The freshest addition to Sydney's steak scene and the crowning jewel of Martin Place's insane $170 million hospo hub at the foot of the Siedler-designed MLC tower, is New Zealand import Botswana Butchery. Adjacent to Sydney's biggest outdoor terrace bar, Cabana Bar, the sprawling 300 seat diner comes complete with a rooftop space for 350 atop two full floors of restaurant space. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows glide into tucked-away niches, meaning the whole venue takes full advantage of warm summer nights with a relaxed indoor-outdoor atmosphere. The entire lush fit-out is complete with velvet wingback chairs, making for a very swish experience indeed.
Given the name, it is unsurprising that the menu at Botswana Butchery is heavy on the meats, however, that doesn't necessarily translate to a full on carnivore-coma. The restrained and skilled hand of head chef, Darren Templeton, takes diners through their paces, starting with ultra-elegant seafood dishes like Wallis Lake oysters topped, naturally, with onyx pearls of osetra caviar. Or perhaps blushing pink slices of hiramasa kingfish paired with batons of pickled daikon is more your speed?
These diaphanous starters give way to slightly more serious eats. Take, for instance, the tare glazed, caramalised ox tongue, served in a single unorthodox thick slab, a rarity on menues that truly allows you to feel the texture of a cut that is too often shaved beyond recognition. Enjoy a frisson of caveman chic with a split shin bone of wood-grilled bone marrow, served with nothing more than a spoon and a garnish of parsley and onion. While this might put off the more squeamish diners, we urge you to give in – it's well worth it.
Dishes are pumped out of the open and enormous kitchen, where a small army of chefs in whites move deftly around one another. The sheer size of their workspace shows just how seriously the Butchery is taking its task.
This dedication is illustrated best when perusing the 13-strong list of almost exclusively beef grill menu. With the exception of a slow-roasted lamb shoulder, so tender it is served with a spoon, the selections range from pasture-raised wagyu to angus sirloin, dry-aged rib eye and a mammoth Rangers Valley tomahawk, big enough to cover a table for a cool $300. But why stop there? This lot are taking their condiments very, very seriously too. Whether you opt for a bone marrow and truffle butter, the trio of house-made mustards, or a thyme and pinot jus, every bite of your steak will be a game changer.
Indeed, the Botswana team are so all-in with their commitment to culinary hedonsim, they've even released a Botswana Gold menu, where you and your closes friends can take over the private gold dining room and feast on a 1.6kg tomahawk steak coated in actual gold leaf. It doesn't add anything by way of flavour, but blinging bragging rights there are aplenty.
You might surprise yourself at the end of all this, saying no to dessert simply isn't an option. Particularly when the sweets come by way of melting Valrhona dark chocolate tartlet with Kirsch preserved Tasmanian cherries, and malted milk ice cream. The bitter chocolate goes particularly well with a drop of late harvest Marlborough riesling, just one of the more than 1,000 wines from New Zealand and Australia that are available. That should keep you busy.
In a space that could rely heavily on geography, pomp, and circumstance alone, with easy access to the CBD crowd, luxurious staging and top-notch service (a triumph in and of itself at the moment), Botswana Butchery could easily rest on its laurels. Pleasingly though, this luxe diner breaks the mould of bringing together all the elements that take a restaurant from good, to great.