“This rib eye is like Anthony Mundine.
It’s bloody tough and it will give your jaw a thorough workout”
“He’s the type of chef that likes experimenting with food” Mysaucepan says.
“Well, he can experiment all he wants but the final taste test is what’s on my plate” I reply.
“I liked his food at Bentley … you didn’t” she say. “But you haven’t been to his new restaurant Monopole though I didn’t like the food there.”
“So I guess Yellow’s gonna be the clincher” I say, eager to give this award-winning chef another go.
Brent Savage was recently awarded Chef of the Year in the 2015 Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Food Guide.
He is known for his innovative takes on traditional dishes from his award winning restaurant Bentley which has since moved from its Crown street location to the Radisson Blu Hotel in the heart of Sydney CBD.
He’s busy on a Saturday night but our bartender does a great job in keeping us entertained and amused while we wait for our food.
Lighting is so dim, it’s suitable for a nap in this restaurant but noise decibels will halt you right on your tracks.
Elderbubbly is a cocktail made of elderflower, gin, lemon and champagne.
Mysaucepan likes it but I don’t. Then again, I’m not a pretty woman perched on a bar stool in trendy Potts Point this Saturday evening.
Sourdough arrives soon as we take our seats at the bar. Soft and fluffy, I generously slather butter on the bread. The crust is at its crusty best.
Chargrilled pork neck, prawn, black pudding puree & orange
Slices of chargrilled pork neck and two prawns are hiding under thinly shaven disks of watermelon radish and dollops of black pudding puree.
The pork is tender though there’s hardly any smoky aromas if the meat is at all chargrilled. Four half slices of prawn are almost sashimi-like in texture though its sweetness is overwhelmed by the bold, minerally taste of the blood puree while the radish offers a little crunch.
Orange might be a complement for blood pudding but I didn’t quite detect it. And for what it’s worth, the price tag of this little entrée definitely found its impact on me.
Slow-cooked lamb shoulder with cauliflower and mint
Mysaucepan‘s slow-cooked lamb shoulder looks like hamburger patties topped with fresh mint leaves, florets of roasted and raw cauliflower.
Mint with lamb is as classic a pair as Batman and Robin.
But the flavour combination of fresh mint leaves and raw cauliflower is jarring. Paired with slow-cooked lamb patties sitting on a pool of cauliflower puree, this is not quite my idea of a hearty winter dish.
Perhaps we’ve been recently spoiled by a spectacular slow-cooked goat with lentils and salsa verde that ticked all the boxes for taste, texture, flavour combination.
O’Connor scotch fillet with smoked leek and black garlic
At restaurants, I prefer my steaks on its own without any fancy tapenade, purée or condiments though there are exceptions. What caught my eye was not just the O’Connor name but also ‘smoked leek’ and ‘black garlic’ that were to accompany the beef.
Perhaps my expectation of ‘black garlic‘ is whole roasted cloves with crisp, blackened skin and toasty garlic flavours. Instead, it is two dollops of smooth, velvety black puree.
“What’s that creamy black stuff next to the leek?” Mysaucepan asks, pointing at my plate with her knife.
“Well I’m glad you’re not pointing a knife at me for a change” I tell her. “By logical deduction, it has to be black garlic.”
I taste a little of this black garlic puree and it is sweet rather than savoury with mushroom-like earthy notes.
I’m thinking ‘smoked‘ might be dried peels of browned leek but it comes in the form of a few soft stumps that might as well be boiled since there is no smoky aromas at all. The leek is also soaking up tangy red juices from peels of pickled French shallots.
Frilly sprigs of red frisee complete this dangerous-looking side of sweet garlic puree, sour pickles and soft leek.
“Am I supposed to eat my steak with this ghastly stuff?” I think to myself.
I have yet to taste my steak but I’m yearning red wine jus or just a simple dollop of Dijon on the side.
I like scotch fillet as a cut of beef because it is tender with a distinctive circle of fat around the meat. But apart from a small wiggly knob of fat, these eight uniform slices of scotch fillet might as well be sirloin or rump.
The waiter explains this steak looks like a sirloin because of the way it has been cut. It’s one of those explanations which leads to another question – Why would 2015 SMH Good Food Guide’s Chef of the Year slice up a scotch fillet to resemble a piece of sirloin that’s devoid of its tasty fat?
It is customary in Japanese teppanyaki or Chinese stir-fries for beef to be served in hearty cubes or delicate slices. But I fail to see the point of thin scotch fillet slices in contemporary Western cuisine.
Apart from this so-called ‘rib eye’ looking like a sirloin, I’m faced with an even tougher issue, no pun intended.
Pink in the middle as it may be, this steak is chewy and more leathery than the soft leather jacket on my back. I’ve had some pretty decent scotch fillets in restaurants and without a doubt, this rib eye is like Anthony Mundine. It’s bloody tough and it will give your jaw a thorough workout.
As much as I dislike my steak all sliced up, it might be a blessing in disguise. Knowing that it’s so tough, having to slice it myself would have been even more of a torture.
As we leave, a signage at the front of the restaurant made doubly sure the rib eye steak will also be one of my most memorable.
So dear readers, what would you do if you are not happy with a dish at a restaurant, do you request for another of the same or something different?
57 Macleay street
Potts Point, New South Wales
Tel: +61 2 9322 2344
Opening hours: Dinner 7 nights Breakfast and brunch Saturday and Sunday 8am to 3pm.