Thursday, July 22, 2010

Prime Restaurant

Address: 1 Martin Place, Sydney NSW 2000
Tel: (02) 9229 7777

If I were to be a food cynic of sorts, my poison would be steak. The best I've had pre-dating now consists of Hogs Breath (for consistency) and a $6 one from up the pub up the road (maybe because I was more in love with the fact the whole meal only cost me $6). Prime didn't win best steak restaurant consecutively for the past 10 years (2000-2009) for no reason. It's not a budget dining experience, however to me its the price of having a steak cooked RIGHT.

My previous statement comes back to haunt me as the steaks were beautiful however my order was taken down incorrectly. I was looking forward to sampling the minute wagyu steak (I wanted handcut chips *carbs* and the wasabi red wine jus sounded intriguing) but the waitress took my order down as the fillet which is about $100 more. Note to future diners - ask the waiter to repeat the order back to you to avoid confusion because the confusion difference could cost more than your intended meal price. Anyway, as I was cursing under my breath the first bite literally melted my troubles away...

Pictured above (apologies that the photo does not do the dish justice): Full Blood Wagyu Fillet Steak with marble score 9+, served with Ponzu sauce. As I learnt, the wagyu steaks in Australia are generally inter-breed/mixed-breed - this full-blood is bred by David Blackmore and exclusive to Prime. The taste? Blissful and heavenly. Who knew humankind could delight so much from eating a dead cow, bred for our gastronomic pleasure. It is an absolutely perfect cut of meat on its own - no bone, fat or sinew to cut or chew around. The ponzu sauce almost ruined the steak (tastes like a stronger version of your average soy sauce) - I preferred the steak on its own because the flavour was so intense & sealed in its own juices. The texture? PERFECT rendition of Medium. Wagyu is cooked slightly rarer than other steaks but this did not channel a slimy texture at all (the dimmed lighting probably helped me avert my eyes). To me, you can tell a good steak by the moisture in the meat - at Prime there was a little blood but it wasn't watery or diluted, nor dry (sign of being overcooked). Complimented with an assortment of (wild) mushrooms served on a bed of spinach. Very simplistic presentation & accompaniment to leave the wagyu the spotlight.

Pictured below: Fully matured grain-fed, dry-aged (as opposed to freezer aged) Black Angus in Cate de Boeuf cut. It is a sirloin on the bone (not a whole limb, just a small cross-section of bone) originating from Darling Downs in Queensland. This Angus was very tender, definitely a stronger, more prominent 'beefy' flavour from the higher fat content resulting in more marbling (definitely heavier than my wagyu). This was too intense for my taste preferences, however would not folld the most carnivorous of meat eaters. I enjoyed the potato gratinee accompaniment (flip it upside down and pick at the layers so it doesn't feel like you are eating a block of cheese).

Can I just say wow? Mind-blowingly good steak. Quality cut of meat, brought to its potential by a top chef in perfect quantity complimented by simple accompaniments with thought & style. As I left it was confirmed to me just how good the steak was - there was no aftertaste. Just a clean, neutral feeling in the mouth - which is atypical because usually there is garlic or dehydrating or SOMETHING. The flavours were all very natural, not overpowering, and good for you.

If I only have one steak a year - let it be Prime.

xx. A-steak-cynic-no-more