More than 17,000 people work in the three tower blocks at Barangaroo, so it’s surprising there aren’t more places to get breakfast. Of the 42 eateries in the precinct, only 10 serve a morning meal. Bel & Brio does a solid all-day trade, while Bourke Street Bakery, Devon, South by Dukes and a handful of others serve tasty, quick breakfasts (and lunches).
“I’m here at 7am; there are people going to work and to morning meetings, I don’t understand why there aren’t more breakfast places,” says Ashleigh Sleiman, a spokesperson for Butcher’s Block, which has just opened in the space once occupied by French restaurant Ete. It’s keen to capture some of that morning foot traffic.
If the name is familiar it’s because for 30 years Butcher’s Block has been serving coffees and bacon and egg rolls to a loyal Wahroonga crowd in Sydney’s north. An investor group took over the space in early January, brought on ex-Quay chef Dan Rudolph to oversee the group and put in place expansion plans, starting with Barangaroo. Two more Sydney locations are slated for this year, one in South Hurstville and another in Parramatta.
Rudolph’s menu has a strong seafood and local produce focus, as well as plenty of meat dishes to honour its roots as a butcher shop. There is lamb shoulder for two and a handful of steaks, including the grass-fed black Angus flat iron, and a Wagyu sirloin. The design has plenty of bottle green, dark timber and hanging pots and pans. The illuminated Butcher’s Block sign is a nice touch.
For breakfast there’s a crab omelette (with chilli masala, apple, celery and herbs), Banoffee waffles (banana, ginger butterscotch sauce, vanilla mascarpone and roasted almonds) and lamb sausages served with bacon, chorizo, eggs and chipotle beans. You might need a nap after.
Moreton Bay bug and pipi spaghettini served in a chilli-laced seafood bisque is a highlight of the lunch and dinner menu.
The wine list is well priced (many are in the $40 range), made up by well-known local names such as Canberra’s Lark Hill and WA’s Vasse Felix, with the odd international contender like a malbec from Argentina to go with your steak.
The Butcher’s Block is on the harbour, with Pyrmont off into the distance. There is outdoor seating and plenty of large windows that slide open to bring the outside into the dining room. We reckon when the weather is warm and there’s a slight breeze, a Butcher’s Mistress (gin, lychee, lime and basil) might be a good thing to order.