May 4, 2011

The Cut Bar & Grill (and some birthday wishes)

This post is dedicated to 3 people. Firstly, NfOrCeR as this dinner was for his 30th birthday celebration - hope you had a great birthday my friend! And I am really glad I got to celebrate with you! Secondly is tanash - a big, big thank you, you know why. And last but certainly not least to E because today is his birthday and he loves a good piece of meat. Happy birthday E!! :)

So yes, meat features in this post. And really it should because meat is the absolute star of The Cut Bar & Grill. Now, I have to admit - being an Argyle restaurant I had some doubts. I didn't expect the food to be bad, I expected good food. I just didn't know whether it would be a great meal or whether it would be a case of style over substance. I'm not saying that Argyle is style over substance, just that a few frequenters are (a few, not all, and definitely none of my friends fall in this category). Maybe I think this because one can be refused entry to Argyle if one is not fashionably attired. It's also possible I was one of these said people the same night we came to The Cut to eat.

One last point about style. The Cut does have style. There's the pair of bullhorns overhead as you descend the stairs down to the underground restaurant. Marble tables, exposed sandstone and brick walls, timber ceiling beams and supports. Leather banquettes, leather chairs, leather chairs with cowhide backs. Black and white 'sketch' mural of a bookshelf that tells you which toilet is for which gender. Glass wall that corridors off the toilets with a barely discernable gap as an entry point (and if you miss it, the table nearest to the toilets might just notice and have a little giggle). Little cleavers and chopping boards acting as door handles in the toilets (which of course you don't see until you've made it through the glass wall).

F stands for female, leather abounds, the moody looking bar.

Yes folks, it is one stylish meat house. But it's comfortable too - the temperature is just right - even for the person who is always cold (me!). The lighting is soft but it's not so soft that you can't read the menu or see your food. Noise level is good too - it's quiet enough that you don't have to shout yet noisy enough that you don't have to whisper to avoid sharing your conversation with adjacent tables. And as we were seated on a bigger table with the curved leather banquette on one side, it felt very much like your own dining space.

Hurry up and get to the food you say? Ok. But first I need a drink. How about a "Mrs Robinson" cocktail (Parma Pomegranate Liqueur and Pomme Verte with lychee juice, whole lychees and watermelon cubes, $20)? It's described as young, fresh and fruity - aptly so as it ticks all those boxes. The only complaint is that it's got fruity bits in it which don't travel up the skinny straw too well. But that doesn't stop our table from ordering 3 of them.

Why hello Mrs Robinson.... yummy..

Bread is nice, there's a choice of white or brown (?) and best of all you can butter it or dip in olive oil. Side dishes are nice too, all $9. We got 'Shoestring fries with horseradish aioli', 'Steamed broccoli with almonds and anchovy butter' and 'Fried rosemary potatoes with prosciutto' which was the table favourite. Salads are all $10, ours was a 'Baby cos, red radish, dill creme fraiche and garlic croutes'. All is well in the food department thus far, but there's no wow factor just yet...

Bread olive oil or butter, shoestring fries, mustard.

Glorious fried potatoes with prosciutto, baby cos lettuce salad, steamed broccoli.

That is until the steak arrives and everything sort of fades into the background. The menu indicates that they are all grilled over beechwood and charcoal, then finished under a 650 degree broiler. I chose the '4-hour Slow roast Sher F1 Wagyu standing rib', served from their wagyu beef trolley, opting for the 300gm 'standard cut' ($39). It comes out on a white plate plain and simple, no unnecessary garnishes or adornments - it's all about the meat. It is perrrfectly cooked. It is stupennnndously tender. It tastes absolutely FANTASTIC. There are complimentary mustards or you can order a sauce for $5. Being an Argentinian food devotee, I tried the chimichurri. This was the one and only disappointment of the meal, it's not at all like the chimichurri in Argentina so stick to the other sauces (I tasted the ones my friends ordered and they were much nicer). And if you want real chimichurri then head to Porteño. One friend didn't order any sauce and was given a steak gravy/sauce of some sort, which I think a nice gesture.

E - this one's just for you, happy birthday my friend!

After the amazing steak, it was time for dessert. We placed our orders and NfOrCeR's was served with a candle for his birthday. Aww. I like those kinds of gestures too. I had 'Chocolate coconut mousse, black cherry sorbet with coconut rough soil and cherry liquer bubbles' ($16). Yum - quite a strong chocolate emphasis but a really nice flavour. The black cherry sorbet really cuts through the sweetness and makes for a good pairing. 'Praline crusted meringue with passionfruit curd and campari pearls' ($14) - it's one of their sweeter offerings but very nice and very pretty presentation. And then the 'Apple pie' - apple and blackberry jelly, honey creme, black cumin milk sorbet ($14) - this was very good. So good that the owner of this particular plate had eaten half before I got to take a photo. And I could see why once I tasted it, all the components worked well together in both taste and texture, a perfect combination of fruity and creamy flavours. I felt a little sugared out by the end of dessert so possibly something a little lighter would have been more suitable. But then that's probably because I was in a steak-induced food coma... and it was totally worth it.

Chocolate coconut mousse, Praline crusted meringue, half of the 'Apple Pie'

Hope you had a great birthday NfOrCeR!

What: The Cut Bar & Grill
Where: 16 Argyle Street, The Rocks
How much: Check the online menu for additional prices


  1. Hi Jack, feel the same way you did initially about this place, so have been reluctant to visit. Cute name for a cocktail. Love the decor. The sides look tempting, especially the potatoes :)

  2. woahhhh look at that steak! im dying in jealousy!

  3. Dumpling Girl - I am a sucker for potatoes too! I really enjoyed dining here and I think it's a nice place for a special occassion :)

    Chocolatesuze - it IS a good steak, me thinks you would like it! I was sneaking a read of your post about The Cut just now and that wagyu looks sooo good! And potato puree!!!Yes I am a real sucker for potato :)

  4. YES Steak. Mmm drooool :D~~~

    I'm glad there were no posts about my oh so manly bourbon drink.