Melbourne Restaurant Reviews: The Very Very Hungry Caterpillar

YES, this is yet another Melbourne food blog!

Moo Moo The Wine Bar + Grill (Gold Coast, QLD)

2685 Gold Coast Hwy
Broadbeach QLD 4218
+61 7 5539 9952
http://www.moomoorestaurant.com

My weekend was full of surprises. Well, okay, only two surprises – but they were nevertheless ones of epic proportions. The first surprise was actually not directed at me. The night before, I decided to act on a whim and book a flight up to Queensland the next morning where my darling Marty lives, taxi it up the Gold Coast Highway and show up at his house just as he woke up. Surprised? You bet he was.

The second surprise was more relevant to me. That is, Gold Coast food can actually be very nice. No, I’m not taking the piss; I’m dead serious. I took the plunge on Saturday afternoon and decided to let Marty take me out for steak at Moo Moo and you know what? The steak I had there was one of the better steaks I’ve had. F0r reals. Okay, so the fact that Moo Moo has won multiple awards, including Queensland’s Best Steak Restaurant and Gold Coast Restaurant of the Year awards, kind of worked in their favour. In addition, our friends have said good things about the restaurant (both the Gold Coast and Brisbane branches) so it wasn’t like we lucked out on a random restaurant. Knowing that we were in good hands, we eagerly arrived at the Broadbeach Walk restaurant after walking along the beach and enjoying the 21-degree winter afternoon (oh man).

The bull of Wall Street? Nah, man. Close enough though.

At night, this place is bopping with wannabe young and beautiful people sipping on cocktails. We, however, knew we weren’t going to have a problem with rocking up at just after 2pm on a Saturday afternoon. The place was dead, except for a few cashed-up bogan families, Gold Coast douche types and Collingwood supporters who were here for the game that evening. Once we stopped eying the size 20 bogan with fake tits at a nearby table, we studied our menus. From a wide range of grass-fed, grain-fed and organic options all sourced from trusted family farms, you can be sure that there is a cut for everyone. Well, except vegetarians but seriously, why even go to Moo Moo’s in the first place if you’re not going to have steak? That said, there are plenty of non-steak options available such as seafoods and pastas. Marty and I decided that we couldn’t really go past The Moo Moo Signature, a rump roast dish that was designed to share ($125 for two people). We were told by our lovely waiter, Elliot, that the Moo Moo Signature was a very popular item on the menu and that we made the right choice. He also added that there would be a 45 minute wait for the rump which was fine with us because it meant more size-20-bolt-on perving time for us.

After pouring us a glass of shiraz each (a glass of 07 Taltarni Pyrenees for Marty ($16) and an 08 Mr Riggs for myself ($22) which we then swapped with each other because I decided that my South Australian shiraz from McLaren Vale was too peppery for my liking and preferred Taltarni which was bigger on the berry notes), Elliot presented our entrées. First, we had Moo Moo’s interpretation of a Peking duck ($23). Not looking out of place in a typical episode of Masterchef, bits of duck breast cubes were rolled in a crunchy brik pastry and accompanied with a salad of cucumber and spring onions, two essential elements in a Peking duck, and garnished with snowpea tendrils and watercress. Sliced red chillies provided limited heat while bits of crispy duck skin created some crunch. Hoisin ‘paint’ was then added to complete the picture – literally.

I’m a lover of PROPER Peking duck so it was no surprise that I found this dish strange to begin with. ‘Pffft, how very Queensland,’ I thought as my Melbourne snottiness came out while spooning bits of duck cubes onto my plate. The more I ate, however, the more I started to like it. It was bold and it was crass, but it was also very tasty – and at the end of the day, that’s really all that matters.

Sadly, I couldn’t muster up that same level of begrudging enthusiasm with the crispy soft shell crab ($24, and it wasn’t even crispy to begin with). Both the crab itself and the supposedly-tempura-like batter was soggy and the meat, tasteless – not even the ponzu mayonnaise dip and lime half could resurrect it. Underneath the crab was a ‘Thai herb salad’ and a couple of betel leaves. I failed to see what made the salad (which wasn’t even a herb one, as it was just a bunch of raw bean shoots, mint and basil leaves thrown together) Thai – all I could taste was lime juice. Fail, farken fail. Just like the incident at the chemist earlier that afternoon which resulted in my idiot boyfriend ending up on the floor, along with a chair and a shelf. That is what you get for imitating tall, insipid Chinamen, moron.

There was a half-time-at-the-footy-long wait between the clearing of our entrée plates and the moment Elliot presented our very sexy 1kg wagyu rump roast to the table. Once again, we diverted our eyes away from Ms Big Momma Bolt-Ons and onto the fine piece of ass that was being carved very skillfully by Elliot who also wowed us (well, me) with this fluent Indonesian speaking skills thanks to years living in Jakarta. Geez, was there anything this guy can’t do?! Let me also say that the waiters here were extremely friendly (though to be fair, everyone I met on the ‘Coast was friendly and the only ones who weren’t friendly were the Collingwood fans and they’re from Melbourne) and knowledgeable. Not only that, they were amazingly down-to-earth and they did not have that innate air of arrogance that you get from some waiters you come across in Melbourne.

