Darling Harbour and Old Pasedena now have something in common. Meat. Meat District Co., to be precise: a two-week old addition with a big fat focus on ribs, burgers and waterfront views. And while the Harbour many love to hate may not have the same glam-fest reputation of LA, the guys behind Meat District Co. have done well to land themselves this location and we're pretty certain they'll pull in the crowds even in Sydney's saturated bun-and-patty market.
Said guys are brothers Coco and Gary Simonian, owners of Platinum Restaurant Group, who saw the opportunity to bring their acclaimed-in-the-States meat emporium to our shores and pounced. They also brought in designers DS17 to transform the space into a large, airy and open yet rustic-look restaurant split over two levels. The spiral staircase is pretty cute, and if you can nab a table upstairs facing the water you'll definitely be set for an hour or two. There's also a fair amount of al fresco dining too, which in this city is never a bad thing.
Food-wise, even if we hadn't given it away, we're sure you'll guess from the name that if your dining habits swing more towards veg/vegan you'll probably avoid this place like the plague (the meat cleaver-shaped menu adding insult to injury). Luckily for us, we love our meat (and the menu shape), so it was fun to see a 10-strong selection of burgers ranging from the traditional cheese ($12), to brie and cranberry (and beef patty, of course, $14), the more health-conscious grilled chicken ($13, fried chicken also available at $14) and even a truffle burger ($14). With mince supplied from a boutique Double Bay butcher, each one we sampled was juicy and fulfilling but definitely more on the mainstream side than some of this city's more independent boutique options.
If you're in the market for less carbs and more protein, both the pork ($31 for half, $41 for full) and beef ribs ($29 for half, $39 for full) are good, if a little exy, choices. Those who don't want to get fingers and phone screens covered in sauce, however, can opt for something from the grill section. Oh, and if you're on the daring side, the roasted bone marrow ($8.50) — super slimy, but dripping with garlic, parsley, chilli and mustard seeds — slips down nicely.
All in all, while spoiled-for-choice Sydneysiders might not go as mad for Meat District Co. as our friends in the States, with a philosophy of paddock to plate, this already bustling harbourside diner understands its Australian market and is worth a visit if you're in the area.