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Friday, January 08, 2010

Hurricane's Grill & Bar, Darling Harbour

It's catching.

Lately I've found that I'm not the only person at the table taking food photos. Somehow certain friends and colleagues have gotten into the craze too.

Okay so they're not quite at the stage where they're lugging around SLRs in their handbags, but half the time I look up from my camera to notice someone else snapping a photo of the same dish as well.

On my return to work after the Christmas break, colleagues confessed that they'd whipped out cameras at their family feasts, despite their relatives looking on with bemusement.

Consider me chuffed.

Because why not? There's a quiet moment or two, as you line up the photo, that you really take in and notice the dish - its plating, its aesthetics, its appetising appeal. Unless captured on camera, its beauty is fleeting - dismembered and digested until only crumbs remain. And we're not talking fancy fine dining - I've never heard such excitement around the table than a recent lunch at Hurricane's Bar & Grill.

Garlic roll $4.50

I'd been a fan of Hurricane's since visiting their original outlet at Bondi Beach several years ago. Their second dining outlet can be found at Darling Harbour, a long stretch of space that makes maximum use of the glass walled water views. The bar area, with a huge plasma screen that's tuned to the cricket, is empty but I'm told that it gets jam-packed with people at night, with waiting patrons often spilling into the dining section.

We order garlic bread to start, large rolls slathered with garlic butter and served on rustic chopping boards, but I find myself preferring the complimentary bread and butter, which has a nicer crust and a fluffier middle.

Salt and pepper calamari $16
Lightly seasoned and served with rocket and aioli

A stack of salt and pepper calamari comes with a cheerful mix of leaves, a wedge of lemon and a pot of aioli. Whilst the calamari is tender and not too oily, the too-clean coating of batter make them look like they came frozen and out of a packet.

Scallops on cauliflower puree with peri peri vinagirette $19

Aware of my main meal ahead, I choose the scallops for entree, five juicy scallops served on a shell, although the bed of cauliflower pureee is a little bland and in need of more butter and seasoning.

Lamb ribs, full rack with chips $34

All is forgiven when the mains arrive. There's always a frisson of excitement as the ribs arrive, brontosaurus-sized slabs of meat that are greeted with widened eyes of disbelief.

The lamb ribs are thinner and darker than the pork ribs, the meat quite strong with the flavour of lamb. I find these richer to digest, and after eating two ribs, am quite sure I've had enough.

Pork ribs, full rack with chips $34

The pork ribs, on the other hand, seems much easier to eat. The flesh, basted with a South African marinade, is sweet and spicy, and so tender it falls off the bone.

Pork ribs, full rack with baked potato $34

I order my pork ribs with baked potato, but by the end of my meal I've hardly touched it anyway. The slab of ribs requires some pre-eating consideration - I tend to use my knife to slice apart every rib before commiting to fingers and then gnawing away to my heart's content.

Complimentary bibs

I draw a line at a bib, although waitstaff will offer them to you with compliments, even tying them on.

Pork rib

The table falls into silence, apart from an occasional sigh. There's something so satisfying about wrenching the meat from the ribs and scraping the bones clean with your teeth, revelling in the sticky and glorious mess of it all.

And so it goes on until the bowl in the middle of the table is piled high with bones.

Rib bones

Gelatiamo sorbet, 3 scoops $9.95

Dessert seems like an unfathomable though, but strangely enough, with a little coaxing, one will find a little more room after all. A trio of sorbets - passionfruit, lemon and raspberry - is probably the ideal way to cleanse the palate after a heavy meal. The lemon sorbet is particularly good, tart but sweet and ultimately refreshing.

Vanilla ice cream and Hurricane's own hot chocolate sauce $9.90

The two orders of vanilla ice cream are dispensed, but five minutes later the hot chocolate sauce still hasn't arrived, despite an assurance from our waitress. It's not the first glitch we'd experienced. Earlier on, a steak had been cooked incorrectly, then when a new steak arrived ten minutes later, it was served with the wrong sauce. It was sent back again and rectified.

Another gentle reminder finally prompts the appearane of the promised chocolate sauce. It's not really worth the wait. The ice cream is more ice than cream, and the chocolate sauce has a greasy aftertaste.

Mars Bar cheesecake $15.95

Mars Bar cheesecake is much more satisfying, even if the price does seem rather hefty. The cheesecake layer is almost sharp with the flavour of cream cheese, balanced by languid swirls of sweet caramel and a layer of chocolate ganache on top. The buttery biscuit base is good too, but the best bits are the slices of Mars Bar that garnish each slice.

So next time you're faced with a particularly impressive meal? Take a photo. You'll be glad you did.