How sexy does this meat look?!

The wagyu rump cap, in all its fattiness, tenderness and juiciness, is rubbed with the chef’s ‘secret spice rub’ (which was essentially a saltier version of a dukkah), sealed until smokey on the grill before being oven-roasted. Marty and I normally like our steaks rare but we listened to Elliot’s suggestion to have it cooked medium-rare and we were glad we did. The steak was gently firm on the outside but once you pierced your super-cool carving knife into the flesh, it gave way to the most amazingly tender piece of flesh I’d ever had. As you’d expect from a wagyu, it was fatty, yes, but it wasn’t overly so yet the meat was still beautiful soft and buttery. As for the spice rub, there were times when I found it a little salty even for me but smearing the spices all over the steak evenly and then sloshing some Dijon mustard on it did allay some of the saltiness.

A trio of chef’s sauces came in handy – jus, béarnaise and smokey BBQ. All were decent, but my favourite was the smokey BBQ. Just because.

The steak (and not to mention the entrees we consumed earlier on) was enough to fill us up until supper but the Moo Moo Signature experience also included sides to share. At first glance, the object in the photo might look like a boring bowl of rocket leaves but there’s actually bits of parmesan and pear inside. Not the best salad (rocket leaves were slightly tired), but it upped my nitrate and vegie intake for the day so I’ll take it.

The kipfler potatoes with rosemary and garlic tasted much better though. The potatoes were roasted in wagyu fat, giving it a lovely buttery taste and a crispy texture. Sadly, we were too full to eat even half the bowl so they remained mostly untouched. Boo.

We never did get to touch the dessert menu so unfortunately I can’t tell you whether the banana and pecan strudel is any good. What I DO know is that I’ll be back here very soon (sooner than you think, folks, because I’ll be flying up more often) to try some of their pastas and their grass-fed steaks so I’ll give my verdict then (oh dear, I’m already planning my next visit to Moo Moo?!). In the mean time, I guess I have to put up with steaks from the likes of Rockpool, Squires Loft, Cutler and Co et al. And shitehouse Melbourne winters. And decent non-Starbucks coffees. A snotty Melburnian dissing her very own city. Surprised? You shouldn’t be.

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14 Comments on Moo Moo The Wine Bar + Grill (Gold Coast, QLD)

  1. Martypants.
    July 27, 2011 at 23:47 (3 years ago)

    Queensland FTW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
    • libishski
      July 27, 2011 at 23:58 (3 years ago)

      Not fair, you took me to a nice restaurant. Next time, I want crappy (well, ‘normal’ by Queensland standards) food.

      Reply
      • Martypants.
        July 30, 2011 at 10:31 (3 years ago)

        Your FACE is crappy by Queensland standards! ;)

        Reply
        • libishski
          July 30, 2011 at 17:44 (3 years ago)

          You sucked my face, mate.

          Reply
  2. Hannah
    July 28, 2011 at 15:41 (3 years ago)

    Oh gosh! I just booked a spontaneous trip to QLD myself for next week! We’re, like, totally, like, the same person… except I’d never forego a dessert menu ;)

    Reply
  3. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    July 28, 2011 at 17:05 (3 years ago)

    It has been years, and I mean years since I visited the Gold Coast! It’s good to know that the food is good there. I could do with some warm weather ;)

    Reply
  4. DL
    July 28, 2011 at 20:44 (3 years ago)

    LOL – Gweilo Quanjude/Flower Drum HAHAHAHA – they cut the steak for you!

    Reply
  5. msihua
    July 28, 2011 at 22:31 (3 years ago)

    Man I’ve never done a spontaneous on the spur moment trip.. The most was a weekend trip to see my sister, but I’d told her two days before.. boo.. how romantic of you :) ))))

    Reply
  6. Jordan
    July 30, 2011 at 20:06 (3 years ago)

    Love Moo Moo the Brisbane restaurant is amazing you have to see it.

    Reply
    • libishski
      July 31, 2011 at 20:00 (3 years ago)

      I’ve heard good things about the Brisbane restaurant. I can’t wait to give it a go!

      Reply
  7. Tracey
    August 3, 2011 at 13:26 (3 years ago)

    Well for what it’s worth, the Gold Coast does indeed have some great restaurants and Moo Moo is definitely up there although it is a bit pricey but oh so worth it.

    Reply
    • libishski
      August 3, 2011 at 21:05 (3 years ago)

      Hey Tracey,

      I just had a quick look at your blog – great to see a very comprehensive Gold Coast food blog! There aren’t many of you guys around (as in, GC food bloggers) so I was delighted when I saw your site. I’ll be flying up there more often now, so I’ll definitely refer to your blog when I’m in need of some dining ideas :)

      Reply
    • Martypants.
      August 3, 2011 at 21:12 (3 years ago)

      Name 5…

      Reply

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