I would imagine all of the tenants in Tramsheds Harold Park are fairly happy right now. Head along on any given the day and the diverse European inspired food hall is packed full of life, welcoming the hungry as they have their pick of the litter between the likes of Gelato Messina and Belles Hot Chicken and Bodega 1904 and Osaka Trading Co.. Everyone is doing quite well for themselves, but it’s obvious high-profile chef Jared Ingersoll and his Seagrass Boutique Hospitality Group collaboration Butcher & Farmer snagged the most enviable position.
This 300-seater meat-focused restaurant not only has prime position with entry facing the main parking lot for Tramsheds, but it also makes use of the fabulously restored Rozelle tram which is one of the defining characteristics for the precinct. This means that from Butcher & Farmer diners can choose to eat their meal on the tram, sitting down to a space that’s been fitted out with tables and chairs. Sure, it’s nothing if the food isn’t up to scratch, but it’s also one of the most unique dining spots in Sydney.
And fortunately, that food is up to scratch. Ingersoll has sharpened his focus on butchers and farmers (yeah, it’s more than just a name) to help with a farm-to-plate approach, highlighting produce and traditional cooking techniques to help bring out those beautiful, natural flavours while also presenting diners with generous servings of various cuts of various meats. Coal-roasting, pickling, curing and smoking are used with precision so that the diner gets the most out of what they order, and the menu has enough options (most complete with provenance details) to ensure regular patronage.
It helps that Tramsheds is also home to Cesare Salemi’s Dust, a specialty bakery and cafe that boasts an on-site stone mill and a giant woodfired oven. Why? Because they provide Butcher & Farmer with their bread, which means that the Bread Board ($8) with culture butter is an absolute must to kick start any experience here. Then you can move onto other starters like the perfectly sweet Steak Tartare ($18) which comes surrounded by more bread and topped with a runny egg, or better yet the beautiful Charcuterie Board ($35) which is neatly set out with layers of spicy bresaola, salami, and wagyu, the meats divided by house pickled veggies. After that it’ll be hard to resist purchasing some of those cured meats or other premium produce to take home yourself, which you can do so from the restaurant.
The large, chewy Pan Fried Squid ($16) is another big drawcard for the starters, served in a bowl with fresh rocket, lemon and herbs. However, perhaps the menu needs some more soup style dishes (there’s just one: ribollita Tuscan bread and bean soup) because Dust have really turned in some stunning breads for the menu, you’ll want to use those to soak up anything and everything you can.
It’s a hard choice between mains, from the Grass Fed Wagyu & Angus Burger ($24) with cheddar mayo, pickles and chips, and the Braised Lamb Shanks & Potato Pie ($28) with sugarsnaps, to the Grilled King Salmon ($30) with asparagus and lemon oil, and the Smoked Beef Short Rib ($37) of 2 y.o grass-fed angus; Ingersoll certainly knows how to tempt.
On my visit the decision ended up with the Smoked Beef Short Rib, a massive cut with a beautifully crisp exterior giving way to some tender and very full-flavoured meat that falls apart on the slightest prompt. There will most definitely be declarations of pure jealous if you’re the only one wise enough in your group to order this one, but there’s more than enough to share.
Serious meat loves will want to veer towards the Butcher’s Cut section of the menu, where each listing comes with information on the farmer, location and breed. You’ve got everything between Free Range Pork Cutlet 350g ($22) from Goodiwindi in Queensland, and a generous Wagyu Scotch Fillet 350g ($65) from Mayura Station in South Australia, so return visits are a must.
For dessert, get some cheese plates and whiskies (or dessert wines) or go straight for the Old Fashioned Carrot Cake ($12) which cream cheese icing, it’s the best of the menu and speaks for the dessert menu being much more than just an afterthought.
Take a look at the website below to stay up to date with their events, there’s plenty on the horizon including a Christmas-themed masterclass on Wednesday 7th December, where Ingersoll will let guests in on secrets to carving, glazing and baking a Christmas ham (anyone who attends will also receieve a 20% voucher for butchery items as well).
Butcher & Farmer
Address: Tramsheds Harold Park; Shop 7, 1 Dalgal Way, Forest Lodge NSW 2037
Contact: 02 8629 8800
Hours: Mon-Fri 8am-11:30am (Breakfast Menu); 11:30-10pm (Lunch and Dinner); Sat-Sun 8am-11:45 (Breakfast Menu); 12pm-10pm (Lunch & Dinner Menu)
Feature image supplied.