Last night marked the break in our drought from dining out at a proper restaurant. It feels like a long, long time since we've ventured out to somewhere more upmarket than the local Asian/Indian eatery. To me, dining out isn't just about the food but about the extravagance; getting dressed up, ordering fancy drinks with descriptions I don't entirely understand, ordering way too much food in multiple courses, with sides on the side (even if your meal already comes with sides). Because most of these elements are clearly a luxury, we toned down to keep the bank balance happy but decided to splurge as a celebration for some good news.
We made a booking later on in the evening and got there later again (bus troubles) but the restaurant was still buzzing with activity. I suppose late night dinner on a Friday is nothing out of the ordinary. It was our first time visiting the Blackbird venue and we didn't expect to see bouncers out the front. I can only suppose their presence is more for the bar section of Blackbird, which we were relieved to find was a separate area to the restaurant. Why relieved? Do you realise how loud a Friday evening drinks crowd in the CBD is? I wouldn't have been able to hear myself think let alone enjoy my meal. Luckily, the restaurant was lively but not so overbearing
The decor is quite funky with some quaint lighting choices, the side windows are lined by plush velvet booths in bright reds and blues. We were parked at one of the tables in the centre of the restaurant and I noted that our chairs were really comfy yet supportive. I must be getting really old and flimsy to be impressed with such details.
I dived right into the drinks menu once we were seated. There was an impressive list of cocktails that spanned across a few pages. I took the time to read through the descriptions across each 'class' of cocktails and was interested to learn a bit about the booze history that inspired the mixes.
Kiwi cooler and Asahi
After much deliberation, I settled for the kiwi cooler and Marc went for an Asahi beer. The cocktail was just what I wanted. It was loaded with kiwi pulp that was as much for decoration as flavour. I was reminded of a mojito because this drink was similarly light, refreshing and not too sweet.
Bread rolls with mushroom butter
Some complimentary bread rolls were brought out to sooth our tummies. There was multigrain and sourdough to choose from, both toasty warm from the oven.
Close-up of mushroom butter
What I couldn't get enough of was the mushroom whipped butter on the side. Seriously, this stuff is magical.
Seafood platter for two
We started our feast with an order of a seafood platter. There was a miscomprehension of the platter options where Marc and I thought we had to pick oyster platter vs prawn platter vs bug platter etc. As it turns out, each platter contains a number of every type of seafood, with that number increasing depending on the platter you go for. This all seems very obvious in hindsight. I traded my scallop with Marc for an extra oyster (I'm not a huge fan of raw scallops). Everything was sweet, fresh, juicy and delicious. The seafood sauce was fantastic too; not too creamy and not too tart. It was just the right quantity/variety for a starter although if I had nothing but a giant platter of this seafood, I would have been set for the evening too.
For our mains, we decided on a steak each, plus a couple of sides. Once these were brought out, we could immediately see that this was way too much food but as I mentioned earlier, this is part of the delight in having a special meal out.
Kobe cuisine wagyu sirloin with caramelized red onion sauce
My wagyu was cooked to a perfect medium rare. The steak was as tender, melty and aromatically fatty as I could have hoped for. There was the odd sinewy bite but overall it was pretty good. I thought the red onion sauce was adequate on its own but the mustard really picked up the flavours. I guess because wagyu is so rich, the pepperiness of mustard is perfect for cutting through that.
Cut section of wagyu
I wasn't able to catch the types of mustards provided but Marc and I both liked the grey one best. It looked unappetising but tasted great. There was also a bitter leaf salad that came with our steak. On any other occasion I would have welcomed a salad like this but we literally had too many other things to eat so I left most of mine alone. Marc isn't a fan of vinegary salad dressings so he didn't like the salad here. He still ate his though...
O'Conner's black angus club steak
I was so overwhelmed with food that I didn't bother trying any of Marc's club steak. His cut was our waiter's favourite from the menu and judging by the way Marc demolished every bite, I'd say he liked it just as much. He ordered his steak medium and I could see that it was also cooked on point.
Shoestring fries with lemon myrtle aioli, green beans with bacon and shallot dressing
The bowl of fries was enormous. This was a nice, unexpected surprise because, let's be honest, most restaurants (that aren't pubs or cafes) don't provide such generous portions of sides. I felt we did very well powering through 3/4 of this bowl. The fries were thin, crunchy and well-seasoned with a delicious creamy dip. I ate these by the handful.
Marc chose the green beans because whilst he doesn't like beans at home, he loves how they're cooked at these kinds of restaurants. The beans were still green with a nice bite. They were mildly flavoured by the bacon bits.
We definitely enjoyed our meal at Blackbird. The location and atmosphere is top notch but the prices are very acceptable. Better again, the servings are big and the quality isn't compromised one bit. We enjoyed everything we ate and if I had room for dessert, I would have definitely tried some.