Beef Steak Club at Chophouse – Sydney CBD

February 23, 2012
By

I never won medals as a child. I was always that kid who ended up with a certificate of participation rather than 1st, 2nd or 3rd *collective “nawwwwww” sadface*. Don’t get me wrong, I was always proud of my certificate, it just wasn’t a medal, you know?

When I arrived at Chophouse for their quarterly Beef Steak Club event, I was greeted by the lovely Belinda who was our host for the evening. She quickly handed me a glass of Taltarni Brut Taché Tasmania 2009, and I was introduced to Karina Dambergs, Senior Winemarker at Taltarni. This lady knows her stuff! I’m a wine lover (mostly bubbly), but I would by no means call myself a wine connoisseur. I like what I like and regardless of price, vintage, or type of grape, if I’m not a fan, I’m just not a fan. The Taché however was delicious! Taché is actually French for “stained and beautifully stained it is. Karina tells us that unlike other pink sparkling’s, a small amount of red wine is added to the Taché and that’s what gives it, its lovely pink hue without making it sickly sweet. It’s a wonderfully crisp sparkling with just the right amount of sweetness and hey, I’m a sucker for a pink drink.

We are given our canapés, an Oyster & Prawn Po Boy. This is my first Po Boy experience and I’m really pleasantly surprised. Wonderfully crisp on the outside and packed full of flavour.

We are shown to our seats for the night, set out with place cards, menus, and wait, what? A medal? OMG! Trying to resist the urge to hand someone my camera, stand up and proudly display my medal while they take about a billion photos so I can show my mum, I calmly ask Belinda the story behind the Beef Steak Club and indeed the medals.

Chophouse started their “Beef Steak Club” back in July 2011 for their regular customers and for those who genuinely enjoy a good ol’ steak. The idea stemmed after learning about other Beef Steak Clubs throughout the world and they loved the idea of the community that such a club offers. Beef Steak Club events have been held quarterly ever since and are advertised on their website as well as through word of mouth.

Generally, about 50% of the people who attend the Club dinners had attended the previous and I definitely noticed that when people started arriving. It did seem like everyone knew each other and I’m a massive fan of events where people are just interested in the food, chatting about the food and enjoying a whole evening based around the food (and wine of course ;)).

Within no time at all, Eric Tan, Head Chef at Chophouse, is out in the dining room, explaining our menu to us. He has brought props :D a stunning looking WA Marron (alive) which he grabs out of a bowl and lifts up to show everyone “Here’s our first course” he explains which brings a smile to everyone’s face.

Apologies for the blur….the marron moved THAT fast!

I always love it when a chef comes out to the dining room to explain the menu. It gives you a real sense of the man (or woman) behind the plate, if you will, and seeing the passion that a chef has for their produce and their team, always inspires me and sets the evening off on a great tone. Eric is quite clearly one of those chefs and once he heads back to the kitchen, my excitement has reached a new level.

Our entrée, Chilled WA Marron with iceberg lettuce, apple and avocado, reminds me of a really fancy prawn cocktail. It’s that little hint of retro that I adore. The marron is cooked perfectly and the addition of the apple adds a beautiful sweetness.

Paired with our entrée, we have the Taltarni ‘Three Monks’ Fume Blanc Tasmania, 2010, Alphonese Mellot ‘La Moussiere’ Sancarre Loire Valley, 2010, Domaine A ‘Lady A’ Coal Valley, 2003. With three wines in front of me, poured and ready to go, I’m at a loss of where to go first! Karina is more than happy to assist and lets me know to start with the Three Monks. It’s a wonderfully soft wine that is instantly my favourite. Very smooth and paired with our entrée, is a perfect match.

Up next I give the La Moussiere a go. Its flavours are slightly bolder than the Three Monks but it still gives a lovely crisp flavour and actually lifts the salad flavours for me. I love that about wine! It can really lend itself well to a dish (if paired correctly of course) and can even heighten certain characteristics. It’s so damn clever ;)

Lastly, the Lady A was a great white to end on. Unfortunately I had eaten my entrée so didn’t get to actually taste it together but it definitely stood on its own very well and I can imagine would taste even better with the seafood.

In between courses there is a great hum in the air of people dying to try the next dish, talking about the previous one and discussing the wine they have just sipped. Chophouse has definitely succeeded in their Club feel and it’s a great thing to be a part of.

The main is what we have all been waiting for Limited Release, Striploin MB+8, Rangers Valley, nicoise jus which is served with onion rings and strings, cabbage gratin and a mesclun and herb salad. Having had the introduction from Eric about this steak, I couldn’t wait to cut in to it. Not surprisingly, the knife glided through the steak like butter and it was pure heaven. I am making the call that this was the best steak I have ever had. Huge call, as state by Belinda, but definitely true. Cooked to perfection and the quality of the meat was second to none.

I was interested to see how they would do a nicoise jus and when it arrived on top of the steak, wasn’t sure about it in the beginning but the seasoning of the components was great and when you get a little bite of each in with the steak, it just worked. Don’t ask questions lol.

The sides were all really delicious and went perfectly with the steak, my favourite being the gratin. I was always a cauliflower hater when I was young but carbless for the past year prior to our wedding, we started using cauli in place of potato and I’m now a huge fan. The gratin was creamy and delicious but the cream didn’t overpower the cauli at all, it was still very much a cauliflower dish and I appreciated that.

Along with our main, we had the Taltarni Cephas Shiraz Cabernet Pyrenees, 2003. Some reds can be really over powering and normally, white is my drink of choice so I’m not massively keen on most reds. In saying that, this Shiraz Cab was great and although bold, it was still subtle enough to let the meat shine.

Finally, our dessert was Fig & Rockmelon with praline & blue cheese ice cream. I was really excited about trying blue cheese ice-cream for the first time. I find that most people aren’t too keen on cheese ice-cream and it’s normally the less adventurous with food that aren’t willing to give it a go. I couldn’t wait to try it and I’m glad my first experience was at Chophouse. The ice cream, to me, was the star of the dish. The fruit was wonderfully fresh and not overly sweet so it went extremely well with the blue cheese ice-cream and also the chunks of praline added great texture. The ice-cream itself I everything you would expect and ice-cream to be. Creamy, sweet, delicious, just with that hint of blue cheese after taste, I strongly urge those who haven’t eaten it before, to give it a go. You will be really pleasantly surprised!

We ended on the Chateau Guiraud Sauterne Bordeaux, 2007 to accompany our dessert and both Karina and I agreed that this was a perfect match. Beautifully sweet and sticky like a great dessert wine should be and with the kick of the blue cheese, it really was amazing!

I can’t speak highly enough of my experience at Chophouse. It’s a restaurant that has been on my (ever-growing) to-eat-at list (a foodies to-do-list) for a very long time and it definitely lived up to the hype.

The Beef Steak Club is a great event, with a great concept and really gives you that sense of community. That’s what food is all about really.

After coming home and explaining my night to Stud,  he was really jealous is really keen to go to the next one. If you want to be a part, its $95 per person which includes a four course meal with matching wines. Keep an eye out on the Chophouse website and also sign up to their mailing list so you can keep up to date with all that happens at Chophouse.

Thanks to the wonderful staff at Chophouse for a great evening!

Dining with a Stud attended February’s Beef Steak Club event as a guest of Chophouse.

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These views are mine and mine only. I don't claim to be any kind of professional food critic, I just know what I do and don't like and express accordingly. Please contact me first if you wish to use any of my images for another purpose.