Monday, 13 October 2014

LP's Quality Meats, Chippendale - 4 Oct 2014

Carnivores, rejoice! 

Luke Powell (ex-head chef at Tetsuya's, ex-Mary's and ex-Mugaritz in Spain) has opened his first restaurant, smokehouse and bar, LP's Quality Meats (no it's not a butcher, although it does sound like one). Located in the back streets of Chippendale around the corner from another hot new restaurant, Ester, LP's Quality Meats has the feel of an American saloon and an European style beer house with long communal tables set in a former warehouse. It's an understated space, it's casual and the music is loud here. The atmosphere is jovial, probably from the intoxicating smell of meat and smoke!

The bar area
My (vegetarian) wife and I decided to organise a catch-up (or a "meat-up" if you will) with 3 other carnivores before Cantopop Alan Tam and Hacken Lee concert last Saturday night.

LP's Quality Meats are now accepting reservations for groups of 4 or more at 2 seating times 6pm or 8pm (before they were only taking limited bookings for groups of 8 or more; other guests catered for on a walk-in basis). LP's is also open only for dinner and not for lunch or Sundays. With this in mind, we secured a 6pm booking but arrived earlier for drinks as the bar opens from 5pm.

The open kitchen
There is an open kitchen at LP's (I love open kitchens!), which gives diners a good view of Luke Powell carving up all those big chunks of meat. 

The pride of the kitchen is, of course, the Southern Pride wood smoker shipped over from Texas. The meats are cooked low (at below 100 degrees) and slow (for hours) so the meats come out all smoky, tender and most importantly, delicious.

The menu
The menu at LP's is short and focused with a selection of house-made cured and cold meats, smoked fish, and smoked meats. Basically, the menu makes extensive use of the same tried and tested combination of salt and smoke. The menu also changes frequently to keep us coming back for more.  

There are vegetables too to go with your meats. Like actual vegetables. There's no hot chips or coleslaw. There are definitely enough vegetables here to feed a vegetarian, but that's not where LP's is at. If you go, go for the MEAT!

There are also a couple of desserts. And do check with the waitstaff to see if there are any specials for the night. 

Schmaltz, white anchovy toast ($5 each)
The cured and cold meats are available from 5pm so we decided to order a bar snack to whet our appetites. This bite sized treat consisted of a salty, slimy white anchovy with a  creamy schamltz spread (whipped chicken fat), served on crispy toast. I love anchovies so these went down a treat for me.

Then a silver tray of glorious meats (i.e. the main event) arrived at our table! We ordered the half duck ($38), beef short rib ($38), and the lamb belly stuffed with Merguez ($26). There was also chicken, maple syrup pork hock and Linguica sausage on the menu, but these, whilst tempting, have to wait for another day!

The smoked meats come with 3 different sauces: mustard, chilli and aioli. But in truth, all the meats were tasty enough to enjoy on their own. 

Half duck ($38)
The duck was smoked with cherry wood, which imparted a sweet, mild smoky flavour into the duck. The meat was wonderfully moist, succulent (except for the breast) and with crispy skin. Delicious!  

Beef short rib ($38)
The best of the smoked meats that we tried and an absolute must-order at LP's is the beef short rib! This short rib is cooked for 12 hours and tasted ridiculously good. It's by far the smokiest of the meats and the meat is so tender and juicy that the meat just slides right off the bone. The exterior was wonderfully charred and crispy. And fat equals flavour, and this bad boy has loads of it. This might seem like a huge rib, but it was gone in no time with 4 hungry carnivores fighting over it.

Lamb belly stuffed with merguez ($26)
Meat on meat? Yes please! The lamb belly was stuffed with a North African merguez sausage and smoked at 100 degrees for six hours. The lamb belly was smoky, gamey, fatty and succulent with crispy skin. The merguez sausage was coarse and nicely spiced with cumin. Amazing! 

Bread ($2)
At $2 a roll, the bread is soft and fluffy. I was using the bread to mop up the aioli sauce mostly. So good! 

Pickles ($10)
We ordered a bowl of pickles, which had a good amount of sourness to cleanse the palates when eating meats.

Mashed potato with Gravy ($10)
Mashed potato and gravy anywhere near Luke Powell's kitchens, as anyone who has been to Mary's will know, is a must-order! This mash potato so creamy, buttery, and smooth. And the gravy (served in a separate bowl so the vegetarian doesn't miss out on the mash), which is made from all the dripping meat juices, was super, super tasty.

Kale with chickpeas ($12)
The best of the vegetable sides (not including the mash) was the kale with chickpeas. This crispy salad consisted of deep-fried chickpeas and kale leaves in a slightly sweet dressing.

Curried cauliflower with raisins & radish ($12)
I was expecting the curried cauliflower to be a rich, comforting dish. Instead, the cauliflower came fresh, pickled and with curry spices like cumin and tumeric. There were also raisins and radish.  

Saint Tropeze ($12)
The saint tropeze was a special dessert for the night, consisting of a sourdough brioche filled with creme patissiere and mascarpone. The brioche was so soft and fluffy and the cream filling incredibly moreish. It was quite large though, so it's best shared between two people.  

Coconut sorbet & watermelon granita ($10)
The coconut sorbet and watermelon granita is the lighter option for desserts. The watermelon granita was refreshing but quite mild in flavour, especially when eaten with the coconut sorbet, which was nice and creamy.

Pouding chomuer ($12)
The pouding chômuer is the dessert that everybody seems to be ordering at LP's and for good reason. Loosley meaning "poor man's pudding" in French, this is a dessert that was invented in Quebec.  It consists of an overnight pancake batter, which is then baked with maple syrup and cream, which yields a warm, rich pudding that turns outs sweet, caramelly and addictive. A scoop of vanilla ice cream is usually served on top but we asked for ours to be served separately because I prefer my ice cream to not be melted.

And don't forget to pick up your LP's merchandise before you leave!
LP's Quality Meats, for mind, is dishing out some of the best BBQ meat that I've come across in Sydney. It's a must-visit for all meat lovers out there. I can't wait for my next visit and so if you could excuse me, I’m falling into a meat coma now!

Highlight: That beef short rib!
Lowlight: The music is loud, which makes it difficult for everyone at the table to hear the wait staff.  
Overall: LP's Quality Meats is all about the same tried and tested combination of meat, salt and smoke, a real winner! Check it out whilst it's hot! 7.5/10 (Great)

LP's Quality Meats
Address: Suite 1, 16 Chippen St, Chippendale NSW
Contact no: (02) 8399 0929
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday - Bar menu from 5pm; Dinner from 6pm -11pm
Reservations: Accepted for groups of 4 or more at 2 seating times; 6pm or 8.00pm.

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