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Hurricane's Grill & Bar on Urbanspoon

Hurricane's Grill & Bar, Darling Harbour
Harbourside Shopping Centre, Shops 433-436
Level 2, Darling Harbour, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9211 2210

Opening hours: Open 7 days
Lunch 12pm - 3pm
Dinner 5.30pm till late
Fully licensed

Also at:
Hurricane's Grill & Bar Bondi Beach
130 Roscoe Street, Bondi Beach, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9130 7101
Open 7 nights for dinner from 6pm
Lunch on Sundays only from 12pm
Full Licensed

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Ribs - Hurricane's Grill, Bondi Beach

Ribs - Kelly's Bar & Grill, Bondi Junction

Ribs - Outback Steakhouse, North Strathfield
Ribs - South Restaurant, Neutral Bay

Ribs - Tony Roma's, Sydney
28 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 1/08/2010 01:56:00 am


  • At 1/08/2010 3:33 am, Anonymous Hannah said…

    It really is catching! I've been taking photos of food for years, even though I didn't have a food blog, and gradually my Mum started doing it everywhere too! And my grandma does it occassionally now as well...

    And yes to not only the high-end dining! I was at Chili's last night and couldn't resist taking photos. Mine is just the point-and-shoot kind of photography - not skilled at all. But I just always want the documentary proof/memory of the experience :)

    P.S. $15.95 for Mars Bar Cheesecake? That does seems mildly like craziness. I feel that were I to pop out of my hotel room and buy cheesecake from one of the restaurants here in the US, for that price I'd get the whole cheesecake...

  • At 1/08/2010 6:31 am, Blogger joey@forkingaroundsydney said…

    Wow, that cheesecake sure is on the steep side! And good to see foodsnapitis (F1S1) is becoming pandemic. Is there a vaccine? LOL

  • At 1/08/2010 7:19 am, Blogger Stephcookie said…

    Haha you're so right, I have to smile a little when someone else besides me is taking photos of their food, I think it's great! I've never tried the seafood here before, I always want to save every bit of stomach space for pork ribs! I find the lamb ribs too lamby as well

  • At 1/08/2010 7:45 am, Anonymous Fiona said…

    the calamari does look good, despite its frozen look, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE finishing with sorbet. :)

  • At 1/08/2010 8:45 am, Blogger missklicious said…

    I see people taking pictures of their food all the time now!

    And the ribs look fantastic. The price tag on the mars bars cheesecake doesn't seem justifiable!

  • At 1/08/2010 9:08 am, Blogger Apple said…

    Those ribs look so yummy! It's 9am and I'm thinking about ribs!
    Ah it's great to start my work day reading your posts. Although I don't go out to dine very often, if I ever did, I know the places to go!

  • At 1/08/2010 10:22 am, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    oh baby those ribs look so good haha you refused a bib?? but *coughs* you always drop food!

  • At 1/08/2010 10:24 am, Blogger Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said…

    I agree. There is some kind of "caveman" pleasure at attacking a giant slab of ribs. I've been to Hurricanes in Bondi and enjoyed them...good to see they've moved towards the city.

  • At 1/08/2010 11:51 am, Blogger OohLookBel said…

    Pork ribs are the way to go; they look amazingly luscious! I can't wait to try Hurricane's but will have to go on a 'pre-stuffing' regime beforehand.

  • At 1/08/2010 11:55 am, Anonymous Jacq said…

    Yay for more people taking food photos! Maybe I won't feel so embarrased when whipping out the chunky DSLR at dinners now =P

  • At 1/08/2010 12:08 pm, Blogger Anna said…

    Yes you are absoluetely right. Ven though it can be awkward at first, taking pictures is a great way to remember lovely meals and the memories that accompany them.

    Happy new year :)

  • At 1/08/2010 12:42 pm, Anonymous billy@atablefortwo said…

    man, i still havent been to Hurricanes! Crazy or what! They do look good compare to Tony's. but is it as good as South?!?!?! :P

    I always go for fries over baked potatoe... deep fry all the way! LOL

  • At 1/08/2010 4:35 pm, Anonymous Simon said…

    So the moral to the story is, stick to the ribs, forego dessert and expect mistakes?

    Nice photos of the ribs. They look quite appetising :)

  • At 1/08/2010 6:40 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have heard of hurricane's grill and bar from a few people but I haven't been there. Look at those succulent ribs and mars bar cheesecake!! Heaven!

  • At 1/08/2010 7:56 pm, Anonymous Estelle said…

    I really must learn how to use my camera. Your photos are great!

  • At 1/08/2010 8:16 pm, Anonymous Trissa said…

    Many people prefer the pork ribs in hurricane's but I just adore the lamb ribs - I can eat a kilo! Swear!

  • At 1/08/2010 8:22 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    I am noticing that as well - I see someone taking a photo and think they must be a food blogger but often they are not.

    $15 for cheesecake 0 you should get the whole cake for that!

  • At 1/08/2010 10:52 pm, Blogger A cupcake or two said…

    Hurricanes is great. Especially when you are with a bunch of friends that dont mind getting their faces dirty while eating ribs.

  • At 1/09/2010 5:33 am, Blogger Yas @ hungry.digital.elf. said…

    hmmm pork rib ftw!
    I had 1.5 full rack last time and my defence was "not much meat on if you don't count the bones" I know I'm right.

