A MOOVING FEAST
This Brisbane city restaurant’s beefed-up offering proves a winner for steak lovers
Is Brisbane the beef steak capital of the world? Probably. I say this sincerely after years of searching for the best steak. My steak odyssey started on my first overseas holiday in 1969 and has continued through the UK, Europe, the US and much of Asia and the Pacific.
On my journeys around the globe, beef became my fascination.
I confess, I even judged entire towns by the quality of the beef they slapped on the plate. I didn’t give a hoot whether it was Milan or Mungallala, Paris or Paraburdoo.
The meat was never as “meaty” abroad and, invariably, I couldn’t wait to get home to the joyful, visceral wallop of a rib eye (on the bone, preferably) at the Regatta or The Breakfast Creek.
My obsession is, of course, Queensland’s obsession. There were 27 cattle breeds exhibited at the Ekka. The stud beef champion sold for $45,000.
My bias towards Aussie beef was confirmed when a dear friend visiting from South Australia spontaneously suggested we go to Moo Moo The Wine Bar and Grill, in the historic Port Office building, next door to the Stamford Plaza Hotel, in Brisbane city.
As I made my way past the bronze bull at the entrance of the elegant old building, I suddenly had a kind of culinary epiphany.
I felt I may have been entering the loveliest steakhouse of them all.
She had the 100 per cent full-blood wagyu “flat iron” ($69). I had the F1 wagyu rump cap ($59). We slurped a dozen Pacific oysters ($39) that were plump, briny and indubitably of the ocean, but mere foreplay for the carnivorous carnival ahead.
My rump was beautifully seared on the outside and tender, bloody and full of flavour within. It was the Kobe Cuisine brand, the cow finished at AACO’s Goonoo feedlot, in central Queensland. From the faint, burnt caramel flavour, I’m guessing the cattle were fed molasses with their grain.
My friend declared her Kobe wagyu with an astonishing marble score of nine the best steak she had eaten.
The acid in the lovely heirloom tomatoes ($9) cut through the waxy beef, she said.
We also shared a plate of Dutch carrots ($9) dressed with yoghurt and dill pollen. The carrots, alas, were almost raw – the only blemish on the entire meal.
Moo Moo offers 16 specialty cuts of beef from a $39 sirloin to a $135 (for two) spice-rubbed 1kg wagyu rump cap, oven-roasted and carved at the table.
Right now, the restaurant has a two-course business lunch special for $45.
Moo Moo has it all, including discreet balcony tables, private booths and a handsome dining room flanked by a floor-to-ceiling wine cellar.
If there was anything to upstage the beef, perhaps it was our wine. My friend opened a bottle of Wynns Coonawarra Estate Michael Shiraz 2012, a most opulent red to challenge the lovely beef.
Rather than order a single pudding, we shared a tasting plate that showcased almost all of them – a banana brulee, a strawberry-espresso sorbet, chocolate and honeycomb “bark” and a pineapple upside-down cake. Top marks to the kitchen for a perfect finish.
Steak out: The F1 wagyu rump cap at Moo Moo was full of flavour, but the Dutch carrots were almost raw. Pictures: Mark Cranitch