Saturday, October 22, 2011

Chophouse, Sydney

I'm a carnivore, I don't deny that.  However, I'm not an overly ardent carnivore.  It takes a certain craving for me to want to attack an entire piece of steak or any meal that centres around just a huge piece of meat.  You may be able then to imagine Cheesecake Boy's surprise when I suggested that we we go to the Chophouse as I was craving a steak.  The poor boy even asked if I was feeling alright.  This was how I decided where we would catch up with Dumpling Sister to hear all about her trip to Europe. 

We arrived earlier than our 6pm booking, and to Cheesecake Boy's excitement it's still happy hour.  I'm sure if he knew that happy hour starts here Monday to Friday from 4pm to 6pm, he hurried us along here earlier.  Happy hour drinks consisted of a couple of boutique beers going for $5 a bottle, a nice range of wines for $5 per glass and a couple of jugs on offer for $15.  Cheesecake Boy ordered the Birra Moretti, and it went down pretty quickly, so I guess it was good.

Birra Moretti, $5

I love Bellini's, and at the Chophouse they have a Sorbet Bellini which consists of a scoop of house made peach sorbet with Prosecco and peach liqueur.  I loved this version, as the last drops of liquefied peach sorbet with the remaining Prosecco and peach liqueur turned into a lovely thick golden nectar, it was truly delicious.

Sorbet Bellini, $18

Dumpling Sister ordered the Lychee Blush on the spur of the moment, so I didn't have time to see what her cocktail was made up off.  However, the Lychee Blush actually reminded me of my favourite cocktail at Longrain being the Soho La, but the Soho La still wins for me as it's sweeter, whereas with the Lychee Blush there is lot more depth of flavour.

Lychee Blush, $15

After Dumpling Sister and I ordered our cocktails, I don't know what got over Cheesecake Boy, but he must of got happy hour fever, as he decided that we needed a jug of sangria as well.  The sangria was a refreshing combination of fresh fruit that was predominately crisp apples and spices, Hennessy VS, Cointreau and Chambord.  I really enjoyed the addition of Chambord, as I think apples and raspberries are quite a refreshingly sweet combination.

Sangria, $15

I had to get a photo of the bread plate, as I thought the logo on it was a thoughtful touch.  The bread was Sonoma sourdough, and you really couldn't go wrong here with the accompanying butter.

Sonoma sourdough

After Dumpling Sister's return, she's all for risotto, and easily agreed to a share entree of Tallegio risotto balls.  We really enjoyed the strong depth of flavour of the Tallegio and spinach, and the Tallegio provided just the right creaminess to the risotto balls.  They were perfectly creamy and fluffy inside, and the crumbed coating was wonderfully crisp.

Tallegio risotto balls, $14

You can lure Cheesecake Boy practically anywhere if there is the promise of oysters to come. The Pambula Lake oysters were served with lemon oak aged mignonette.  The oysters were beautifully shucked and the dressing had just the right amount of acidity and sweetness coming through.

1/2 dozen shucked Pambula Lake oysters on ice, $19.90

Now, on the Monday when I had booked our table I had been dying for a steak, but when Wednesday came around I wasn't so keen as usual.  I really am fickle when it comes to meat, so this is how I ended up with the sage and hazelnut crumbed pork chop with apple sauce, instead of the steak I had been dreaming off.  The crumbed pork chop was from Esk Pastoral Free Range in Tasmania, and is definitely the largest crumbed pork chop I have seen in a while.  However, quantity does not always reflect quality, but in this case it did.  My pork chop was so tender, and  the sage and hazelnut crumb went well against the sweet and succulent piece of pork.  The accompanying apple sauce was not the overly sweet kind either.  The pork chop I must stress really was perfectly cooked, and was an absolute joy to eat.

Sage and hazelnut crumbed pork chop with apple sauce, $27.50

Cheesecake Boy went for one of the specials that night, his choice being the roasted pork belly that sat on a glorious bed of colcannon.  The Hunter pork was so beautifully cooked from its juicy moist flesh to the wonderful textbook crackling just sitting on top waiting to be attacked.  The colcannon which is an Irish potato dish was truly superb.  I think I fell more in love with this simply creamy potato mash with its hint of leek and bacon than the roast pork itself.

Roast pork belly, $25

My side of the family likes to share our food and Cheesecake Boy is now a sharing expert, so in perfect unison we all naturally divided up our meals.  Anyway, I'm truly thrilled that we love to share.  Otherwise, I would have missed out on the most glorious piece of steak.  I realised after my first bite of Dumpling Sister's Wagyu cube roll, which was a 5/6 grade and F2 strain of rib eye that the reason why I am never keen on steak is that I have never had a steak bowl me over.  Until that fateful Wednesday that is.  I could write a sonnet about this steak, but a haiku would be easier.  However, my creative juices are not really flowing right now, so I will spare you the pain.  If you ever visit the Chophouse and this Wagyu cube roll is on the special's menu, I really urge you to try this.  It was so tender and literally melted in my mouth.  There was an accompanying harissa sauce with the steak and although it was nice, it really didn't need it.  This piece of steak was exceptional, and worth every penny.

Wagyu cube, $56

We couldn't miss out on a side of fries.  The shoe string fries were nice and crunchy and was well received while we munched and chatted over our mains.

