Sunday, 20 March 2011

Restaurant Review: Mad Cow, Ivy

On Friday I met fellow food blogger Simon for lunch at Mad Cow in the Ivy. We were planning to take advantage of the March into Merivale offer of a main course and glass of wine or beer for $33.

We had originally arranged a party of four, which would have neatly enabled us to try all of the dishes on the specials menu. Sadly John and Leona couldn't make it. However, having lunch with one of Sydney's finest bloggers brings not only brings sparkling company, but also the charm and contacts which saw us treated liked VIPs. The staff from Mad Cow were kind enough to let us try all of the dishes on the specials menu.

There are three Chandon wines to choose from. A sparkling, sauvignon blanc and shiraz. I decided to go for some bubbles in the form of the 2006 Blanc de Blanc. A very high quality wine for the price. It was light and refreshing with a few citrus notes.

Simon chose the Shiraz. I had a quick taste and it was also very good.

As we both decided to order steaks, our waiter suggested bringing the other two dishes on the specials menu (which are lighter) out as 'starters' to share.

The fillet of ocean trout, crushed kipfler potatoes, sauce vierge has a claim on dish of the day. The fish was nicely cooked, although some people might have found it underdone at the thickest part of the fillet. I liked the crispy skin and lemon flavoured oil covering the potatoes.

The vegetarian option was a Moroccan vegetable bisteeya, baby beans, mint, pomegranate, yoghurt, cucumber. The mildly spiced vegetable parcel had a good flavour and a hint of sweetness. I would have preferred a a slightly higher vegetable to pastry ratio.

For my main course I ordered the the beef city black Angus scotch fillet, 120 day grain fed with spicy barbeque sauce. As with the wines Simon and I were both very impressed with the quality of the steaks. My steaks was very tender and flavoursome. Although the BBQ sauce was good, I wasn't 100% sure about it as an accompaniment to the steaks. It wasn't particularly spicy and I actually thought the flavour distracted from the meat.

Simon ordered the Black angus minute of fillet steak with café de Paris butter. I had a preconception that the minute steaks would be quite thin and was pleasantly surprised with their thickness. Simon was kind enough to let me try his steak and I thought the cafĂ© de Paris butter was a fantastic accompaniment to the steaks.

We were given sides of a green salad and shoestring fries. I'm not sure if these were complimentary or included with the steaks. Both were good although the salad had a very light dressing. I would have preferred a punchier French dressing.

As we were leaving the restaurant we were invited to pop into the kitchen briefly to meet the chef. It seemed like a slick operation. I only had a quick glance round the kitchen, but it seemed to be smaller than I was expecting.

This was my first March into Merivale offer. Before going for lunch I thought $33 was a bit steep for a special offer. However, the quality of the wines and steaks, combined with the high levels of service mean that the price tag is justified.

Simon's review of our lunch is here.

Full disclosure: We each paid $33 for our main course and glass of wine. The fish and vegetarian main were complimentary.

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  1. great recap of the day. i think you only get the fries and salad sides if you order the steaks from the al a carte menu at the normal price so i think we received these complimentary to try as well. was nice of the kitchen to provide all the dishes to sample. i was pleasantly surprised by the fish dish which ended up being a bigger meal than the steaks on their own :-)

  2. Oh lucky you for having such a contact to be able to try everything on the menu ;) I've read good reviews about this place but never been yet. The Moroccan vegetable bisteeya sounds so yummy!