chophouse

mainpictureI feel like I have stepped into an alternate universe. It is dark and woody. Exposed beans frame the room and the odd, uncloistered lightbulb casts a careless shadow across mahogany leather banquettes. High cavernous ceilings at the entrance give way to cosy, cloistered spaces, and, turning a corner, the amber-lit bar appears. Complete with a montage to the food eaten in the form of a hanging sculpture of skulls. It's a touch macabre, but, oddly, fits with Chophouse's earthy yesteryear feel.

It was an odd group that had congregated here on this particular evening, courtesy Chophouse via the lovely Abbe. Billy (atablefortwo), FFichiban (herecomesthefood), Helen (grabyourfork), Suze (chocolatesuze), Yas (hungrydigitalelf) & I stop on entry. And then one by one, jackets are dropped and cameras are pulled out of bags. The other patrons cooly continue with their drinks, and we snap away.

chophouse
our dining area

By way of background, Chophouse was birthed out of the Kingley's group of restaurants and specialises in serving steaks and chops of meat. Which is somewhat unsurprising, considering its name. Executive Chef David Clarke has spent 5 years at Quay, and this experience has done him no wrong. I am intrigued by the range of chopped salads, and everyone (and I mean everyone) is whispering about the starter of "pork scratchings" available for only $6.50.

chophouse
cute signs hang about the place

We are here because for the month of May, Chophouse is offering a special roast dinner for $18, including Riverine Premium Beef, Byron Bay Berkshire Pork, roast potato and roast pumpkin. The offer is available every night except Sundays, and when you consider the regular cost of a main at this particular joint, it's an absolute bargain. Sides and other meals remain available and a vegetarian option can be provided on request.

chophouse
the main bar

But before the meat-eating commences, we are off to get some drinks from the bar. I've gotta say, I really like this bar. There is a quiet murmur of involved conversation in the background and the bar staff are friendly, if a little confused when I order a cranberry, lime & soda and Suze gets the same, but with added vodka. It is an unintimidating drinking hole, a far cry from the flashy and trumped up joints often found around town, and I can see myself settling in for a quiet drink quite, quite easily.

chophouse
our table

Drinks in hand, we head to our table. Paper placemats are printed with the menu and our sideplates have tiny black cleavers printed on them. A glass of red is poured and the bread, with its buttery companion, are hacked into. There are two types of bread, the crust of the wholemeal tasting strangely remeniscent of corn thins. But they are lovely and chewy and fresh.

chophouse
roast dinner!

And before we know it, plates are being whipped out from the kitchen. On each is two slices of pork, a slice of beef, a square of crackling, roasted pumpkin and potato. And it smells delicious. Billy, seated next to me, peers over at my plate, and then at FFichban's. "Your crackling is bigger than mine!" he wails "I have crackling fail..." But no-one is giving up their slice anytime soon.

My serve of pumpkin is tasted briefly (good for pumpkin) and then passed down the table to Yas (an apparently notorious pumpkin fiend). The potatoes resemble what a friend of mine calls "boarding school potatoes" with their double cooked and super crispy exterior. (Just to clarify, I love boarding school potatoes). And the meat! It is wonderfully tender and flavoursome. "An RSL dinner gone good" says one. And I heartily agree.

chophouse
mustard, gravy, applesauce

A tray of condiments is brought out for each end of the table. The seeded mustard lifts the roast beef wonderfully, whilst the applesauce complements the sweetness of the pig. And the gravy? It goes well with everything. Especially the potatoes.

chophouse
creamy potato bake

And speaking of potatoes, we were treated to a couple of extra sides. Creamy golden potato bake was initially eyed with suspicion, before a flutter of wide open-eyes and a group pointing of forks and knives at the otherwise inconspicuous dish led us all to quietly help ourselves to just a little bit more. Just a little bit. And then a little bit again. For the top was crispy and the innards were hot and cooked through without being soggy and crumbly.

chophouse
the beans (and snowpeas)

The beans, while providing a much needed crunch and spot of greenery to the meal, did not fare so well, with a lonely few left at the bottom of each dish. There was the unmistakeable flavour of mint mingled in with the beans and odd snowpea. Though, curiously, no evidence of a crushed leaf was to be found.

chophouse
home made chocolate block

And we chomped, and we chewed. And we divvied and drank. And at the end, a house-made chocolate block is served. It tastes curiously like Lindt, and that is because it is. An 80% milk / 20% dark chocolate mix encases a smattering of almond praline that crunches and sticks between your teeth. The cleaver is oh-so-novelty and I leap at the chance to do some chopping. And, letter by letter, it is eaten. And when that is done, some takehome blocks are procured for the ever-famous "ChocolateSuze". I am told they are available for purchase, and am tempted... but for the moment, all I can think about is meat.



Chophouse
25 Bligh Street
Sydney NSW 2000
ph 1300 246 748

9 bites more:

Howard said...

Ambience looks really nice, the sides of different sauches is a nice touch too.

Stephcookie said...

Mm that potato bake looks yum! I love how eye-catching and memorable the chocolate block and cleaver is, very clever of them.

smileona said...

mmm potato bake looks awesome! Potato bake with a nice home made roast!

FFichiban said...

OH that chocolate shot is sooo much WIN!

Simon said...

This looks like it would have been a great meal. The meals look simple but tasty and love the shot of the chocolate block.

Also, the crackling envy comment was quite funny :)

Arwen from Hoglet K said...

The skulls look amazing hanging in the light. The potato bake is sounding like the best bit - yum!

Yas said...

Oh that was good eh?
I'm going to give you a big hug for the pumpkin! ;)

billy@atablefortwo said...

looks like me and you had the smallest piece of crackling! Not to mention mine was burnt! So not fair.... but it was a great meal I must say.

shez said...

Howard: if i were a gin+tonic drinking kinda girl, this is where i would drink my gin+tonic.

Stephcookie: oh isn't it? i was all about that cleaver. and it was so shiny!

smileona: i love a good potato bake - especially one with a crust like this one had. ohhhh baked crust goodness!

FFichiban: huzzah!

Simon: one thing i have learnt: never get between a foodblogger + crackling. it's dangerous. truly.

Arwen: i love them! they're so macabre, but they fit in so well.

Yas: you can take my orange veges anyday :)

Billy: and (shock! horror!) i ended up giving half my crackling to suze anyway. crazy i know.

Post a Comment