The Meat & Wine Co – Barangaroo
Barangaroo is home to many of Sydney’s top eateries spanning a wide array of cuisines. If you’re looking for Chinese fusion or Australian classics, classic Thai eats or American bar and grill action – there is something for everyone. The Meat & Wine Co adds to this mix effortlessly with its take on the African steakhouse. Situated in a lush building that you would expect from a flagship restaurant in Barangaroo, The Meat & Wine Co’s Barangaroo site does not disappoint. Set on the corner of Barangaroo Avenue with expansive views across Darling & Sydney harbour it’s the perfect spot for lunch, dinner or a late night drink.
We find ourselves at The Meat & Wine Co, Barangaroo, on a windy Tuesday evening. Our first impression of the restaurant is that it’s laidback and comfortable with seating for a lot of covers but without the claustrophobia, you sometimes experience at other restaurants who try to cram in as many diners as possible. With seating split over 2 levels and expansive glass walls giving views of the harbour on both floors you’re sure to be spoilt for choice for views if you dine during the day or in the evening.
We were seated on the upper level promptly after arrival where the restaurant was buzzing with a mix of post-work business meetings and pre-theatre dinner couples to name a few. Our table was overlooking the Darling Harbour side and the views are quite spectacular in the evening. It remains to be seen how the new Crown Casino will impact on views from the restaurant but we enjoyed the views none-the-less.
Service was attentive with the wait staff introducing themselves to us and offering us water and wine to start. After some recommendations from our waiter, we opted for a 2017 Triennes Rose from Provence, France and a 2016 Margaret River Chardonnay, Amelia Park to be exact. Despite being an African themed steakhouse the wine list was dominated by Australian wines and grapes – by no means a bad thing, it’s refreshing having such a wide selection of wines available by the glass and also by the bottle. The selection was varied enough that a relative wine-novice like myself can navigate and make an educated choice and similarly there was a large selection of wines by the glass and by the bottle for the more discerning wine lover (and discerning budget) – especially when you consider their rare and back vintage selections.
Down to the food, the real star of the show. We decided to order all of the dishes to share both from the entrees and the main courses. We started with the Wagyu Tartare, Octopus and the Boerewars. We then graduated to a 350g Shorthorn 150D Ribeye cooked medium rare with blue cheese sauce along with half a rack of pork ribs with salad.
Now I must confess, if you’re a veggie, The Meat & Wine Co isn’t going to tick your boxes as the food really is a dream for meat lovers. The steak selection is varied but not confusing, offering a mix of grass fed, grain fed and wagyu cuts at very competitive prices. We nearly went for the whopping 500g Wagyu Rump however a quick sanity check made us reevaluate that decision as the prospect of having to deal with a half kilo slab of rump was slightly daunting and overwhelming to say the least. If you are looking to share then the 350g cuts are perfect for 2 people along with sharing another main – that’s not to say I won’t be back to try the 500g Wagyu Rump!
The rest of the menu will please any self-confessed carnivore if you don’t go with an option from the paddock (I strongly advise getting a steak as it was among one of the best we’ve eaten in Sydney for some time), they have options such as kangaroo loin fillet, lamb shoulder, a premium beef burger and a prawn and beef skewer, to name a few.
Back to our food however, for entrees the portion sizes were generous which was unexpected, we had expected them to be slightly smaller due to the way they were priced ($14-$18) but this was not the case. The Wagyu Tartare was delicious and topped with some form of crackling (were going to assume beef), the Octopus was extremely well seasoned with the potatoes, onions, garlic and lemon all very subtle and delicately brought together for a perfectly well balanced entree. Lastly, the Boerewars were a treat, not too heavily spiced but when combined with the potato croquette and curried onion chutney (chakalaka, according to the menu) they all worked together to bring a subtle spice and kick to the dish.
Entrees out of the way the wait staff noticed we were low on drinks and duly obliged when we asked for a wine menu again. It was time to move onto reds to accompany the main event. At the recommendation of our waiter again we opted for a glass of the 2016 Bleasdale ‘Second Innings’ Malbec from Longhorne Creek and the 2015 Jim Barry ‘Single Vineyard’ Cabernet Sauvignon from Coonawarra. The latter being more full-bodied and deeper than the Malbec which I chose.
The mains arrived in good time and both dishes delivered on all fronts. The steak was exceptionally well cooked and something which I feel even well-established steak houses get wrong from time to time. Medium rare can be tricky to get right as people’s expectations vary on what they consider to be the correct level of ‘doneness’. Luckily The Meat & Wine Co hit the nail on the head and delivered one of the most tender ribeyes we’ve eaten for a while. I’m slowly but surely moving my preference to cuts like ribeyes and rumps purely for the amount of flavour they carry compared to a fillet. The blue cheese sauce we ordered with the steak was very subtle and light and may lack that strong blue cheese flavour if that’s what you’re used to in a blue cheese sauce. In the end, we didn’t eat too much of it as we didn’t want to mask the flavour of the steak, so it was largely left untouched, save for dipping a few of the chips in!
The ribs, again, something which I feel a lot of places get wrong. To me, good ribs are ones that are tender enough that the meat either falls off the bone or its super easy to bite off. There have been occasions when I’ve been to so-called “rib joints” over the years and suffered through ribs which were tough, chewy and not appetising at all. This was simply not the case at The Meat & Wine Co. The half rack is a decent size as a main for one person without a doubt and we’re glad we opted for the side salad with this one as another side of chips would have been way too much. The ribs were tender, juicy, stacked with meat and had the most amazing BBQ sauce on them. The cleaning bowls to wash your hands down after you’d eaten the ribs were a welcome addition to the table as it did get messy when we got stuck into the ribs. The cleaned, meatless bones that were left were a sign of our satisfaction at the quality of ribs we’d just eaten. A highlight second to the steak.
Thoroughly stuffed we, unfortunately, had to pass on desserts but we enjoyed the buzzing ambience of the upstairs dining room whilst we finished our drinks. The upstairs was now full and as we were leaving through the downstairs we noticed this was also now at capacity which is impressive for a cold and windy Tuesday night and is testament to what The Meat & Wine Co deliver and deliver well – a menu perfect for any meat lover with well-cooked cuts and a wide selection of items to try which don’t feature on too many other menus in the city. Coupled with an unrivalled range of wines it offers a setting which screams high end but isn’t pretentious. The waiting staff are attentive but not overbearing. The whole experience was very comfortable and at times quite cosy, never feeling rushed.
Overall the food and drinks are well priced considering the prime Barangaroo location which some establishments feel necessary to charge a premium for. When comparing to other Sydney CBD eateries it is actually very keenly priced and is part and parcel of why the Meat & Wine Co chain of restaurants is as successful as it is.
The Meat & Wine Co accepts The Restaurant Choice gift card at all of their sites.