PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
We have Italian institutions, tapas trend setters and enough sushi to get to Japan and back, however South African is a cuisine Sydney's dining scene seems to lack. The Meat and Wine Co. has opened in Darling Harbour bringing African flavour to a waterfront view.
Its open frontage welcomes the harbour breeze making it an oasis from hot Australian days. Inside, sandstone carvings climb the walls and lead to the bustling open kitchen where ribs, steaks and bauvewors sausages sizzle. A level above the flurry of Darling Harbour, cocktails and wine are served amongst the dimly lit mystique of the Puza Bar.
South African dishes and modern Australian fare reach across the menu from plump prawns dressed in Portuguese sauce, and grilled chicken wings glossy with thick marinade. Traditional South African boerewors sausages are plump with succulent meat and lightly spiced with nutmeg, while tomato relish spills over their accompaniment of white doughy pap.
South Africa's love for strongly flavoured meats inspires the menu with choices made by the weight, cut, breed and feed. The Monte Gold 250gram fillet is a rosy medium-rare colour inside, while the meaty flesh of the pork ribs is infused with honey mustard and subtle rosemary. The sweetness of pumpkin complements tender slices of kangaroo fillet to be dipped in black cherry jus. The strong wines are drawn from around Australia and New Zealand, with some particularly notable drops from South Africa's famous Stellenbosch region.
Indulgent desserts are reason enough to visit with delicate creations that contrast to the hearty dishes. A gooey melted centre breaks through warm dark chocolate and pistachio fondant, and a crisp biscuit case holds caramelised condensed cream and mascarpone cheese layered in toffee-crusted banana slices.
The Meat and Wine Co. is a comfortable and friendly restaurant serving hearty meals and strong wines with an exotic African edge.