King Street Wharf has been a remarkably stable dining precinct since it opened just before the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000. With the fourteen tenants having an average lease time of more than eleven years, there’s a bit of an expectation for this precinct to continue to chug along unchanged. However, with Markham, a private real estate group, taking over the 99-year lease of King Street Wharf in December last year, there’s a whisper of renewal in the air...
All this got me thinking that it was a good time to get reacquainted with this waterfront ‘hood, starting with a meat fix at Steersons Steakhouse. Beginning its King Street Wharf journey as Kinglseys Steakhouse, Steersons has been around since 2004.
Still centred upon the waterfront view, the dining room has aged quite nicely, with a backlit marble bar providing a focal point inside the light and airy space. Despite the suddenly inclement Sydney weather, we decide to pull up on the wide airy balcony.
With a well-stocked whisky trolley capturing my attention on the way to the table, I’m keen to kick off with a whisky cocktail. Their interesting, one-page list gives me two to choose from.
‘Fiddich’n’Co ($19) proves my favourite with its easy-to-drink blend of Glenfiddich 12-years, PS40 smoked lemonade and charred rosemary, though the Wood Smoked Whisky Sour ($20) made on Monkey Shoulder Scotch whisky was tart and enjoyable.
Wine is actually the restaurant’s main game, with red wine being their strong suit. The wine list gives you plenty to choose from, with a good selection of entry-level wines around the sixty-buck mark. Being a light-weight red drinker, I hit up the Grenache selection for the 2015 Rockford Moppa Springs ($99/bottle) that is decanted at the table. It’s a smooth, savoury (almost salty) blend of Grenache, Mataró and Shiraz with lots of red fruit and enough acidity to cut through the richness of steak.
If you’d like to engage in a bit of foreplay before you meet your meat, there are Oysters ($25.90/6). On the evening I dined, the bivalves were sourced from Wallis Lake, and scrubbed up better as Kilpatrick than au natural, because there wasn’t much natural liquor to be had.
There’s also a short list of entrees, from which the Albacore Tartare ($21.90) jumps out.
A raised disc of tuna tartare is given more height with a pale green cucumber hat. The nicely presented plate is balanced by dots of briny nori gel and a daikon salad. Scooped up onto a squid ink cracker, it’s enough to whet the appetite without cutting into vital real estate.
Because – let’s face it – like most of the weeknight blue collared shirt brigade – you’re here to eat beef. In the kitchen it will be charred on a 400-degree Celcius grill, then finished in a combi oven to your liking, before being rested for half of its cooking time. The menu cleverly explains all the parameters, from provenance to cut to cooking level, to help ensure everyone’s happy. It’s a clever way to handle larger corporate groups, where the wait staff might not get to speak directly to each diner, to explain the lower central temperature of a steak cooked to rare or blue.
I’m pleased to see more grass-fed options have appeared on the menu since my last visit, and choose a conservatively-sized 200-gram Riverina Pasture Fed Eye Fillet ($44.90) cooked to medium rare, with mash and an indulgent disc of Blue Cheese Butter ($3).
As per the menu promise, the centre is very pink against a charred exterior. It’s super tender, enjoyable-to-eat meat that doesn’t overwhelm me with its size.
My dining companion looks to Grasslands pasture-fed, hormone and antibiotic-free beef for his 300-gram Rib-Eye ($42.90), teaming it with a slightly less exciting baked potato and a gravy boat of Green Peppercorn Sauce ($4). It’s got more texture and bite, but I’m not gaga over the flavour, preferring my eye fillet, though it does go better with their mustards.
With just a tangle of pea shoots on each plate, the steaks here are predicated on ordering a side. Peas, Pickled Carrots and Honey Star Anise Butter ($10.90) gives a modern tweak to my peas, mash, carrots and meat memories of yesteryear.
The kitchen’s performance - and the more moderately sized steaks - incline me to dabble in dessert. The Treacle Tart ($14.90) makes me super-glad I did. It’s a very adult dessert, with treacle well-balanced by tart sour cream, textbook pastry and salty pecan praline. It’d be the ideal dessert to accompany a late-night whisky cart visit to your table, before you roll forth merrily into the night.
Steersons Steakhouse is a King Street Wharf stalwart for a solid and dependable reason.
King Street Wharf, 17 Lime Street, Sydney
Ph: (02) 9295 5060