In the beautiful Great Dividing Mountain Range in New South Wales, there is a cattle farm known as “Jack’s Creek”. Founded by two brothers David and Phillip Warmoll in 1990, Jack’s Creek is one of the first Australian companies to breed, grow, feed, process and market Wagyu beef. It’s Wagyu are grain fed for 400-450 days to achieve the high marbling that gives the Japanese breed its famous flavour. Last year, Jack’s Creek beat more than 70 producers from 10 nations at the World Steak Challenge to win the title of “World’s Best Steak” for the second straight year.
Teage Ezard started his career in hospitality at the age of 17. His first restaurant, Ezard, was awarded two chef hats in The Age Good Food Guide one year after opening in 1999. Gingerboy, his other restaurant, is a modern Australian adaption of Southeast Asian hawker-style food inspired by his trips to Asia and has become one of Melbourne’s most iconic laneway restaurants. In 2011 Teage expanded to Sydney and opened up Black Bar & Grill in the Star presenting the finest steakhouse cuisine with stunning views of city as a backdrop.
So what happens when two businesses of such calibre decide to collaborate and bring the paddock to plate? A ‘Worlds Best Steak’ tasting night would surely enlighten us.
Following the food philosophy that nothing from the animal is wasted, the menu showcased the versatility of Jack Creek’s produce. As guests took their seats, a piece of beef jerky was already poised on top of a small glass stand in front of each of us. While the lean muscle was dark brown, the marbled fat that penetrated it was of a lighter colour in this thin strip of jerky. At each bite, the different textures of lean muscle and marbled fat could be felt simultaneously. It was this wagyu character that set our beef jerky apart — unlike most jerky which tends to be rubbery and tough, it was unbelievably moist and easy to bite through.
Bone marrow is probably an acquired taste for most people and liquefied bone marrow is certainly not something you see on restaurant menus very often. The bouillon (French for broth) was poured into a small glass fitted into an larger one while white smoke produced by liquid nitrogen cooled the broth down and created the most atmospheric effect. The broth was rich and velvety; the quantity was just right to set the mood for the carnivorous experience ahead.
For anyone who enjoys beef carpaccio or steak tartare, the next course, Steak Sashimi, was a magnificent application of Jack’s Creek premium wagyu. The raw meat was accompanied by a dash of shiso dressing, anchovy mayonnaise, and garnished with watercress, radish, crispy garlic, and smoked croutons. All the freshness and tenderness were naturally present in this dish without interference from cooking or excessive seasoning. And what better way to enjoy this dish than by pairing it with 2015 Philip Shaw “Pink Billy” rose from Orange NSW?
While beef tongue is seen as a delicacy in some Asian and American countries, it’s relatively uncommon in our day-to-day diet. Prepared and cooked properly, it can be very tender and is widely popular in Japanese or Korean BBQ. The tongue we sampled was hardly recognisable as it was diced into tiny cubes. Both the tongue and short rib were rich in flavor and dark in colour, in contrast to the broccolini and smoked potato puree.
With much anticipation we moved onto the star of the evening – the World’s Best Steak Striploin Wagyu MBS 9+, served with creamy spinach and a selection of house made sauces. To truly appreciate the premium quality of such steak, minimal seasoning except for salt was usually recommended and the steak was cooked to medium allowing the fat to melt during the cooking. The first thing that came to mind was the juiciness of the steak derived from the beef’s intense marbling. This wasn’t just from the odd mouthful but throughout the entire piece of meat. A closer look at the centre of the steak showed that the translucent fat content was clearly visible between the pink muscle tissues. It was this high marbling that gave the steak an unusually rich flavor and almost unbeef-like tenderness. I deliberately slowed down and took time to enjoy every single bite of this exceptional steak. One thought went through my mind was how am I going to eat a normal steak after this experience?
It would be very hard to top off such world-class culinary marvel, but the dessert of passionfruit, macadamia financier, and mango sorbet, was certainly a beautiful finale to our tasting.
Kobe beef may be the pinnacle of wagyu production worldwide, but luckily for us in Australia, Jack’s Creek’s wagyu is crowned the crème de la crème in the World’s Steak Challenge. With the talent and craftsmanship of Teage Ezard, you can try it for yourself in Black Bar & Grill from February 22nd.
BLACK Bar & Grill
The Star, Level G
80 Pyrmont St, Pyrmont, Sydney NSW
Phone: (02) 9657 9109
I Ate My Way Through dined as a guest of Jack’s Creek