Hidden in the underground of the Rocks, between bare brick and sandstone walls, lies a steakhouse with the atmosphere of a speakeasy. With raw timber beams, lighting that appears to be relocated from an old Hollywood film set and luxurious leather chairs, the best place to begin after descending into this den is the bar. Sip on an Old Fashioned ($20), or experiment with something fresh from the new summer menu, and soak it up.
Your transfer to a table will be no less enjoyable. Each marble table is positioned in its own distinct enclave, with low lamps and candles throwing splashes of lighting, so that you feel in possession of your own little corner of the world. Sink into your low leather chair and begin working your way through the menu.
These are difficult decisions you're making and there are a few distractions, particularly the waiters who wander with trolleys of various carnivorous delicacies. One of these is the signature dish, the 4-hour Slow Roast Sher F1 Wagyu Standing Rib (300g for $42, 400g for $56 or 500g for $70). If you are as distracted by this as my partner in crime, you need go no further. Otherwise, your best guide is your waiter, who will take you through your options, advise as to portions and educate you about the appeals of grass-fed versus grain-fed at the same time. I resolve to try the best of both worlds and opt for the Beef Fillet Tasting Plate ($72), with a selection of the Sher F1 Wagyu, Riverine and Tasmanian Wilderness fillet steaks.
This turns out to be a journey worth taking. With steaks as excellent as these, it's hard to choose a favourite. That said, the Standing Rib is undoubtably the highlight of the night, deliciously rich and incredibly tender. The sides ($8 each) also do their job well. The Potato Purée is as gentle an accompaniment as you could hope for, while the Steamed Green Peas, Onion and Mint provide some much needed greenery. We earmark the salad of Local and Italian Cabbage, Serrano Jamon and Poached Egg ($9) for a return visit. A just-as-important essential is a glass of red, and the Cullen 2008 Cab Sav Merlot ($19 per glass) is a well-priced option. While a final course might not seem essential post-steak, dessert chef Brooke Queitzsch's creations, each paired with a dessert wine, are worth squeezing in.
Neither the atmosphere or the excellent food is really a surprise: The Cut comes from excellent stock. John Szangolies' previous offerings include Sake, which sits just above, as well as the Argyle, the Lowenbrau Keller and Sydney's Bavarian Bier Cafes. Hatted chef James Privett is behind the menu, which is perfectly suited to his French-bistro talents. Ultimately, however, what justifies a visit to the Cut is the laid back, full-bellied experience.