This is the first time I visited Chophouse, I already fall in love and captured by its charm.
Chophouse, sister restaurant of Kingsley Restaurant, is a contemporary adaptation of the New York style steakhouse. As the name suggests, the interior inside restaurant reminiscing the rawness of a slaughterhouse yet edgy and chic. You definitely wouldn’t want to be inside alone in total darkness, can’t help but keep thinking I am in the movie set of SAW or LOST in the Dharma bomb shelter.
The design of the restaurant is rich and bold, just like the meal they have to offer. Paint chipped walls, clad with giant iron bars, it feels like we are engulfed by a mammoth and now trapped inside its rib cage. So be it, we found our ways to the dining area, illuminated by warm glowing filament of bare bulbs.
Sparkling shine wine glasses and cutlery are already neatly arranged atop two rows of tables; surrounded by dark brown banquettes wrapped in distressed leather. Vintage decorations scattered around the dining area including a clock that still work, and we are all amused by the witty quotes written on the board. But the massive lighting sculpture of skulls hanging above the bar is definitely the topic of many conversations to come.
Chophouse is launching a new $18.00 roast dinner option for the autumn/winter months, and we are lucky to be invited by Abbe from the Kingsley Group for a warm homely meal. Among all guests, there are bankers, accountants and of course foodbloggers, including Chocolatesuze, Grab Your Fork, Here Comes the Food, Hungry Digital Elf and One Bite More.
We bring the drinks from the bar back to our seats. We chit chat, taking pictures and nibble on the fresh sourdough bread on the table while waiting for other guests to arrive. But before long the roast are brought out from the kitchen one by one and placed right in front of us.
The roast for tonight are a slice of mouth watering Riverine premium sirloin beef and two beautiful slices of Byron Bay Berkshire pork with crackling, served with creamy roasted Japanese pumpkin, and Dutch cream potatoes. It smells absolutely delicious.
“Hey, your crackling is so much bigger than mine!” I detest as I peer over Richard‘s plate who sit next to me. The hungry digital elf who sits opposite Richard is keeping quiet, and confessed on his blog later that he actually has the biggest piece of crackling among us all. Very sneaky indeed.
A complimentary bottle of Tim Gramp 2005 Clare Valley Watervale cabernet sauvignon has been poured to accompany our hearty roast. The pork is soft, tender and flavoursome, but nothing special I must admit. On the other hand, I absolutely adore the roast beef which has a dense texture, like slicing a block of butter when I sink my knife into it. It is succulent, moist and just melts in the mouth.
Fresh bread is served on our side plates again, along with a tray of condiments placed at each end of our table. The condiments for the roast consists of apple sauce, french onion gravy and wholegrain mustard. I especially fond of the gravy which has a great flavour of roasted french onion, goes so well with the beef and potatoes. The apple sauce is thick and has this home made sweetness that really enhance the flavour of the pork. The sauces are actually not needed as the roast itself is already delightful.
Apart from the creamy pumpkin and two crispy potato, we are also treated to a few extra sides of minty green beans and potato gratin. The green beans provide the refreshing crunch in contrast of the meat and a touch of greenery on the plate. I don’t mind it but some found the minty taste a bit overpowering. The creamy potato gratin is baked until golden brown with parmesan topping, while the potato slices inside are still piping hot and well cooked. The extra side dishes has completed the meal as a perfect roast dinner.
“Oh sorry, sorry, I actually haven’t finish my meal,” the panicking Helen quickly retrieving her plate back from the waitress who assuming that Helen has actually already finished her meal with just a piece of crackling left on her plate unwanted. But soon she realises the whole table has actually saved the crackling for the last satisfying climax finale.
Once again, Chophouse has definitely made a bold statement of its dishes from beginning to the end. As for dessert – no fluff, no fuss. A simple house-made chocolate block are served on a chopping board along with a cleaver. Whoever is stressing out in the office can do the honor by chopping the block of chocolate into pieces to shed some anger and frustrations.
The curious me asked way too many questions. Our friendly waiter, Peter, is forced to get answers from the kitchen, and comes back to let us know that the chocolate is made from Lindt chocolate at a ratio of 20% dark chocolate, and 80% milk chocolate, that gives you a blend of 46% cocoa. And inside is encrusted with shards of Almond praline, a nice crunch against the smooth velvety chocolate.
The evening almost comes to an end, our host Abbe even introduced us to David Clarke; who spent 5 years at Quay is now happily settling in as the executive chef at Chophouse. Strangely the conversation takes a U-turn and now all focus on ChocolateSuze and her fetish for chocolate.
David seems rather shy and a man of few words. But he soon comes back to our table and leaves three take-home chocolate blocks right in front of us, with a smile, and walks back into kitchen without saying anything. A kind gesture, perhaps is a mutual acknowledgment between chef and foodbloggers where words are not needed.
[A Table for Two dined courtersy of Chophouse and thanks to Abbe from Kingsley Group for invitation.]
Chophouse 25 Bligh St, Sydney Tel: 1300 246 748 (1300 CHOP IT) Open Monday to Friday 12pm til late and Saturdays 6pm til late The $18 roast dinner is available Monday to Friday 6pm-8pm throughout Autumn/Winter months