Mumu Grill, Crows Nest

As the name suggests, this is a restaurant where the specialty is beef and quality beef because it’s all grass-fed.

Moo

Moo

A good friend of ours invited us to join him and a few of our mutual friends for dinner at Mumu Grill, and as he loves his steak, this is a restaurant where he dines frequently.

Drew and I arrived on time and noted there are outdoor tables that are a little protected from the elements with plastic screens and as it’s winter, you’re kept warm with outdoor heaters.  But even so, as the air was fresh, I did hope we had an indoor table.

Pretty with the fairy lights

Pretty with the fairy lights

The interior of the restaurant is modern and minimalist with a lot of wood and glass however the waitress told us our table wasn’t in the restaurant, it was in the private dining room.  We followed her out of the restaurant and down the street where we entered through a doorway and found the private room.

Bar area

Bar area

It has a large communal wooden table with an enormous wood-fired pizza oven that was doing a good job of warming the room.  But private dining rooms can be a hit-and-miss affair where you can feel you’ve been removed from the atmosphere and vibe of the restaurant itself.  This dining room had that feel, especially as it seemed remote from the restaurant itself.

The private dining room

The private dining room

Our waitress was lovely and attentive when in the room but pretty much, we were left to ourselves.  The room also didn’t have any music and I do think music elevates a dining experience.

Wood-fired oven

Wood-fired oven

The restaurant has a comprehensive wine list however, it does allow you to also BYO and our group had chosen to bring a selection of wines.  We had two jugs of tap water on the table but these quickly ran out and were not refilled.  As the waitress was not often in the room, we looked after pouring our own drinks.

Wall art

Wall art

As we were a group booking there was a set menu with the food arriving either through some internal servery doors or leaving the restaurant, going along the street and coming in through the side door.

Our meal started with house-baked bread with dips that somehow I didn’t photograph.  It was lovely that the bread was served warm however it was a soft and nondescript type of bread and I would have preferred something wood-fired or a sourdough freshly baked in the pizza oven behind me.  There were two dips and these went well with the bread.

Private room

Private room

Next we had a mixed platter of Jamon Serrano, zucchini flowers stuffed with goat’s cheese and with a tomato sauce, and olives.  Jamon Serrano is a dry-cured Spanish ham and I really loved the slice I had.  It would have been nice to have had a little more of the ham that went very well with the selection of Spanish olives.  The olives were very good and not too salty.

Tapas plate

Tapas plate

My favourite item on the tapas plate was the stuffed and fried zucchini flowers.  I love zucchini flowers and these were generously stuffed with goat’s cheese and fried in a very light and crunchy batter.  The zucchini still had a lot of crunch and the tomato sauce complimented the goat’s cheese stuffing beautifully.

Jamon serrano, Spanish olives, Stuffed zucchini flowers

Jamon serrano, Spanish olives, Stuffed zucchini flowers

There were three options on the main course menu.  The first was slow cooked pork ribs cooked in a house-made BBQ sauce and served with coleslaw and chips.  This was a very generous dish and the meat was very tender, falling easily from the bone and the BBQ sauce had a wonderful smokiness to it.

Pork ribs with homemade BBQ sauce and coleslaw

Pork ribs with homemade BBQ sauce and coleslaw

A few at the table chose the roasted New Zealand king salmon with watercress, beetroot, confit zucchini with a ginger and turmeric yoghurt.  This was Drew’s choice and he was asked how he would like his salmon cooked and he said rare and that is what he was given.  This was a very pretty dish with beautiful presentation and lots of colour on the plate.  Although I’m not sure what happened to the beetroot.  All those who ordered it really enjoyed it and thought the salad with it’s fresh baby peas and the fragrant yoghurt sauce went very well with the salmon.

NZ king salmon with ginger and turmeric yoghurt

NZ king salmon with ginger and turmeric yoghurt

But now we come to the third choice and that was the steak.  It was a 300gm grass-fed scotch fillet served with green beans.  As this is a restaurant specialising in quality beef that’s all grass-fed, I knew I wanted to try the steak.  I was asked how I would like it cooked and I said medium-rare, as did the others.

