Argyle Smokehouse & Butchery, The Cannery, Rosebery Review

Dinner with a butcher!

Yes you heard right. It is indeed dinner not only with a butcher, but at a butchery and the first of its kind to open in Australia. 

The brainchild of chef Jonathan Glover from the hugely successful The Butchers Club in Hong Kong, Singapore, China and Bali; having created an empire of over 20 restaurants, he has teamed up with Executive Chef and Partner Ryan Crawford, and the Argyle Meats empire to produce a one stop shop. Think butchery, personalised dry ageing rooms, a traditional on-site smokehouse, classes and a Chef’s Table.

An interactive experience, by day it is a sophisticated looking wholesale butchers shop (online store included) with its grass fed beef and lamb sourced from their own family farms, with a casual lunch menu that serves up artisanal Texas style BBQ platters, its signature dish; Brisket Burnt Ends roll and the crispy tangy, meaty offerings topped with pickled red onion on a potato bun. 

But by night, the tables are turned, literally; from the roof, a long wooden table drops, and that’s when the dried meat and seafood fest known as The Chef’s Table begins, which is why we are here tonight. Groups of private diners from anywhere up to 16 people can immerse themselves in a five course meal, where a slab of custom dry aged beef is the star of the show. The only requirement is to book 21 days in advance so the aged beef can be dried in time.

Our soiree begins with the decadence of The Butchers Board; a selection of smokehouse charcuterie including duck and shiraz pate, chicken pate (so soft it literally melts in my mouth), smoked brisket burnt ends and chicken and pistaccio terrine. Following this is the sensational and one of a kind Seafood Platter where an elegant trough like icebox slides onto the table decked out with the freshest Sydney Rock Oysters, marinated Cloudy Bay Diamond Clams with olive oil and spices, seared Spencer Gulf Hiramasa Kingfish and Mount Cook Alpine Salmon Tartare dressed in black truffle and lemon. But that’s just the cold part. Now for the hot servings, known as Served Piping Hot: seared scallops with pea and ham puree sprinkled with house smoked crispy bacon, and big pots of classic steamed Kinkawooka Mussels in Chablis, but oh…wait for this one: freshly baked baguettes basted with beef dripping and dusted with dry aged beef salt. Yes beef salt. It’s a by product of the dry ageing process and needs to be bottled and sold separately it is that superb. Dip it in the mussel gravy and you are on your way. 

Now for The Argyle Big Beef Experience – Steakhouse style, where the 30-45 days custom dry aged to perfection Argyle Black Angus Ribeye of Beef is served. After days of manipulating temperatures and one in which 30% of the meat is blackened and lost (enter Burnt Ends), we are served two types: the Argyle Black Angus Ribeye and the extra thick cut Prime Steak with signature dry rub spice grilled on lava rocks.

The sides at the Argyle Smokehouse Butchery are no afterthought: another delight, especially for a chip lover like myself, were the bowls of cooked thrice in Duck Fat Hand Cut Steakhouse Chips. 

….and it’s not just the meat these butchers are carving, but homemade New York cheesecake with plums, accompanied by an imported and local artisan cheese board with housemade chutney, fruit and crackers, topped off with cold drip coffee by Cold Drip Co. served over ice with Japanese whiskey and orange rind. 

Not only did we have the Butchery to ourselves as we feasted the night away, we were treated to a mini tour inside the Dry Ageing Rooms which are adjacent to the Chef’s table, visiting the likes of ‘Big Birtha’ who holds up to 300kgs of briskets at time, and sausages dangling from the ceiling (bookmarking my next adventure: sausage classes), ending of course the must-do selfies. Not hard when full of Archie Rose Dry Gin.

If it’s a casual lunch, weekend tastings, a sausage making class, or a feast for gastronomically inclined friends, this is a must-visit. 

*Classes are great for individuals, corporate groups for team building and even for special occasions such as birthdays and hens nights. Other Classes (all include dinner) include: Introduction to Sous Vide Cooker, How to Cook The Perfect Steak, and Nose to Tail Butchery. 

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