Steak restaurant and cauliflower schnitzel are not two things you’d usually find in the same sentence. And yet, at the brand new Chophouse Parramatta, a cauliflower schnitzel is wooing over meat eaters one juicy schnitty at a time.
Let’s take a step back. Beloved by Sydney CBD business types, the original Bligh Street Chophouse is a hotspot for power lunches and corporate hobnobbing. The restaurant’s brand new second venue is not down in Barangaroo or Circular Quay, but right in the heart of Parramatta. On the edge of Centenary Square, Chophouse is just a hop, skip and a direct train ride from the CBD and for those based out at Parramatta, a one minute stroll from the train station.
This isn’t just a cookie cutter copy of the original Chophouse. The team have worked hard to add personality back into the steak restaurant. Mood-lit booths line the windows, dry-aged meat is dramatically displayed above the kitchen, but Head Chef Scott Kim saves most of the drama for the kitchen. With eight years in the Chophouse CBD kitchen under his belt, expect to see flawlessly executed classics like the Butcher’s Block and a full Pork Rib Rack, but the Western Sydney native is also bringing a few wild cards to the table. Like the cauliflower schnitzel. Served in a thin slice, crumbed and fried, the cauliflower looks just like a schnitzel and to be honest, tastes quite a bit better than one, thanks to a decadent burnt butter jus and a tumble of capers, parsley and lemon. It’s a bold choice for a main dish on a steak menu, but the waiters say diners are lapping it up. They might order a steak too, but hey, you’ve got to eat your daily dose of veggies somehow.
Also on the menu is a Dry Aged beef burger served with hot raclette cheese that’s served right at the table and gets a few envious glances. The Jacks Creek MB 4+ Dry Aged Sirloin on the bone is a real winner, sneak a peek at the drying meat above the open kitchen if you really want to be tempted. Steaks are served with small pots of fries, a nice touch when you’re usually forced to order sides, but we highly recommend adding on the roast heirloom carrots or the mashed champ potatoes.
If you’re hungry, we challenge you to take on the Tomahawk. A whopping 1.7kg beast of a bone, it is rightly listed under a ‘Feast’ section and is designed for sharing between 3-4 and they aren’t kidding. It’s the sort of menu item you might glance at and move on, except for the chef roaming the floor with a tomahawk. It’s a beast when you see it up close, one that has plenty of tables rising to the challenge.
We’re happy to save the share dishes for dessert – chocolate fondue for two sees a steaming pot of Valrohna chocolate mousse surrounded by warm jam doughnuts, honeycomb, marshmallows and strawberries arrive at the table.
When it comes to the wine list, we’re impressed by the reasonably priced options – when did you last see a steak restaurant’s drinks menu with bottles of wine under the $50 mark? Plenty of local and international wines by the glass is a boon too – make a beeline for the Malbec. The bar is also well stocked with local spirits – we’re loving the Byron Bay-based Brookies gin.
It’s those little details, and more, like labelling the Halal menu options with a discreet ‘H’, the commitment to locally sourced NSW produce and the on site drying cabinet that make us see steak restaurants in a new light.