Monday, August 10, 2009

More Fix St James
111 Elizabeth St
Sydney NSW 2000
Ph : (02) 9232 2767

A steak craving by Sibling1 during her recent visit back to Sydney from the Old Dart resulted in two steak related meals.

First up was a dinner at Fix St James, and second was lunch at Kingsley's Steakhouse.

The location of the first dinner was decided via Twitter after a lot of ruminating over menus and options lead to a public plea for help. Suggestions came immediately from the Twitterati – namely the Chophouse and a tweet from Mr Fix St James himself, Stuart Knox that they did a mean steak. Lo and behold, a couple of days later they were the recipient of Time Out Sydney’s “Best Steak” award!

Perusal of the respective menus by the sibling lead to a post midnight Twitter reservation for dinner.

Unfortunately the lighting there was just a little dim for my little P&S that I had brought along (I’m not quite yet confident enough to drag out the new Canon 450D at every meal, preferring to try to be discreet when I can), so the photos are really quite inadequate for anything other than a general impression. Given that I didn’t end up having steak myself (the only one available on the night was the Cape Grim Scotch Fillet Tagliata), I’ll probably get some better photos at a later point of the Wagyu Flank with Chips & Eschallot Sauce ($29) that I want to try, as well as a better one of the Tagliata.

First up was the Stuffed Zucchini Flowers ($3.50ea), which I’d had on my first visit. Second time around they were still light and crispy. Because my photos were so diabolically bad, here is my photo from my previous meal.

Naturally the sibling, being the one in need of iron, ordered the Cape Grim Scotch Fillet Tagliata ($35).

Whilst I, my interest having been piqued by various Tweets on the dish, went for the Bollito Misto with Mustard Fruits.

I’ll be upfront here and admit to being marginally clueless about precisely what Bollito Misto (“boiled meats”) was, but since having had it, I have done a bit of reading up on the dish.

Bollito Misto hails from the Piedmont/ Piemonte region and is also eaten in Lombardy and Emilia. In fact during my online mini research into the dish, there seemed to be a little occasional regional competition regarding ownership of its origins. With regional variations, at its core it consists of boiled meats (up to seven) such as beef, veal, pork, chicken, tongue, cotechino sausage and sometimes pig’s trotters or even a pig’s head.

The boiled meats are served with a variety of condiments, but the only one required is bagnetto verde (or “bagnèt”), which is similar to salsa verde.

I actually read on one website that if you want to be hardcore about it, you can go the way of seven meats and seven sauces, but this seemed to be an exceptional view.

As this was my first experience with this dish, I admit that I didn’t know quite what to expect taste wise. I have a natural preference for strong tastes, and am conscious that this means that with the passage of time, my tastebuds may have been at risk of being inured to the detriment of more delicate and subtle tastes. A dish such as this is not a natural choice for me, and it really is as simple as this – had I not read repeated tweets about it and been intrigued, I’d not have ordered it. Am I usually this susceptible? No, but I had actually gone to Fix St James expecting to have steak, so it was a spur of the moment thing.

This dish struck me as very much an Autumn/ Winter dish. It was very earthy, and the bagnetto verde made perfect sense as an accompaniment. The chicken was tender to just the right level; I’m not much of a Hainanese Chicken Rice person but the immediate comparison came to mind when I ate the chicken was that it was cooked to what would be the perfect level for Hainanese Chicken. The beef was tender and if you peer carefully at my blurry photo you can see the sausage, which is next to the vegetables. I think that for me, what I liked most about the Bollito Misto was actually the broth, and though I know that one isn’t meant to drink it as a soup, I actually would have quite liked to have had a small bowl of it, as I found it quite moreish.

Segueing back to the Tagliata, I didn’t feel that I could take any more than one slice of the beef from my sister but that small morsel of Cape Grim scotch fillet was pretty tasty, and I wanted some more of it. I quite like that on the Cape Grim website you can read about some of the farmers and even track your beef back to the farmer! The site doesn’t seem to have been updated though, as Fix St James is not listed as a restaurant serving their beef....!

The restaurant was fairly busy during the evening but Stuart took the time out to come over to say hi a few times – thank you Stuart! Unbeknownst to me at the time, he was multitasking with the occasional tweet as well LOL.

We decided that we could fit in some dessert and so it was one Warm Chocolate Pudding ($14) each.

What’s not to like about warm chocolate puddings with the centre oozing chocolate? It came with a small jug of blueberry compote which I somehow neglected to photograph. Neither my sister nor I really used the cream; we found the blueberries more to our tastes because they cut through the richness of the chocolate.

Many thanks to the Stuart and his staff for the lovely evening and congratulations on the Time Out award.

I will return to Fix St James because I want to try the Wagyu Flank, and because I want a Tagliata of mine own.....I have to say that what little I had of the Tagliata it was markedly tastier than the steak I had at Kingsley's but that's for the next blogpost....

Meanwhile, here is the gratuitous watch shot from the evening - the Omega Speedmaster Professional "Snoopy Award".



Simon Food Favourites said...

lucio pizzeria on palmer st do a great warm chocolate cake as well. so did you actually try the steak that was mentioned in Time Out Awards?

The Sydney Tarts said...

The Tagliata is the one that was mentioned and I only managed to sneak one bit of meat from it :) That bit of meat tasted good but need to try the rest of it in conjunction with the meat so will go back for that.