A chophouse can be one of two things: somewhere to get a steak and a glass of red, or a place to get your rocks off. Either way, both are filled with red-blooded men looking to spend some dollars
To further confuse the issue, staff at Bligh Street's Chophouse come a little too close for comfort. Fact: at no time during the transaction is it ever OK for the waitperson to sit down at your table and lean into you. Ever. It's worse than watching them spit-polish your cutlery. It looks like it's house policy here, as they're doing it at the next table, too. It's all the more infuriating when one of them sidles up to a couple of fellas at the next table and sits on my handbag.
Dull the pain with something from the huge and very well priced wine list. It's heavy on the Aussie varietals but there's also a perfectly respectable cotes du Rhone for a meagre 37 clams. We'll be back to visit the bar, too – the light sculpture of cow skulls make it look like an artist's impression of a miner's pub in Lightning Ridge, but the cocktail list is all classics and looks well worth a tilt.
Speaking of interiors, the main room is a mix of click-go-the-shears-boys, while curved white metal support beams give it a slightly eating-inside-a-humpback feel.
Pulled beef salad with cabbage and horseradish reads well, but the addition of currants on top of roasted hazelnuts makes it more like a dessert. Better is the scallop ceviche with shavings of fennel and apple and a drizzle of lemon oil. But forget the window dressing: what you want is the guts. The red-hot bleeders. You want the beef. And boy there are a lot to choose from – there's 10 different types of steak, plus our favourite, the double lamb chop.
The meat comes with nought but what's advertised on the menu – sauces like jus or chimichurri are an extra $6.90 (yowza). Order the kipflers and a side of beans for a little protein respite. The double chops are perfectly seasoned, thick and juicy as hell – absolutely great value for under $30 – while a minute steak of wagyu doesn't have the intense mouth feel and flavour you'd expect from a piece of meat with a marble score of nine. That said, they do a good café de Paris butter to top it – put some fries on the side and it's bistro-tastic. The Delmonico we can take or leave: 500g of dry aged meat cooked on the bone it may be, but there's not a lot of flavour there.Did we mention the cutlery? Mini Laguiole cleavers replace steak knives. It's a cool idea, but cleavers are meant to chop, not slice. No fear, there are regular steak knives at the ready.
Desserts play second fiddle to the protein but if you must, try the frozen sour cherry nougat – whipped cream is lightly flavoured with a little rose and tonka bean (a little black wrinkled seed-looking thing that smells like a mix of vanilla, cloves and cinnamon), while dry sour cherries are dotted thoughout, topped with a beehive of pashmak.
Get your beef on and chop some.
25 Bligh St
|Opening hours:||Mon-Fri noon-late, Sat 6pm-late|