Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Prime Restaurant, GPO Sydney

GPO Sydney
Downstairs from the foyer, 1 Martin Place
P: 02 9229 7777

A month or so ago we went north for a weekend, staying in Sydney overnight. We asked the concierge where he’d recommend for a great steak, since we were in a carnivorous mood. He suggested Prime Restaurant, also advising that it was difficult to find. And it was, until we worked it out.

Prime feels like a cave under the GPO, albeit a nicely turned out cave. Its stone walls, arched doorways, curtains and dim lighting all contribute to the feeling of being in a hidey-hole, possibly doing something illicit.

We were squeezed around a centre booth-style table, with the table having to be moved for us to get seated (and no, not because of monumental girths; even a supermodel would have had trouble getting into the seat without moving the table at least half a foot), and menus were presented. That’s when we realised exactly how dim the lighting was – we couldn’t read the menus. We tried tilting them towards the (fake) candle on the table, still with little success. Finally I got my phone out and used the screen to provide enough light to read by, and squinted my way through the menu. This is also why there are no pictures to go with this post. They must have switched the lights on to full-power for the pictures on the website.

Chewing on some particularly good bread (from memory, slices of a brown sourdough loaf) while we decided what to eat, we thought that while we were feeling steak-y, we weren’t overly hungry, so figured we'd share an entree before moving onto our mains. I don’t recommend doing this if you like more than a taste of each of the cured assiette of air dried wagyu and Kurabota pork served with pickled vegetable and onion marmalade. A beautifully presented plate contained one small artistic coil of each of the meats, with a small pile of the said vegetables. Half of each coil really wasn’t quite enough to fully appreciate what was, in actual fact, some really nice wagyu and pork. There was a sizeable dollop of the onion marmalade, which was equally tasty, and which we piled onto our bread to enjoy more fully.

From there, onto the mains. Steak orders come with roasted cherry tomatoes, potato one of two ways (pureed, or a frittata-style wedge), and sauce. I chose the 220g Black Angus fillet, apparently from Glen Innes in Northern NSW (good country up there!) cooked medium-well, while J had a different cut... I can’t remember... possibly the sirloin on the bone, cooked well. We also ordered a side of something... possibly vegetables... sorry, my memory has, as always, failed me. In any case, you know the food is good when conversation stops entirely once it arrives. All you could hear from our table was “mmmMMMmmm... try this!” and variations thereof for a good 5 minutes or more. The steaks were cooked perfectly, and so tender that you could have cut them with a butter knife. The potato puree was smooth, creamy, and rich with flavour. Similarly the other serving-style of potato was delicious, with a beautiful flavour.

Despite feelings of fullness, desserts were ordered. We ordered two different flavours of sorbet each, and these were well-done without being remarkable.

Prime is also apparently a top choice for wagyu, although I can’t comment on how they do it (maybe next time). I notice they also offer an express lunch menu which looks interesting. Unfortunately its just a little too far away for me to make it for lunch during my workday.

I’d definitely eat at Prime again. Prices are a little high, but the food is superb, and the staff are friendly, cheerful and helpful. I’ll just have to remember to take a torch.

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