300gm grass-fed scotch fillet with green beans

300gm grass-fed scotch fillet with green beans

When my steak arrived I was immediately underwhelmed.  Firstly it had done the long travel from the kitchen, through the restaurant, along the street and into the private dining room.  Very difficult for the meal to be any warmer than tepid after that journey.

Then the dish looked uninspiring and with just two elements on the plate, bland.  The only effort that had gone into the presentation was in getting the beans into a straight line.  When I saw there was no sauce, I immediately thought of Australia’s celebrity chef, Manu, and could hear him saying, ‘Where is the love?’  I asked the waitress if there was meant to be some sauce and she said I could have a selection of mustards.  I chose dijon and she brought some to the table.

My friend's steak

My friend’s steak

I later found out there are sauces available but they’re charged at an additional $3.50.  Perhaps we weren’t offered any because it was a set menu.

Then I cut into the steak and it wasn’t medium-rare, it was beyond well done.  It was dry and tasteless and without some moisture from a sauce, I couldn’t eat it.  Everyone else who ordered the steak enjoyed a medium-rare steak.  I then tried the beans and they were under-done.  I picked one up in my fingers and snapped it in two as you would a raw bean.

Overcooked

Overcooked

A platter of rustic fries had been placed in the centre of the table so I tossed a few onto my plate.  They were dry and again, came with no sauce; an aioli would have been nice.  It was too difficult eating overdone steak, undercooked beans and dry chips so I didn’t eat anything.  The waitress came over and agreed the steak was overcooked and said it would take the chef five minutes to cook me another one.  As most people at our table had already finished, I told her not to bother.  Even though I couldn’t eat my meal, it was still on the bill.

Rustic fries

Rustic fries

No desserts were mentioned on the set menu but the restaurant was aware there were two people at our table celebrating birthdays.  Two desserts arrived, an ice cream and an apple crumble.  We shared them between the nine of us.  I didn’t see the bill but I’m assuming these desserts were complimentary.

Desserts

Desserts

The price for the set menu is $55.00 per person plus corkage.  I guess if you can eat your meal, that’s quite good value.

A good selection of wines

A good selection of wines

Mumu Grill is a restaurant specialising in grass-fed quality steaks.  It runs cooking classes, has an online meat box delivery service, recipes that can be downloaded from their website and a VIP club.  While the restaurant itself has a beautiful interior and plenty of atmosphere, I think sometimes a private dining room can remove you from that sense of being part of a restaurant and leave you feeling detached.  In a restaurant priding itself on its quality grass-fed beef, an overcooked steak should not leave the kitchen.  And sauce.  A steak without sauce is just boring.

On Ernest Place

On Ernest Place

Verdict:  A few flaws.

Mumu Grill:  70 Alexander Street, Crows Nest  NSW  2065

Ph:  61 2 9460 6877

Comments

  1. pamela.hayward7650@gmail.com says:

    OMG! I feel for you. When I saw your review I was excited and hoped I that you had had a better experience than I had when I ate there. I was disappointed too especially as it 0 rides itself on the steak. I remember your private dining room too as it used to be a pizza restaurant. I had my birthday over the weekend and we went to TI’m Hi Wan in Chatswood.
    loved those pork buns!

  2. How disappointing! As soon as I saw the photo of your steak I knew you were in trouble. I agree with you – private rooms are hit and miss. And to be so far away from the actual kitchen and not have a staff member to look after you is pretty remiss. The wines looked terrific though.

  3. Oh dear. How disappointing. Yes I also do not like private dining rooms. You always get left alone! Funny isn’t it how whenever you get told you must have medium rare they invariably over cook it!

  4. Sounds like there were several hit or miss elements to the meal as well as the service. I would not consider it a ‘good’ visit especially on a larger family visit. At least the company was pleasant. 🙂

  5. What a disappointment with your steak. Even with a set menu I think there should be a sauce, at least one to share, and not even ketchup with the fries? After reading where your private dining room was located all I could think of was cold entrees.

