With Sydney’s recent influx of brasseries demanding marathon mealtimes, it’s welcome news that the Liquid & Larder crew (Bistecca, The Gidley, The Rover) will be keeping things snappy at its CBD steakhouse Alfie’s, which opens in September.
“Essentially, we want people to have the flavour of a Bistecca steak but at speed,” executive chef Pip Pratt tells Broadsheet. “At Flat Iron in London, you can go in and get a steak within about three minutes – something ridiculously fast. We don't want to go near that, [but] we want you to be able to get in, get fed and be out the door within the hour.”
A new on-site butchery and ageing facility will supply all three of the group’s steakhouses. “With less meat prep being done on-site [at Bistecca and The Gidley], we can focus our attention on the finer details,” says Pratt. “Everyone’s happy.”
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The flame grilling at Alfie’s won’t be on show as it is at Bistecca, but windows through to the kitchen will give diners a glimpse of the action. And instead of classic parallel charred stripes on each steak, there’ll be a crisscross grid. “We’ve designed a grill to have the most surface-area contact against the steak,” Pratt explains. “A lot of the flavour comes from that creation of a crust.”
Focusing on the sirloin was a decision about sustainability as much as flavour. When a whole short loin from NSW’s Riverina region is procured, there are a few kilos of pure, delicious sirloin between The Gidley’s signature T-bone and Bistecca’s rib eye that deserve attention.
How will the kitchen team meet its deadlines without skimping on quality? Alfie’s sirloin is sliced thinner, and it’s only for one. Decide how you’d like it cooked, pick from an array of sides, and it’ll be on the table in 15 minutes.
“[We want people] to understand that they can come in for a quick one between meetings or before they go home, and they don’t have to drop $150,” says Pratt. “You’ll be in and fed with a couple of sides and a drink or two for around $70. You can go cheap or all in.”
The drinks list will be helmed by group bar manager Alex Gondzioulis, an award-winning bartender and finalist in this year’s World Class Bartender of the Year Australia. Expect a winning cocktail list that's tipped to include Sydney's coldest martini.
Alfie’s street-level interiors, which will channel London’s East End grunge, are being brought to life by Darlinghurst designer Tom Mark Henry. “The area is pretty brutally concrete,” Pratt says. “We want to keep up with the city, the fast-paced, concrete, urban feel.”
Alfie’s will open on Bligh Street in the CBD in September 2023.