Harbourside Shopping Centre
There is something bizarre about parking your car in a multi-level car park, walking through the blaring halogen lights of a Mirvac shopping centre, past souvenir stores and odd boutiques, to get to an actual ‘sit-down’ restaurant. It just feels like you should be queuing for popcorn and choc-tops, instead of behemoth steaks and dinosaur ribs. But I figured, ‘It’s Hurricane’s! It’s gotta be worth the hype.’ I have been to the Bondi restaurant a few times, and had some not too shabby takeaway from there as well, so when Hurricane’s Darling Harbour was picked for our next ‘Dinner Club’, I was keen.
We arrived at 7:30 to a throng of people waiting outside (at least 30 I’d say) – I do find it odd that you have to queue to get in, even with a booking (doesn’t that defeat the purpose of making said booking?). We had a 10 minute wait for our table, which was ok, we were a party of 18, arrangements had to be made. The smell of chargrilled meats and barbecue sauce was all too enticing, not to mention the impressive array of interesting spirits behind the bar! We were fine to wait, and take in what was about to happen.
We were seated on the balcony, with a not too shabby view of Darling Harbour. All 18 of us eyed the 14 or so chairs that were set up, and knew we were in for a squishy night. Seats were added, an extra table was promised, drinks were served and menus studied. The table never came, the drinks did their job and the menu excited! As I decided between more ribs than I’ve ever eaten in my life, or a steak the size of my face, I supped a gorgeous concoction that under-promised and over-delivered: The Rose Blossom Martini. A combination of vanilla vodka, Pimms, rosewater and a splash of red grapefruit juice, it was simply delicious. It is definitely one I will be making when the summer months roll around. But I am a complete sucker for anything with rosewater – the fact that it was Martini strength was merely a bonus.
The menu features all your classic steaks, in various sizes. From the baby sized 200g short cut steak, to the 350g rib eye… all the way to The Goliath: 1 kilogram of T-bone steak in all it’s calorific glory! Hurricane’s are known for their ribs, in pork, beef and lamb (full or half racks) and that seemed to be the most popular order of the night. Though a few of our party were game for a couple of the combos: short cut steak and a half rack of ribs, or half a chicken (no joke) and a half rack of ribs. The menu also features a selection of burgers (which, based on past visits, I can more than vouch for), lamb cutlets, a few seafood items and even fewer vegetarian options. They also offer boerewors as a shout out to the chain’s South African heritage.
Rump is my absolute favourite cut for a really good steak, so I went with the 350g option with pepper sauce and a baked potato. As mammoth plates of meat and carbs rained down on our table I must say I noticed the absence of anything green. I’m by no means a girl that cries without salad, but I honestly missed it. And I feel that if you’re forking out anywhere between $30-$56 for a steak, a complimentary bowl of vegies or salad wouldn’t go astray. It was cheeky enough asking for us to fork out for sauce on our steak, but charging $17 for a mixed salad is a little nuts I think.
But the evening was not about vegies. My rump arrived, with a pot of sauce, a foil adorned potato that wouldn’t have fit in my sizeable handbag and a pot of sour cream that must have had a Napoleonic complex. My Queensland beef was ordered rare, but came more on the medium rare side of things. This made me glad I’d requested it rare in the first place, which isn’t something I expect to be saying at an upmarket grill. It was a beautiful piece of rump though, very tender and the sauce was that perfect balance of peppery heat and soothing creaminess. One thing I didn’t enjoy though was the marinade on the steak. I’ve had this problem at other South African inspired steak houses as well, so it’s my fault, I should have said something. All their steaks come pre-marinated in a sweet, almost barbecue style glaze. I find that detracts from the real flavour of the meat and certainly doesn’t pair well with your optional sauce. But hey-ho, it was enjoyable nonetheless. I ate about a third of my perfectly fluffy baked potato and then had to call it a night. My dining colleague did offer me one of his lamb ribs though – how could a girl say no? And it was simply delicious! Talk about massive food envy.
The wine list was actually pretty impressive, though ridiculously over-priced (but what else is new?). It wasn’t a ‘wine’ evening though, and I was on to a winner with my martinis. After 2 hours of battling with our inner carnivore, the bibs came off, the fingers were licked and the bill was settled. Boys left men, women left…well, men too.
All in all I think Hurricane’s is a good night out. The service was decent, especially given our large group (well, except for the forgotten extra table). The food is what it is – MEAT! I don’t know if I’d be ordering a steak from them again, but the ribs and burgers are out of this world. The décor is inner city chic, with funky fire features dotted around the place. And while the location is convenient and central, I just don’t think it has the same vibe as the flagship in Bondi. There’s something magical about walking out on to Roscoe Street, the smell of the Pacific Ocean and the knowledge that the Bondi Hotel is only feet away. But give Hurricanes a go, it’s certainly an experience.
Overall rating: 3/5
How do you take your steak? Let us know! email@example.com