“It’s a little strange that my steak is garnished with micro herbs.
But it’ll do coz this piece of red meat is succulent with all its beefy flavours”
It’s a tourist precinct and on a sunny day, people stroll along the walkways that envelop the bay with its shops, cafes and restaurants.
Cockle Bay wharf at Darling Harbour has long been one of Sydney’s many tourist spots. The eastern precinct of Darling Harbour is currently going through a major urban renewal after its inaugural opening of the bicentenary of Australia in 1988. This massive renewal project sees the demolition of the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre which was a key venue for the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney and APEC Australia 2007. And the “jewel in the crown” is the $1 billion proposal by James Packer’s Crown Limited to build a hotel, casino and entertainment complex at this site.
So with a kind invitation from Carly Lund (cover image above), restaurant manager at Blackbird Cafe, I am here with my friend Souvlaki Boy to check out one of the bay’s long stayers.
Blackbird Cafe, Cockle Bay Wharf
It’s surprisingly quiet at noon time on a Friday.
The cocktail bar features an overhead river of glasses including a bicycle suspended from the ceiling.
A 2014 Under and Over pinot gris is floral with nuances of green apples and a tight finish.
It’s a warm day and he obliges with more cocktail samplers for us.
A Blackbird tasting plate consists of fresh oysters, garlic bread, meatballs and Sichuan pepper squid.
Beef meatball spaghetti is so called presumably because it comes in a thick tomato sauce in the tradition of spag bol minus the spaghetti.
It would have been more of a tasty Italian tradition with shaved parmesan instead of a clump of julienne shallots that spells more Chinese and sits uncomfortable as a mismatched garnish.
Sichuan pepper is subtle, if any at all, in a deep squid that is crisp and tender.
Chilled lemon aioli makes this a beautiful starter for summer in Sydney.
Fresh Sydney rock oysters are actually Pacific oysters though the menu did mention “limited availability”.
The salsa with cabernet vinegar could be less imposing on the briny taste of oysters if bits of cucumber and capsicum are less heavy in quantity. Dicing them finely would make this dressing more elegant too.
Four large king prawns are charred to a smoky aroma and a twist of lemon juice is all that is needed for flavours to come through this super fresh seafood.
A 2011 Picante Espana tempranillo shiraz has hints of spices on the nose and savoury with a light finish.
I find it a little strange that my steak is garnished with micro herbs though it’s easy to just set it aside.
But it’ll do because this piece of red meat is succulent with all its beefy flavours. Cooked to medium rare, all I need is a generous sprinkle of black pepper.
This steak is good enough on its own.
I resist my temptation for a dollop of Dijon. Instead, I’m happy just dunking my chips into a rich peppercorn sauce as I gaze at the scenic view of Cockle Bay from our table.
So dear readers, do you have a favourite restaurant at Sydney’s Cockle Bay Wharf and for steak lovers, what do you think of micro herbs garnish on your meat?
Chopinandysaucepan dined courtesy of Blackbird Cafe. Prices are included for readers’ information. All views and opinion on this blog post are our own.
Balcony level of Cockle Bay Wharf
Sydney, New South Wales
Tel: +61 2 9283 7384
Opening hours: 7 day breakfast, lunch and dinner