Gwen O’Toole is an accomplished writer focusing on travel, food, wine and events management. Follow her on Instagram @Gwennieo
Published August 28th 2016
City style dining in Berwick
While Berwick might not be the first suburb that comes to mind when you think of a Melbourne fine dining spot, the opening of MPD Steak Kitchen might surprise you.
At the helm of the kitchen, MPD Steak Kitchen is led by former Vue Group executive chef Chris Bonello. Recognised as Shannon Bennett's right-hand man at Vue Group (with seven venues including Vue de monde, Bistro Vue, Café Vue), Bonello has opened a restaurant dedicated to the humble steak on the corner of Greaves and Clye Roads in Berwick.
Rcently opened in Berwick, MPD Steak Kitchen. Image: The Ideas Library
What was once a nightclub within the Zagames complex has been beautifully transformed into the MPD Steak Kitchen. The name, a nod to the meat packing district of New York City has a menu that while steak focussed also offers up some seriously good mains, side and desserts.
What was once a nightclub withing the Zagame's precinct is now MPD Steak Kitchen. Image: The Ideas Library
The beef here is, for the bulk of the menu, sourced locally and even if steak isn't your thing, there's plenty of lamb ( from Flinders Island), fish, poultry and pork with delicious sides, desserts and a cheese trolley to make you swoon (more on that later).
Oysters with Champagne granita and finger lime. Image:The Ideas Library
We kicked off our meal with fresh oysters with champagne granita (above) and finger lime as well as a roasted beetroot salad done with both red and gold beetroot, smoked yoghurt, hazelnuts and goat's feta (below).
The beetroot salad starter at MPD Steak Kitchen. Image:The Ideas Library
If you're keen to try some of the kitchens favourite dishes, you can also choose a 'feed me' option where the chefs will organise a tasting menu highlighting some of their best dishes for $90. And if you're really keen, you can leave your drink in the hands of their talented mixologists who can pair up each course with a cocktail for $60.
For mains, of course, the steak was the focus and certainly didn't disappoint. The menu has a variety (roughly 8) of cuts to choose from as well as a variety of sauces including their signature house-made MPD sauce.
You'll want to sink your teeth into a perfectly cooked steak at MPD Steak Kitchen. Image:The Ideas Library
You'll also find a range of sides that aren't your typical 'side of chips' fare with items such as duck fat roasted potatoes, truffle mac and cheese, cauliflower gratin, broccolini with almond pesto, bone marrow with parsley crust and (a truly delicious option) the honey glazed brussels sprouts with pancetta.
The dessert options are also pretty solid, but if you're a savoury person and cheese is your thing you can't pass up the incredible cheese trolley at MPD where the trolley is brought to you and you can effectively go wild choosing your cheeses and paying by the weight.
For the love of cheeses, MPD's cheese trolley is an absolute treat. Image:The Ideas Library
As for dessert, the affogato, as are a few of their cocktails, are made with a bit of theatre at the table using liquid nitrogen to immediately freeze particular elements of the cocktail.
Our affogato (served virgin or with a shot of Bailey's, Frangelico, etc) arrives with the cream in a glass with liquid nitrogen poured over to instantly make ice cream with great bubbling effect. Add your shot of espresso and liquor and enjoy.
The liquid nitrogen affogato is served up with plenty of theatre at MPD Steak Kitchen. Image:The Ideas Library
MPD Steak Kitchen is something you'd certainly expect to see in the Melbourne CBD, and a much-welcome addition to the Berwick area. As an added plus, the majority of the restaurant staff live within 10 kms of the venue, so it's a great boost locally.
Inside the venue, you'll find a relaxed a moody but welcoming atmosphere with big booths for groups, private quiet nooks for date nights as well as a bar area that a great place to have a weekend drink with friends. Upstairs there's a separate dining area that's ideal for large groups or special events and private dining. There's also plenty of clever quirks like neon lights, a meat clever as the door handles in the bathrooms and plenty of other quirky surprises.
If you're a local, get yourself there to try it out ASAP, and if you aren't a local it's certainly worth the drive.