Shoestring fries, $8

The food and service up to this point had been faultless, so I was surprised when our mains had been cleared and we still hadn't received the dessert menus after waiting for twenty minutes.  We  eventually managed to flag someone down, and ordered some desserts.  Dumpling Sister went for the warm doughnut Savarin.  A Savarin is a French ring shaped cake that was named after Brillat-Savarin, but inspired by the rum baba.  This cake is traditionally made with yeast, soaked in a rum syrup and filled in the centre with either cream or pastry cream.  Chophouse's version was a doughnut with a cheesecake like cream cheese centre that was topped with speckles of violets and pistachios.  There were meant to be Alpine strawberries, but we couldn't taste any.  In general we were disappointed, as the alcoholic syrup made the doughnut quite cold and soggy to eat.  Also, the cream cheese filling overpowered the doughnut.  However, I thought the interpretation was quite creative, even though it left a lot to be desired.

Warm doughnut Savarin with Alpine strawberry, violet cheesecake & pistachios, $9.50

Cheesecake Boy chose the amaretto and sour cherry semifreddo with chocolate sorbet and Italian meringue.  The amaretto was quite distinct in the semifreddo and it provided a nice contrast against the sour cherries and chocolate sorbet.  The Italian meringue added a airy softness to this pleasant dessert.

Amaretto & sour cherry semifreddo with chocolate sorbet & Italian meringue, $8.50

I had heard so much about the Chophouse's Swiss milk chocolate block, and since I love all things hazelnut, I went for the caramelised hazelnut block.  The chocolate block was served on a chopping board with a cleaver.  We all enjoyed the novelty of the mini cleaver, especially Cheesecake Boy.  The chocolate was not overly sweet and the caramelised hazelnuts added a nice crisp crunch against the silky smooth chocolate.  Out of all the desserts, this was my favourite, and it was the perfect way to end the meal.

Chophouse Swiss milk chocolate block - 100g with caramelised hazelnuts, $7.50

By the time we left, the place was buzzing with people left to right, and I can understand why.  The Chophouse generally provided wonderful service and although the desserts didn't quite always hit the mark, it's only because the entrees and mains had been so impeccable that our expectations were quite high by the time we reached dessert.  I forgot to mention that live music comes on later during the night and it's really a nice touch.  We'd all definitely come back for the steak.  It's a big deal if a certain piece of steak is now appearing in my usually sweet filled thoughts. 

Dining away, Dumpling Girl.

25 Bligh Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: 1300 246 748

Chophouse on Urbanspoon


Jen said...

I've heard good things about the steak here! But the pork looks pretty good too.

joey@forkingaroundsydney said...

Love a good chop!
Service being a little lacking towards the end of the meal is unfortunately common in my experience, especially when trying to pay! It makes me wonder whether they actually want to receive tips!

Von said...

I'm like you too! Love eating meat but would rather it cooked with something else than just having steak ;) The risotto balls look so cute! And the wagyu sounds amazing!

L said...

The pork belly looks amazing. wants right now. oh, so bad to read food blogs when hungry. XD

JasmyneTea said...

Lol, I love that you went to a steakhouse for pork :P But I'm also glad that you at least got to try a steak. That Swiss chocolate bar looks great, I would probably go just for the novelty of the mini-cleaver.

Dolly said...

lychee blush sounds so cute!

my bf and i are eyeing chophouse.. hopefully we can go there soon!

jack said...

Hi Dumpling Girl - I'm back! It's been ages but I've been silently following the blog all along :) Great post on Chophouse - it's a place I've been wanting to try for a long time but after reading your description of that wagyu steak it's becoming a necessity! Pity about the hit and miss desserts but that chocolate block sounds fun :) Hope you're having a great weekend!

Tina@foodboozeshoes said...

lol - look at all the corporates at the end. Love the bellini concept - like a sgroppino!

Dumpling Girl said...

Hey Jen, the steak was wonderful, but so was all the meat. You can't go wrong.

Hi Joey, I finding that it's happening a lot more often lately, so may be they don't want tips, lol.

Hello Von, the risotto balls were lovely, and you're right the Wagyu was amazing.

Hi L, lol reading food blogs when hungry is the worse.

Hey JasmyneTea, never thought of it that way, until you mentioned it, lol. The cleaver is what made me order it too :D

Hello Jack, I was wondering how you were have been checking your blog too, but I guess you have been super busy. I had a great weekend, hope you did too :)

Hi Tina, I thought all the corporates were amusing too. I will look out for a sgroppino, sounds delightful if they were like the bellini's here.

rockahenry said...

everything looks awesome, ive been here once and had a pretty decent meal as well...

but i really want to see that haiku...

Anonymous said...

next time we're feeling like steak i know where we're heading! all the cocktails sound sweet too and those shoestring fries...there aren't enough places in sydney that serve them.

Dumpling Girl said...

Hello rockahenry, lol you are trouble. You'll have to amuse me with something before I drop you the first line of my lame haiku :p

Hi excusemewaiter, drinks and meat was definitely great all round :)

Mel said...

The food here looks AMAZING - must put Chophouse on my wishlist.

Sarah said...

Awesome photos! And that bellini looks absolutely divine - I love a good bellini :)

Dumpling Girl said...

Hi MissPiggy, highly recommend that you do and can make it soon :)

Hello Sarah, thank you. The sorbet really made this Bellini for me, just gorgeous.