A Five-Course Beef Menu That’s Better with Age

Sydney is spoilt for choice when it comes to steak. Between Firedoor’s $176 rib-eye and Bistecca’s T-bones, there’s plenty to choose from across a range of price points, with some pubs even giving steak a pretty good go starting from $10 (others need saving by a lot of gravy). 

A lover of steak myself, I’ve tried as many as I can and over the years I’ve formed some pretty strong opinions around Sydney’s best steaks. Recently, though, I was happy to find a hot contender in one of Australia’s most popular and accessible venues: The Meat & Wine Co. 

A restaurant with multiple venues across five major cities, I recently visited the Barangaroo location to take part in the new AGED experience. The newest dining experience to come from the institution “welcomes diners to savour the premium tenderness and taste of expertly dry-aged meat”. Where even many of Sydney’s best steakhouses outsource their dry-aging to offsite butcheries, The Meat & Wine Co. is going for it on site, ageing its cuts of meat in-house. 

The AGED experience is more than just the steak itself though, it’s actually a five-course degustation, with each dish showcasing beef in one way or another. Dessert is no exception — the beef dripping salted caramel and chocolate ganache tart with roasted hazelnuts and hazelnut praline gelato is as decadent as it sounds. But let’s rewind for a minute. 

The AGED dining experience is considered an introduction, an education of sorts, to the process of ageing itself. As such, the small number of guests who take part at any one sitting may meet the chefs and beverage managers who design the menu and its wine pairings. They’ll talk you through what it means to age meat and the benefits in doing so, before leaving you and your empty stomach to do your best with all that’s presented before you. And it’s a lot, so you’d do well to come hungry. Good luck. 

To start with, I dined on a four-week aged rib-eye tartare with pickled cucumber, dijon, capers, pickles and chives. Topped by cold-smoked egg yolk and served with crostini, this one was absolutely delicious though perhaps a little too generous for what was to come in the courses that followed. 

Next up, split prawns with lobster bisque, veal jus and a pickled peppercorn reduction. Buttons protesting already, I was next presented with the AGED slider. One of the best burgers I’ve had in a while, the simple formula of deeply savoury dry-aged beef, crispy thick-cut onion rings that brought a welcome sweetness, cheese and secret burger sauce was a flavour combination I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. Served with truffle fries and a creamy, porcini salt aioli. 

Somewhat in disbelief that two further dishes were coming my way, I prepared for the main course. Yes, all of that was to start. The star of the show was undoubtedly the six-week dry-aged rib-eye on the bone. Having been coated and thus infused by butter and 14-day slow-cooked black garlic in the ageing process, the steak, tender and juicy, carried a rich and complex flavour that made a stunning pair with the 2009 Brokenwood ‘Wade Block’ Shiraz that the beverage manager described as a “fucking banger”. He was not wrong. 

Every few months, the chefs will change up the butter infusion to present a new flavour. It’s their way of ensuring a new experience for repeat diners, and allows for a change-up in the menu as a whole.

“Coating these select cuts of meat slows the dry-aging process and also enables us to infuse flavours to enhance the guests’ eating experience,” says Thomas Godfrey, food operations manager for The Meat & Wine Co.

Godfrey says the menu was designed to showcase the ingredients in their very best compositions. “When curating the menu, I wanted to go back to basics and serve honest food, uncomplicated and with the best products available, whilst simultaneously ensuring that all our steaks are complemented by the entrees and side dishes on offer.”
The AGED dining experience is available to book now on The Meat & Wine Co. website. Keep an eye out on the dedicated AGED page for all news on upcoming events and chef dinners, or to find out more about the ageing process.