17 Feb MPD Steak Kitchen, Berwick
The entrance hallway is dark. The flames beckon. Welcome to MPD Steak Kitchen. Named after the Meatpacking District in New York City, this is high-end steak house is from the family behind Zagame’s and is positioned right next door, but wander in, and you’ll find that they’re very different venues.
The dark and moody two-storey restaurant oozes class, from the chairs and leather booths, fittings, and decorative pieces to the lacquered timber floors. There’s been much attention to detail, and it seems no expense has been spared.
Sommelier Banjo Harris-Plane (Bar Liberty and ex-Attica) has his wine picks stored in a glass-encased climate controlled cellar, suspended from the second level. Executive chef Chris Bonello (ex-Vue De Monde) has designed the menu, which is prepared in an open kitchen equipped with a custom 3-metre wood-fired grill brought in from the US. It’s not just about steak here. Top notch produce is procured from the likes of David Blackmore, Flinders Island lamb and Vic’s Quality Meat.
We participate in a Chef’s Menu today and start off with some drinks. A large variety of cocktails are available, and all those tried tonight are very good. The most visually spectacular and entertaining is the MPD Espresso Martini, a mix of 666 Autumn Butter Vodka, Double Drip coffee liqueur, Little Drippa cold-dripped coffee and brown vanilla sugar syrup. The cocktail is crowned by a layer of gingerbread ice cream, made using liquid nitrogen before our very eyes.
A selection of starters kicks things off on the food side of things. There are chickpea fries, which are so soft on the inside they are almost mistaken for cheese, puffy shards of pork crackling topped with pear chutney, lavosh crackers dobbed with a punchy and salty olive tapenade and crumbled Persian feta, and Moonlight oysters with elderflower granita and finger lime. MPD’s popcorn chicken comes uncased in a mixture containing oats. It’s a rustic and crunchy texture that’s enjoyed with spiced mayo. They disappear in no time.
There’s a delicate course of tuna, apple, yuzu, cucumber and wasabi to follow. A very zingy and refreshing dish. Up next is one that contrasts with the lighter seafood plate. We’re presented with a crispy duck terrine with bacon sauce, frisee, and a pickled quail egg coated in a parsley crumb. The salty edge of the tasty bacon sauce and the tender, well-seasoned duck is rounded off by the creamy quail egg.
Crayfish risotto is adorned by a single Port Arlington mussel. Cooked using a rich bisque, the rice grains are perfectly cooked to al dente, and is accompanied by tender chunks of crayfish. A little salty, but very flavoursome.
Of course, steak must be had at a steak house. After cleansing our palates with a champagne and green apple sorbet, we tuck in to a grain-fed Rangers Valley hanger steak with red wine jus. The bitterness of the kohlrabi and radish salad cuts through some of the richness of the medium-rare steak, which is tender, juicy, and slightly charred. The beef is handled very well.
We finish with sweets. The broken white chocolate tart is a deconstructed dessert: strawberry and raspberry sorbet is topped by a honeycomb-shaped crisp, the spurts of lemon cream balancing the sweetness of the fruity frozen treat. Finally, we share a plate of Chocolate and Cherries, a dessert of chocolate mousse glazed with Valrhona chocolate, portions of rich chocolate brownies topped with aero sponge, and a drizzling of chocolate sauce, which is poured out at the table. They’re both quite different desserts, but are equally enjoyable.
Though some dishes need some tweaking, the food and drink offerings at MPD Steak Kitchen are solid, and the lavish interior brings a taste of glamour to the outer suburbs.
Disclaimer: I was invited to MPD Steak Kitchen as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own, and are based on my experience at the time
MPD Steak Kitchen also features in the 2016/2017 Entertainment Book. You can also take advantage of their 25% discount offer by buying a membership. 20% of every membership sold through this link will contribute to fighting child poverty with Compassion Australia!
MPD Steak Kitchen
288 Clyde Rd
Berwick, VIC, 3806
(03) 9702 0758