  • At 1/09/2010 7:57 pm, Blogger Simon Leong said…

    hehe you picked the same desserts as me when i went last week hehe :-) love the pork ribs! i've got a similar pic of the bones too hehe

  • At 1/10/2010 9:55 am, Blogger Sarah said…

    Fabulous post - I am loving ribs at the moment. If you're interested in making them at home, Tyler Florence has a fab recipe for "ultimate ribs with homemade bbq sauce" in Tyler's Ultimate.

    Hehe, if I were there I'd have probably done without all the sides/entrees/desserts and just ploughed through the ribs!!

    I still haven't worked up the courage to whip out my SLR at restaurants. Cafes I can handle, but not fancy restaurants, hehee.

    xox Sarah

  • At 1/10/2010 10:30 am, Anonymous Trisha said…

    Ooohh the boy would've loved this!!! We're both into ribs these days and that rack is lookin' good!!!

  • At 1/10/2010 1:33 pm, Anonymous The Extra said…

    Photos are compulsory - how else could I let the absent wife know what she's missing out on?

  • At 1/11/2010 4:07 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Hannah - Ha, I love that more and more people are taking photos of their meal. And who doesn't want to remember a good meal?

    The Mars Bar cheesecake did seem a little pricey.

    Hi Joey - lol. F1S1 - I like it! No need for a vaccine either! We need more of it!

    Hi Stephcookie - I should've saved more room for the pork ribs but gluttony... sigh. The lamb ribs are quite strong - I really doubt I could eat many at all for a main.

    Hi Fiona - Sorbet is always a great palate cleanser. Feels like it absorbs all that fat from your arteries... it does, doesn't it? lol

    Hi Missklicious - It's great isn't it? The ribs are great and yes, the Mars Bar cheesecake price did seem a tad excessive.

    Hi Apple - I hope you've breakfast by the time you start reading. I know if I haven't when I start reading food blogs, I soon have some by my side :)

    Hi Chocolatesuze - I'll have you know my shirt was spotless :)

    Hi Peter G - Yes, that's the word I'm looking for. Can't beat caveman food!

    Hi Belle - Definitely recommend Hurricane's, and if you can't finish, don't worry, staff will happily provide a doggy bag :)

    Hi Jacq - No need to feel embarassed. I find more and more people have DSLRs anyway, and besides, think of how much better the photo will be! Worth the 2min of "embarassment" in my opinion :)

    Hi Ladybird - Taking photos feels awkward at first for everyone, but it's like riding a bike, after a while it becomes perfectly natural!

    Hi Billy - You gotta get to Hurricane's pronto! I prefer Hurricane's over Tony Roma's but the short ribs at South still reign supreme :)

    The order of baked potato was a subconscious attempt to stop me filling up on carbs. lol

    Hi Simon - No morals here. lol. But I say the ribs are the must-order dish here. When in Rome...

    Hi Ellie - Oh you must get to Hurricane's soon. Always good fun to get a chance to dig into finger food with gusto!

    Hi Estelle - Aww thanks. It's amazing how fast the more you practise :)

    Hi Trissa - Wow, I'd love to see you do that! Can I? lol

    Hi Gourmet Chick - I used to always wonder about that too, but I guess in today's world of Facebook, Twitter and online photo albums, everyone's keen to catalogue and share their meals with the world!

    Hi A Cupcake or Two - I agree. Ribs are all about revelling in messy eating!

    Hi Yas - omg you had 1.5 full racks?W We're not worthy!

    Hi Simon Food Favourites - There's always a compulsion to photograph the rib evidence, isn't there? lol

    Hi Sarah - I forgot I ordered a side salad too. lol. The rocket leaves were meant to help me cleanse the palate.

    And oh, you mustn't be afraid to use your DSLR. Think of how unloved it must feel sitting at home all alone in the dark. lol. I find the added functionality of SLRs so much more valuable, and given my rarity at visiting them, fancy restaurants are when I want the best photos I can get :)

    Hi Trisha - Ribs are always a winner with blokes. And female food bloggers too!

    Hi Extra - Ahh welcome to my world. Hurrah! And hope the photo was only a prequel to a selfless invite to take her there to join in on the rib-sucking fun?

  • At 1/11/2010 10:57 pm, Anonymous Yen (Food For Four) said…

    Ribs and ribs is all I want. I didn't know they opened one in Darling Harbour. I already told hubby that we're going there this weekend. Great pics.

    Btw, new reader and loving your blog.

  • At 1/12/2010 6:59 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Yen - Hurricane's has been open at Darling Harbour for a while now - I hear that weekends are pretty chaotic. I'd try and get there early :) Enjoy the ribs this weekend!

  • At 3/01/2013 4:21 pm, Anonymous Jess said…

    Hi Helen,

    Are the ribs at Darling Harbour as good as the one at Bondi? I had some people telling me that the one at Bondi is much better.

  • At 3/02/2013 11:29 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Jen - It's been a while since I've been to Bondi, but I do have very fond memories of their ribs. I think the Darling Harbour space is quite big and always excessively busy which may impact on the kitchen.


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