  6. Bummer. It sounded like this place had promise…while coach houses can be cute, I think they need dedicated staff remaining in the room or just outside and most definitely music!

  7. Seems like too many flaws to ever return.

  8. Fifty-five dollars and you couldn’t eat it? Yikes! Sounds like they need to do some work in the kitchen. But still, when you write a restaurant review, Charlie, I always feel like I am with you, good, bad, wonderful, ordinary, sublime, disappointing–no matter—I always feel like I have shared in the dining experience, and surely that is the mark of a good writer!

  9. I feel for you. Why is it that it’s always our meals, the ones who care about the food, that are messed up? It’s infuriating after a while. I hope you get a chance to try the restaurant again with better results.

  10. Wow…I rarely see you give a review this negative. It’s always so disappointing to have a bad restaurant meal, especially when it costs a bit or if it’s a special occasion. Hopefully you got a good wine pour, at least!
    Cheers to a better experience on your next night out!

  11. Sweet Posy Dreams says:

    I’m okay with a steak without sauce — if it is a good cut and juicy. I recently ate at an award-winning burger joint that served grass-fed beef. I had a similar experience. The burger was overcooked, so very dry. I think the grass-fed beef must be leaner, so overcooking it is dire.

  12. Bill would have had a cow (haha) as he likes he beef quite rare, but he wouldn’t have made a fuss—well, maybe to me! The tapas looked terrific, but so sorry about your steak.

  13. How disappointing for you, Charlie … I like my steak medium-rare as well and unfortunately, few restaurants ever get it just right!

  14. That would NOT be fun for me. You could all have met at your house with everyone bringing a potluck dish and had a better time.

  15. Hmm I wouldn’t have been too impressed if that steak landed in front of me either. So boring looking. They could have at least piled a few of those chips on. It really annoys me when they make you pay extra for something like sauce that should come with the meal.

  16. Oh what a shame and it sounds like it should have been taken off the bill for being not cooked to order. Once at a different restaurant I received just a steak, no vegetables, just steak. It was very underwhelming.

  17. How disappointing Charlie and if the private dining room was attached to the restaurant, I am sure it would have been much nicer.
    Have a great day.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  18. How disappointing, Private rooms sound like a good idea but they do need dedicated staff or things do go wrong. GG

  19. Bummer about your meal — I hate ordering things and find they just can’t be eaten. And although I don’t like too much service (I like to pour my own wine, for example), it’s nice to see wait staff at least sometimes. At least it sounds like the company was loads of fun!

  20. Dear Charlie,

    I haven’t been here since they took over the premises from the previous restaurant. The steak does look rather disappointing and good home cooks would have done a better job and with good sauce too.

  21. Oh no! That is awful…I just get so frustrated when the meal does not come the way I like it…or expected…sorry for the poor experience.
    Hope you are having a nice week Charlie 🙂

  22. Private dining rooms…don’t mind that much. But overcooked steak? Big no no. Charged gor uneaten food and extra for sauce? That sucks. It’s sweet of them to give dessert, but not enough to return. How disappointing.

  23. They sure did miss an opportunity for good will by not comping that steak! It had such promise and then didn’t deliver! What a shame!

    I have a request. I’d love a “follow up” post on how Arabella is doing? Is she back to work and school and functioning independently or still recuperating? I have really been concerned for her. When you can…. 🙂

  24. What a shame! The food does sound lacking in quite a few areas, and as you say, private dining rooms can just equate to being parked somewhere on your own without much atmosphere. At least the desserts were free…

  25. Oh dear Charlie, but on the bright side, as Victoria said, a very well written piece!

  26. That’s really disappointing that a restaurant known for their steak was overcooked and had no sauce… but either way I hope you had a great time with friends 🙂

  27. Your photos are amazing and I am hungry! Thanks for this Tandy. I especially like the look of the tapas plate.

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