Deep in the heart of the Sydney CBD, where the streets are alive with the foot traffic of late-leaving office workers and Thursday night shoppers, the Sydney Steakboyz gravitate to the next chapter of our steak odyssey. From the street, one wouldn’t know what you’re missing out on - Chophouse is as discreet as it is impressive.
Once inside, we are greeted by an eclectic mix of furniture and fixtures - the reclaimed timber-clad walls and ceiling encompassing a softly lit room of dark wood, luxurious red leather banquettes and a heavy curved bar of metal and stone. Our attention is drawn to the centre of the bar where, with a touch of realism no doubt related to the name of the venue, the skeletal remains of the beasts that bring us here hang in the form of a light sculpture.
The atmosphere is alive with plenty of diners, and staff attentively buzzing around them. We are immediately greeted by an English gentleman named Mark who, with a big smile and relaxed friendly manner, leads us to our waiting table.
Our needs are quickly attended to with each Steakboyz finding themselves with a beer in hand shortly after being seated. Tonight, we all decide to start with a good-sized glass mug of Lord Nelson Three Sheets Pale Ale. With the right balance of malt, hops and citrus, this crisp little number is perfect to quench the thirst while perusing the menu.
It’s not until now, after a few mouthfuls of beer, that we look up and notice that the interior of the dining area is ingeniously designed to replicate the inside of a carcass. The massive arched timber frames protruding from the walls represent the ribcage of a cow – with the correct number of ribs we learn from our ever-helpful host for the night - Matt.
The menu is well-rounded but not overdone. Naturally we focus our attention first on the cuts available – which range from Char-Grilled Minute Steak 200g to The Tomahawk 1.7kg (which serves 3-4 people), and everything in between. We’re torn between the myriad of different cuts and marble scores but in the end, with Matt’s expert guidance, we did what we never thought would happen on a Steakboyz night……we share-plated!
Prior to Chophouse, Matt worked in numerous good Melbourne steakhouses however, upon trying the Chophouse Dry Aged 400g on the Bone Sirloin for the first time, decided he needed to change employer. So, of course we had to try some of that (two in fact), along with The Tomahawk 1.7kg and two of the special for the night - the Kobe 9+ Wagyu 300g. The cuts are brought out on a chopping block for our inspection before being whisked off to the chef, to be cooked to his liking. Between the eight of us, we think we have it covered.
For the wine, we choose the Langmeil Valley Floor Shiraz 2014 from an impressive list of varieties carefully selected by the Chophouse sommelier, Elenore. For a reasonable price, the quality of this wine is superb. Whilst the tannins are not as bold and grippy as the Shiraz we tend to go for, we are not left disappointed with the rich sweet and spicy fruit balance and velvety tannins of this medium-bodied wine – a deserving accompaniment to any great steak.
Ogling our cuts of steak has well and truly whet our appetites so we decide to tuck in to a few shared starter plates. We go for the Yellow-Fin Tuna Tataki and the Charcuterie Meat Selection. We are initially disappointed by the fact the Hiramasa Kingfish Sashimi is not available this night, but when we try the Tuna - wow! All agree it was a blessing in disguise. Seared to perfection, the delicate slices melt in the mouth, the crisp texture of the Daikon strings providing the perfect contrast.
The Meat Selection is a well presented spread of salami and prosciutto, accompanied by pickled vegetables and thin toasted wafers with accompaniments that compliment without overpowering.
Off to a good start, we order more wine, note that the steak knives are of good weight and begin to get excited about using them.
The arrival of our platters of steak gives us reason to pause. Each cut is expertly sliced without disrupting the overall shape of the cut, so we can still enjoy the visual of the steak in its original state.
The Kobe 9+ Wagyu is easily the most tender of the three cuts. Our knives glide through with ease and it melts on the tongue - truly an exceptional experience for any steak lover.
The Tomahawk, or shall we say “ribeye with attitude”, screams for attention. As big as your forearm and hand combined, only a sumo wrestler would take it on alone. It doesn’t disappoint. The meat is full and flavoursome, the crispy charred remnants close to the bone are literally fought over by a few of the Boyz.
As good as these cuts are, the show is stolen by the Dry Aged 400g on the Bone Sirloin, proving our host Matt right in his praise. The Boyz agree that the raw earthy flavours of this cut surpass all before it. We are in steak heaven.
Nothing too surprising on the Sides menu. We order a mix. The Steak Cut Chips have a pleasing crunch to them and disappear quickly. The Champ Potato Mash, perfect to soak up the juices, is just the right texture and doesn’t last long either. Brussel Sprouts arrive topped with bourbon bacon and chestnuts, but miss the mark with most of us who remain unconvinced that grilling a sprout is the best way to prepare it. The Steamed Green Beans with Lemon Oil were perfect – fresh, crisp and simple. The Sautéed Mushrooms with garlic and parsley on the other hand were a little tired, but tasty all the same.
Nothing can be faulted regarding the service which is warm and friendly without being intrusive. Many times during the evening, the Boyz exchange looks and nods of approval. From our first point of contact with Clare making our reservation, to Mark greeting us upon arrival to our host Matt and the many other waiters who served us and cleared out plates, we are always well looked after.
Steakboyz don’t order dessert however to our surprise and delight, we are presented with an American Honey Chocolate Block, stamped with the Sydney Chophouse signature, to finish. This is accompanied by a wonderful fortified Urban Myths from Peacock Hill Vineyard in the Hunter Valley, presented by Elinore the sommelier.
The quality of the produce, the skill with which the meat is cooked and served, the relaxed professional service and the overall atmosphere created within the Chophouse makes it one steakhouse you must visit when in Sydney.
Looking around at the satisfied smiles as we sip our final Yamazaki whisky and reflect on the evening, I realise it is going to be very hard indeed to top this experience.
25 Bligh Street
Tel: 02 9231 5516