It's been a few years since I dined at one of the high brow joints on Woolloomooloo's finger wharf. An end of year treat put on by Mr K's office where partners were allowed to join in on drinks at the Water Bar, dinner at Manta, overnight in the Blue hotel and breakfast back at the Water Bar. Not bad when you can do all this and not leave the building.
This time 'round I find myself seated at a table with twelve other like-minded people (ie food bloggers) plus the wonderful Sarah Ashmore of Pacific Restaurant Group and Tim Muschamp, restaurant manager of Kingsleys Steak & Crabhouse.
It was a nice gesture being handed the cocktail menu to make a choice for a pre-dinner lube but as simple and classic as the list was, I couldn't help but ask for the only cocktail I ever drink. Martini. Dirty vodka martini, to be precise. Other's went for beer, daiquiri's laced with chilli, Long Is. iced tea and Mai Tai's. This is the life. Lounging back on the boardwalk of a tastefully renovated restaurant, expensive aquatic toys bobbing about in the marina and the sun setting on our shoulders. Sounds a bit posh but the set-up at Kingsleys is far from high brow. The service is relaxed and welcoming and thankfully doesn't have the pomposity that usually comes with a waterside setting in this town.
Small wooden paddles of hot crusty bread come delivered to our vast table of hungries and is soon followed by starters of steak tartar, baby octopus salad or barrata mozzarella salad. Simon and I have to be difficult and order the steak tartar unmixed and just one is presented so we can see it deconstructed. A handful of condiment dishes containing finely chopped shallots, cornichons, egg yolk, mustard, truffle aioli plus Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces for a bit of spice. After mixing what I wanted into the mound of raw meat I loved every tender mouthful. The crisp sourdough crostini, peppery watercress and soft-boiled quail egg completed the picture perfectly.
I was so enthralled by my steak tartar and and matching Stonier Mornington Peninsula pinot noir that I didn't photograph the other two entree's of Barrata mozzarella salad and crispy fried baby octopus. Check the links for visuals.
Our "in the middle" course of Alaskan king crab arrived on crushed ice with lemon wedges and mayo. The meat is juicy and sweet and perfect for a balmy evening of waterside grazing.
Chef Lars Svensson then wheels out a trolley adorned with beef wellingtons which he proceeds to cut in half, plate up and drizzle with thin gravy. We each get a whopping 200g of melting eye fillet and mushroom duxelle blanketed in buttery puff pastry. The meat is perfectly cooked and requires very little chewing. The matching Punters Corner cab sauv is sensationally smokey and woody and it's hard to stop at one glass. Sides of iceberg salad, zucchini with peas, mint, fetta and grilled asparagus with parmesan join the meat-fest and not only did I forget to try the zucchini and almost forgot the iceberg salad, but the two unsteady shots I took were worthless. Thanks to Monica you can see the sides. It was not until I finished my wellington that I realised I was yet to try the wonderful and fresh iceberg salad with blue cheese and radish.
When it came to sweets I was a little torn and ended up having what I always do - creme brulee. While most of the table was gushing over the chocolate brownie & banana sundae I cracked through my rather thick rink of amber sugar and savoured the silky custard beneath. Tim was nice enough to hand out samples of his wobbly toffee cheesecake which I found just as good. A very sticky Yalumba Botrytis Voignier was matched with desserts and washed everything down nicely.
After coffee and chocolate coated coffee beans it was a done deal.
Big thanks to Sarah, Tim and the great team at Kingsleys.
HNF dined at Kingsleys Steak & Crabhouse courtesy of The Pacific Restaurant GroupKingsleys Steak & CrabhouseRestaurant 10, 6 Cowper Wharf RoadWooloomooloo 20111300 546 475Mon-Sat 12pm-10pmkingsleys.com.au