Two weeks ago on a certain evening, it was all about steaks, birthday cake, saturday-night-quality service and even a bit of 'sexy time'. The location of choice was at Stacks, a Mediterranean Tavern at the new Darling Quarter precinct of Darling Harbour.
In case you were wondering, when I said sexy time, I meant this lovely jug of cocktail :P
Sexy Time ($28 for 1 Litre) is a sweet concoction of Smirnoff Vodka and Teichenne Peach Schnapps built with fresh orange juice, cranberry juice and fresh orange chunks. Simply too sexy to irresist. (Both description and actual taste wise)
I decided to go for the 300gm Scotch Fillet ($33) for the night and unfortunately, it wasn't so great. The meat was a little too gristly and chewy for me. Nevertheless, I liked the red wine jus and spinach that came along with all the cuts of meat.
Fries ($8) with aioli and Mash ($8) as sides for the table to share!
M's 350gm Rib Eye ($33) definitely looked its part in terms of food-porn aesthetics. However M had complained about the hints of charcoal-burnt aftertaste that lingered after each bite. Perhaps the grill needs a bit of a clean?
C ordered the same Rib Eye as M and he seemed content with his steak but I don't think I had asked him for a proper critique...:P Then again, I don't recall C complaining much about his food much.
D & E decided to shine from the crowd that night and cook their own steaks. Ignoring everyone's stares of disapproval and attempts to persuade otherwise, D & E jotted off to the massive grills with looks of confidence and anticipation. We were all skeptical of their cooking skills yet also excited to see what they would come up with!
Below is E's 350gm Rib Eye ($25) with a baked potato I believe. E praised the quality of the meat but was unimpressed by the lack of sauce and the blandness of the potato.
I remember that E, upon having a bite of M's steak, agreed it was not worth cooking his own. D, on the other hand, was adamant about the wonders of his personally cooked masterpiece and totally convinced that it was a bargain.
Below is E's steak cut up: not the most appealing photo but hey, at least we know he got medium rare right!
Ok, enough with the steaks. N ordered the Twice Cooked Lamb Shoulder ($22), which was slowly braised and oven roasted with Confit of Garlic, Tomato and Rosemary jus. The presentation of the lamb looked amazing! Even tempting for a non-lamb eater like me.
My lovely girlfriends S, A & J steered clear from the Steak scene and ordered some crowd-pleasing dishes to share together. Thank you S for snapping these for me! After dinner, they had wonderful things to say about their choices, which made me regret ordering the steak and not joining in on their sharing party.
Look how cheesy and delicious that Chilli Prawn Pizza ($18) looks.
The Byron Bay Pork Belly ($29) with Sauce Soubise, Dirty Granny Cider and Roasted Apple. Yummmm...Why did I not snag a bite of this on the night?!
M was salivating upon hearing S A J had ordered the Twice Baked Cheese Souffle ($17) with Gruyere Cheese, Cherry Tomatoes and Champagne Veloute. Yeh, not too sure about this one as I can't handle really creamy, cheesy and rich flavours but they seemed to have loved it.
There were quite a few of us that night and so I didn't get to take a photo of everyone's food. Anyways, as it was N's birthday, a cake was most definitely invovled. However, Stacks apparently charges a per-person fee for bringing your own cake and so we decided to order in-house.
The Tiramisu (I think was around $40-50) actually tasted quite yummy but some had disliked its strong coffee-soaked flavours.
On the whole, I probably wouldn't come back for the steaks because I've had better for less the price. Also, service that night was quite poor due to the chaotic nature of Saturday nights and an issue of understaffing perhaps? Nevertheless, the atmosphere here is great at night with its abundant seating options, both indoor and outdoor and the constant playing of upbeat music. Also, I guess it's pretty cool to have the option of cooking your own steak but I'm probably not brave enough to attempt that any time soon! :P
P.S. HAPPY BIRTHDAY N! Hope you had a good night :D
Stacks Taverna & Bar
Shop 24-27, Darling Quarter
1-25 Harbour Sreet
Darling Harbour NSW 2000