Tonight, we are heading to LP’s Quality Meats for a friend’s birthday. The name says it all, meat is what we will be having, so carnivores come right in and herbivores look away now. But not just any meat, it is “LP’s” quality meats (I like when chefs talk dirty…). It actually took me a while to figure out what LP’s means, but the name Luke Powell is no stranger in the Sydney food scene. Luke has done his stint at Mary’s, Longrain, Ester and also ex-head chef of Tetsuya’s, his love of smoked meats led him to opening up his own restaurant tucked in a quiet back lane in Chippendale, named after himself.
This is Southern American barbecue, the meat is dry rubbed then smoked for a long period of time in a Southern Pride Smoker, shipped directly from Tennessee, Texas. Fuelled with locally sourced Ironbark and Fruitwood, whatever comes out of that smoker is simply meaty perfection.
The dimly lit restaurant is moderately busy on a rainy Wednesday night. A stretch of long communal tables filled the space and a bar next to the kitchen for those who like a quiet drink and nibble on some cured cold meats from the menu. The wine list is impressive, but I am happy to wash the meat down with Young Henry’s cider on tap.
We are suggested to order a couple of starters to share. The one item on the menu that caught my attention is possibly not everyone’s first choice – the smoked beef tongue. Thin shaves of ox tongue is soft yet with a fine coarse texture like velcro scraping on my tongue. If you can see pass what cut of meat it is, the tongue is actually quite delicious, smothered in a fatty bone marrow vinaigrette. I really wish there was actually soft bone marrow, and not a pool of fat oil.
The I also spotted the boudin which I simply can’t go past. The spiced smokey blood sausage is truly a black beauty. The plump, thick, suggestively phallic sausage is as black as the midnight sky, it is incredibly smokey and surprisingly sweet filling inside with walnuts which works exceptionally well with the tangy pickled fennel shaves. Definitely one of the best blood sausage I’ve had for a long time.
Meat, is all about the meat! The silver tray of glorious meat is exactly what we are here for. We have chosen a few meat from the Smoked Meats section to share, it comes with three condiments of Argentinian Chimichurri sauce, chilli sauce and mustard.
We also order two sides of iceberg lettuce & pecorino and gravy mashed potato to accompany the proteins. We start with the lighter sweet meat of pork. There are some good crunchy cracklings on the Porchetta, the roasted pork belly is rolled with fennel, cilli and garlic stuffing. As much as I enjoyed the pork, sadly it doesn’t really seem to grasp my excitement. Then there is the smoked pork sausage, the Kransky style sausage is smokey and surprisingly has a stronger taste of fennel seeds than the pork belly, nothing better than the sharp mustard on the springy juicy sausage.
But what gets me excited the most is that sexy hunk of BBQ beef short rib. That’s what I am talking about, the dry rubbed short rib is slow cooked Texan style in the smoker until the exterior is blackened and a red tinge around the meat. Ribbons of fat through the meat melts like jelly while the tender meat is smokey and juicy which I happily spread Chimichurri sauce all over it.
I quite enjoy the refreshing crunch of iceberg lettuce against the meat, but I find the mashed potato is a bit runny and gloopy. I think there is a fine line between buttery rich mash and a runny liquid-y one.
By now I seriously doubting my choice of dining companions, because you simply won’t believe when they said this to me.
“I am thinking of skipping dessert.”
I G-A-S-P! Oooooooooh yes you bet I gasped louder than a fly’s fart! There’s no way I am skipping dessert, “Nuh uh!” Eventually I managed to convince them to share two desserts with me. There are only 3 items on the dessert menu, we go for the pouding chomeur which I believe is their signature dessert. Cooked inside a 6-inch tin foil cake pan which is definitely big enough to share between two or four, the pudding is soaked to the core with teeth-tinglingly sweet maple syrup caramel, and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. We all manage a few spoonfuls before collapsing into sugar coma.
Another dessert on offer from the special menu of this evening is Marjolaine – a classic French pastry cake created by Ferdinand Point, the father of modern French cuisine. The multilayered cake is built with precision of almond dacquoise, chocolate buttercream and ganache. It is rich, it is nutty, it is chocolatey indulgent.
I leave the restaurant with meat sweat and sugary high. It was a great meal but definitely on the pricey side as I noticed they have jacked the price up significantly since opening last year.
LP’s Quality Meats
Suite 1, 16 Chippen Street, Chippendale, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 8399 0929
TUESDAY to SATURDAY:
Bar menu from 5pm
Dinner from 6pm–11pm
(opens for lunch on Friday during Dec)