Friday, March 12, 2010

Lunch date at Mad Cow

Now that Mr Curious is working in the city again, we have decided to have lunch together once a week for some "us" time.

I am out of loop with what's happening in town - thankfully there are fellow bloggers to the rescue!  I read about the $33 March into Merivale deal on Tasted by Two and asked Mr Curious to pick a restaurant from the list.  Unsurprisingly the carnivore in him went for Mad Cow.

We arrived at 12pm and were promptly sitted.  However, although there were only one other table with guest, we had to wait for over 5 minutes for our menus.

Mad Cow Sydney

I liked the quirky decor but Mr Curious wasn't a fan.

On a side note, I couldn't take my eyes off the impressive moustache from the staff in the photo!

Sadly the wagyu flank steak is no longer on the menu so Mr Curious opted for its replacement - Rangers Valley hanger steak with chimichurri sauce.  I went for the grain fed scotch fillet steak with onion marmalade.  We also ordered the signature beef tartare with shoestring fries to share for entree.

Mad Cow Sydney

The presentation of the beef tartare was very appealing, it was a bit sad to break the egg yolk to mix in with the beef.  The beef had a lovely texture and I liked the hint of spice in the dressing.  I am usually not a fan of capers but the saltiness worked well in this dish.  The shoestring fries were perfect, with a slight crunch on the outside and soggy inside.

Mad Cow Sydney

The scotch fillet steak wasn't much to look at, and it was a thinner cut then I expected, but it was cooked perfectly (I ordered medium rare).  The steak was juicy, but since I have been spoiled by my butcher it didn't wow me.  The onion marmalade was nice but a little bit too sweet for my liking.

Here's an "in progress" shot.  What a lovely pink!

Mad Cow Sydney

Mr Curious and I swapped dishes half way through.

Mad Cow Sydney

I asked Mr Curious which combination of steak and condiments was the best, and he asked me to try them in turn - steak only, with lemon juice, with sauce, then with both juice and sauce.  It was interesting to taste the change in flavours in each combination, and the "with the lot" combo was the best in my opinion.

Another "in progress" shot:

Mr Curious ordered a medium steak and this was certainly not cooked medium.  I was secretly happy because I'm a medium-rare girl, but it was a bit disappointing that a steak house couldn't cook to order.

I was not familiar with chimichurri sauce and I was trying to work out its ingredient by sight, smell and taste but stumbled after the obvious (oil, garlic, chilli, herbs).  I thought I could taste some vinegar but I wasn't sure, turned out I was right.  It had a robust flavour but it didn't overpower the meat, and the lemon juice gave it some zest.  On a whole I enjoyed this dish better.

Turned out that Mr Curious liked the scotch fillet better (I think partially because the hanger steak was undercooked for him).  Good thing that we swapped half way rather than just sampled each other's dishes.

My stomach still had some room so we shared a dessert.  I am a chocoholic so it was an easy choice - hot valhrona chocolate fondant with roast peanut ice cream and honeycomb soil.

Mad Cow Sydney

Look at the chocolate sauce oozing out of the fondant!  It was delicious, although I liked the peanut ice cream even more.  I loved the chewiness of the peanut bits contrasting with the smooth ice cream texture.  I am not big on honeycomb but the small piece I had was nice.

The bill came to $103 which is fairly extravagant for a lunch on a workday but great value for the food we had (the deal came with a glass of wine or a beer).  The service was efficient during the meal but there was a fair wait for the bill (Mr Curious said he would deduct $1 from the tip for every waitstaff who walked passed without picking up the bill folder, I didn't keep count).

We enjoyed our lunch date thoroughly, but to be honest, the meal was just the sideshow.  The company was the best part :-)

Mad Cow @ The Ivy
320 George Street
(02) 9240 3000


  1. Great review! I'm surprised Mad Cow got rid of the wagyu flank, but that hanger steak looks like a hunk of meaty goodness. Love the look of the fondant, I'll have to remember to order it next time I visit.

    PS - The Mad Cow mo' man strikes again! He's the coolest :D

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