Coming to the end of 2018, good establishments taking large groups are hard to come by. In keeping with the Sydney Steakboyz theme of not only frequenting well established venues but also exploring new ones. Bistecca opened its doors earlier in the year and has been receiving excellent reviews from the likes of goodfood.com.au and gourmettraveller.com.au The front door is not easily located with its inconspicuous entry that appears to be no more than either an anonymous street level backdoor for deliveries or a fire escape at the George Street end of the Dalley Street alley, which runs parallel to Bridge Street behind the Australian Stock Exchange. That’s until you enter and walk down the stairs into the basement level prohibition style wooden panelled 1920’s bar.
Bistecca only accept bookings for groups of 6 or more. Smaller and it’s go early (4pm), put your name down at the bar and have a few drinks while you wait. Or go in a group and book!!
Scoring on Value may have been a bit harsh noting 60% comprised tip & alcohol, noting the Bistecca alla Fiorentina was priced at $13/100g, which is in line with the CBD’s finest Paddock to Plate eateries, and our choice to wash it all down with expensive wines.
The prohibition style pre-dinner bar serves BIG ice cube Italian Cocktails, Aperitivo, Amari, Wines and Italian Beers accompanied by an assortment of Cicchetti. We especially liked the Prosciutto and Pecorino with Truffle Honey.
Once your group are all present, you’re guided by our maître d' through a side door to the rear of the bar into the Tuscan styled kitchen come restaurant with its black & white tiled floors and brown paper table cloths. There’s seating for no more than 50 patrons, making it all the more intimate. Mobile phones are requested, collected, placed into a wooded drawer, locked in its matching pigeonhole slot to the rear of the room and key returned to the table. A rather novel idea, which was accompanied by many a joke.
As we waited for our first cut, we were encouraged to explore the back-grotto labyrinth housing Bistecca’s +300 Italian wine selection, with the chalkboard tags number being both the bottle # and $ price. On returning to your table your told that the dripping candle wax (which are made from the beef trimmings from off the bistecca/t-bones, seasoned with anchovies, then infused with garlic and rosemary, fried and finally cast in a candle mould) and as the candle like wax (fat) melts, its used in a similar manner to German Schmalz like dip and enjoyed with the warm focaccia provided. A very novel and must try at home idea.
Their signature dish being a Bistecca alla Fiorentina (Tuscan style T-Bone) at $13/100g, traditionally cut three fingers thick (roughly a kilo) but can be cut to your desired weight/size. Bistecca’s beef comes from the Riverine and is cooked over a combination of ironbark, charcoal and olive branches and served medium-rare. We opted for two 1.5kg and 1x 900g cuts requesting the first be served ASAP as a starter, followed by sides in between and the two larger cuts shortly after that.
Pictures are worth a thousand words; in words, these arrive pre-cut into servable shareable portions that are unbelievably tender, cooked to perfection over an open hardwood fire grill resulting in a certain smoked, succulent flavours as your taste buds orgasm all the way through from the outer medium chargrill through to the inner rare succulent marbling heart of each cut. There was a lot of smiling and positive murmur as the team savoured their cuts.
There were no fewer than 13 sides on offer on the night. Not being fans of Brussels sprouts, we were nervous when our waitress recommended we try these. A great recommendation as they were grilled in combination with Pecorino and Sour Cream. Other sides we savoured were the Radicchio – Pear – Gorganzola, Roast Potatoes with Smoked Mascarpone (a crowd pleaser) and Ricotta Dumplings - Artichoke – Goat’s Cheese and Tomato.
Being an Italian themed establishment it was only fitting that we partake in The Italian wines on offer and enjoyed bottles of Barolo and Primitivo followed by oversized portions of tiramisu. So huge that they were easily sharable, which is what we should have done.
As a customary digestive we cleared our palates with 18yr old Glenlivet and Oban single malt whiskeys.
From the Bar Attendants to the maître d' to our Waitress and Sommeliers all with their authentic Italian accents were always available when we need them; be it for another beer, a sharper knife or to return the bones to the grill for that one last morsel, they were ever willing.
WE’LL BE BACK!!
3 Dalley St
Sydney, NSW 2000
Phone: 02 8067 0450