Some piggies go to market, some stay home. Some piggies have roast beef and some…well, they go to Chophouse and get eaten by hungry foodies! In it’s former life Chophouse played host to cinemagoers showcasing the latest black and white flicks. With the smell of popcorn well and truly gone the heritage rich building now has lingers of suckling pig, hearty steaks and rich wine aromas luring guests to the heart of Sydney’s CBD.
Sipping Peach Bellini’s on arrival guests took the time to meet and mingle in the downstairs bar before heading upstairs to our private dining room. ‘Chophouse’ is a contemporary twist of the New York style steakhouse but tonight the menu is all about pig! With two whole suckling pigs being chopped for mains I was happy with a duo of seafood dishes for entrée.
The coconut prawn, green papaya, Thai basil and spiced coconut dressing was delicious and didn’t stop half our guests eating every last bit, including the head. Causing a little less controversy was the ceviche of hiramasa kingfish European radish, organic flower and avruga cavia. Fresh kingfish and subtle complimentary flavours made this a delight. The 2005 Yering Station Chardonnay from Yara Valley was a top choice and a nice ode to International Chardonnay Day earlier in the week.
Words cannot describe the enthusiasm that erupted when Exec Chef David Clarke and the team carried the pigs into the room. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such PDA (public displays of affection) for pig in my life. These little bad boys had been slow cooking away for the past two hours just waiting to make their debut. The only things squealing were the guests and no trimmings were spared, they’d gone the whole hog! (Bahaha get it…get it)?
Had it been two months later we could have called this evening ‘Christmas In July’. The suckling pigs, roasted vegetables, seasonal green beans and cauliflower gratin sure had a festive feel and were cause for celebration. As with Christmas I took the opportunity commandeer the gratin, I’m always a sucker for cheesy flowerets. I’m also a fan of the 2007 Kooyong Massale Pinot Noir from Mornington Peninsula that went down a treat with mains.
It’s a tough act to follow and with such little room after so much pig I was amazed how easily the cheese platters and chocolate were consumed. Not that I’m one to ever turn down sticky and cheese. The 2008 Brokenwood Umpires Vineyard Semillon Sauvignon Blanc from the Hunter Valley had me excited, as did the house made chocolate. My favourite part was chopping it up with mini cleavers, how appropriate!
Full-bellied guests didn’t leave empty handed, thanks to Pork Australia everyone took home a Secret Recipe cook book featuring Australian Pork Star chefs and aprons to try out next time they’re in the kitchen.
The team at Chophouse are fantastic and are one of the many reasons to visit the city on a weekend. David Clarke leads a strong team of chefs and has a wealth of experience, including five years at Quay. He’s soon to take on a new challenge as the Exec Chef for Jamie Oliver’s new restaurant Jamie’s Italian set to open in August on Pitt St. I’m sure we’ll have more news on that soon!
I had a wonderful evening and look forward to returning to Chophouse again soon. With pig puns buzzing through my head all I can really say is: it was a crackling of a night!