Monday, April 03, 2006

Woolloomooloo Bay Steak and Alehouse

Dazed and confused from an attempt to see the Archibald Prize at the AGNSW, we retreated and re-grouped at Woolloomooloo. It was hell out there in the trenches. Lines of people trailing out the gallery entrance, four screaming school groups throwing ice cream at each other, buses to the left of us, pensioners to the right. Patrons waiting their turn to enter the packed room one by one, frothing at the mouth and baying for portraiture. Man, it was ugly.

So rather than the planned civilised outing to see nice rool painted pik-chus and get a bit of kul-cha, followed by lunch, we opted just for the lunch. There are lots of choices 'down the ‘Loo', but we decided to simplify matters and go straight for the pub. Upstairs, ooo, not many people, yay! A poor disoriented British tourist was asking waiters for directions to the Art Gallery… hah! We nearly shouted out for her to abort her mission and grab a beer before it was too late, but the last we saw she was trudging up the steps bound for certain death-by-queuing.

Predictably, this place upstairs in the pub (and under separate management) looks like a steakhouse. Rustic, nameless, accoutrements are littered about to give the impression of recently departed wiry stockmen, wrestling steers to the ground ready for a slice to be flayed off and slapped on a plate. Old wooden things abound, don’t ask me what for, but a nice display on the far wall looks like it could be for measuring cow tail diameter. The surf and turf (reef ‘n’ beef, ship ‘n’ shore – whatever) menu is just that, and reassuringly the beef is described in details that point to what they ate prior to said stockmen dispatching them, how long they’ve been dead and hanging about down the back, where they come from, and how big your own personal hunk is going to be. Ah, spit.

Maybe we were a little shell-shocked from our all too close encounter with human flesh at the Gallery, but we all opt for the surf rather than the turf and go for girly entrée dishes. Our choices elicit a raised eyebrow from the surly waiter who, in a clear attempt to impugn the masculinity of my companions, proclaims these dishes to be ‘pretty small servings’. ‘That’s orrright mate’, we reply in deep-voiced unison, ‘we’ll have another look at the menu later’. Ah, spit. At least Mr Burgerbloke orders a beer, rescuing our reputations somewhat, while the rest of us drink sauvignon blanc at an outrageously marked-up price. (Whatever you do, don’t spit – too exxey). We have a decent damper with dipping oils (picture, top) to help us wait for our meals, and it arrives steaming hot on a wooden breadboard with a serrated cutlass to carve it. We feel suitably armoured to slay the malevolent damper and MN plays mother, but really just to play with the knife, effecting an additional face-saving imitation of the Pirates of the Caribbean. Arrrrr, lads!

As you can see from the pix, the servings are small by Vogon or Mr Creosote standards, but not by any I can conjure that pertain to humans with normal appetites. The mountain of barramundi atop a soon-to-avalanche wall of chips (second pic, above, $19 from the ‘light meals’ list), and two hand-sized soft shell crabs on relish and salad (third pic, above, $15 from the entrée list). Both these dishes are great – crisp and moist in all the right places, appropriate seasoning, delish. But then there’s the squid (pictured below) which, unfortunately, is my choice. Apart from looking like a car crash, this pitiful plateful of soggy-batter tattered shoe leather tastes hideous. It’s supposed to be chilli and lime flavoured, but it just tastes acridly peppery and unpleasantly tart. The squid is thick and hard to chew. There is too much fish sauce in the dip, making it overly salty. Even the parsley garnish is wilted, as if embarrassed to accompany such a travesty. I can’t stomach it, and console myself by finishing off G’s chippies which are quite yum.

In addition, my still-full plate is not queried when the waiter clears, a sign to me that they couldn’t care less once the food has been sold onto the table. If there is a next time I’ll go for the steak like a rool woman would have. Ah, spit.

In … The Woolloomooloo Bay Hotel
Level 1, 2 Bourke St (Cnr Cowper Wharf Rd)
Woolloomooloo 2011 NSW
Phone: (02) 9357 1177

Open Lunch and Dinner 7 days


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Steakhouse was roooooly goooood...

From the Burgerbloke..

11:27 PM  
Blogger Reb said...

yeah - cool place, nice view, let's hope the food lives up to it next time, Burgie!

8:23 AM  

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