sydney for a friendly catch up and review of one of their most exciting restaurants. We were definitely in for a meat feast, and I was craving all things steak!
As if setting the theme for the evening, the menu itself was in the shape of a meat cleaver. The beverages menu featured wines from across Australia (from $8 for a glass, $38 for a bottle), as well as an extensive range of beers, spirits and cocktails. I will definitely be back to try a Molecular Cocktail (check the menu when you visit) which combine the best molecular gastronomy techniques to produce refreshing foams, pearls and edible spheres.
We took our time, sipping glasses of wine and beer while deciding on an entrée. To be honest, this was a no-brainer. Mandy, Stuart and I couldn’t resist the Roasted Bone Marrow ($12.00). Three halved marrow bone portions arrived piled on a wooden serving board. The marrow was golden brown and filled with a mix of garlic, parsley, mustard seeds and chilli. It was buttery and creamy, with a satisfying meaty flavour.
As we spread the filling onto our olive toast slices, I was instantly transported back to the late ‘90s, when as a child, we would fight for the hearty marrow bones in Mum’s lamb chop stew. It was the real hero of the dish and of higher prize than the lamb itself. The trick was to scoop it out using the back of a small teaspoon. Or you could suck on one end like a straw to get to the creamy marrow. I personally prefer the spoon.
The Beetroot Chips with Jalapeño Mayo ($7.00) sounded equally delicious. I initially imagined them as beetroot wedges, roasted or fried until crisp. This wasn’t the case [although perhaps this idea will come in handy for a recipe – I thought of it first!]. Still, the thinly-sliced beetroot crisps which arrived in a bowl with the mayo on the side were crunchy and well-seasoned, with an earthy, sweet beetroot flavour.
As it was a warm summer evening – but really because we needed something veggie-based to justify the rest of the night’s feasting – we ordered the Compressed, Grilled Watermelon Salad with Sumac, Goat’s Cheese and Hazelnut ($11.00). I’d recently put together a dessert Watermelon Pizza Recipe on the blog so I was curious to see how a savoury watermelon dish would taste. The juicy watermelon refreshed the palate following the lemony sumac and sharp goats cheese and the hazelnuts provided a delicious crunch.
It was pretty clear that Meat District Co. know their meat, and I admire their determination to source quality, sustainable cuts, with emphasis on hormone-free meat. Wood features heavily as a tool for plating, with marbled ceramic plates to accompany.
For mains, Mandy ordered the tender 200g Medallion ($29.90) with chips while I chose one our national animals, the 240g Kangaroo ($29.90), served delightfully rare with truffle mash and Jack Daniels sauce.
The truffle flavour in the potatoes was minimal, but that wasn’t a problem thanks to the Kangaroo, which was tender, pink and juicy, with a delicious caramel crust. The sauce was exactly what I wanted, smokey and oniony with the smooth vanilla and oak notes of Jack Daniels. I liked the generous mound of sea salt flakes served alongside each steak.
I do admit to having a bit of foodie envy when Stuart’s Beef Ribs ($41.10 for a Full Rack) arrived looking all saucy and sexy at the same time [as illustrated in the image above]. I may just have to return to try them…
You too can save 50% off dinner in Sydney
Thanks for reading all the way through. Here’s how you can enjoy a half-priced meal at some of your favourite restaurants. The thing I love about First Table is that you can literally save 50 per cent off the bill at some of the best restaurants in Sydney. Just head to their website and take your pick from a range of ‘First Tables’, which usually are available from 5.30-6.30pm on weeknights, with some weekend availabilities. Each booking only costs $10, which is nothing considering what you’ll be saving. You must dine as a party of 2-4 people and drinks are not included in the discount. As they say, the early bird catches the worm so it’s a good idea to arrive on time. [Unfortunately if you are more than 15 minutes late you lose the table and your booking fee]. You can check out the FAQs here.
Food Presentation: 4.5 out of 5
Taste: 4 out of 5
Service: 3 out of 5
Atmosphere: 3.5 out of 5
Overall 3 out of 5
The food at Meat District Co. was excellent, and I’m still having foodgasms about the juicy Kangaroo and that silky Jack Daniel’s sauce. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed my second experience of the First Table service. My first being at the incredible Lombardi at the Hotel St Moritz Queenstown, NZ. Take a look at my Instagram posts below to find out what I ate there.
P.S. My Snapchat could do with some lovin’ follow me at bthesmilingchef
Happy cooking and keep smiling,