Words by Sharon Timms
It’s a culinary pairing the likes of which Cairns has never seen: a career chef whose passion for beef has taken him to kitchens around the world, most recently Japan learning the fine art of beef preparation, and a young up-and-comer from South Australia with an impressive professional pedigree in fine-wines and first-class hospitality. Matthew Larter and Mark Sinclair are a formidable pair, brought together at Bailey, a Crystalbrook Collection Hotel.
Nestled in the grandiose ground floor surrounds of Bailey is the hotel’s signature dining venue, CC’s Bar & Grill. Dining at CC’s sure is an experience. Taking interior artistic inspiration from the group’s Crystalbrook Station, a wall of square, backlit, brass panels and red leather seating lend an air of wealth and luxury to the signature space, designed to evoke the idea of an outback sunset.
Located in the heart of Cairns’ flourishing cultural precinct, Bailey is the second of three Crystalbrook Collection hotels to open, and the fourth hotel in the group’s fast-expanding Australian portfolio, with properties in Cairns, Sydney, Byron Bay, Newcastle, Port Douglas and of course Crystalbrook Station. CC’s features a glass, climate-controlled wine cabinet housing more than 150 types of international and Australian wines, but the star of the show will certainly be Crystalbrook Collection’s own dry-aged beef, sourced from Crystalbrook Station, and the aging cabinet the visual centrepiece of the restaurant.
“No other hotel group that we know of is farming their own cattle and showcasing their own beef in their restaurants,” says Matthew, appointed Chef de Cuisine of the new outfit. “We’re the only hotel that farms our own beef, really highlighting the paddock to plate concept in full.”
Crystalbrook focuses on Brangus, a cross between an Angus and a Brahman, well known for their hardy nature and quality meat. The cattle are grain fed and pasture finished, then dry-aged for approximately 30 days. Longer drying options are in process, a meat-eater’s candy-store treat dependent on availability. As guests, diners choose the cut as well as the age of their meat. The Crystalbrook Signature dry aged grain fed 350g sirloin is a classic cut, and quite possibly what they had in mind when the phrase, ‘melts in your mouth’ was coined. For the true beef connoisseurs, there’s a tasting selection of Australian and Japanese Wagyu, showcasing the chef’s cachet as well as the beef’s reputation. And then there's the 1 kilo Darling Downs T-bone for the bottomless pits amongst us. Don't be ashamed, be proud. Add to these a side of the creamy potato mash, truffled mac and cheese or sautéed green beans with almond butter and you've what we call an almost unchallengeable challenge. CC’s Bar & Grill has certainly been whetting appetites since opening on November 2, especially those of the long, languid Friday lunches of years ago. At CC’s Bar & Grill, steak is its language and warm hospitality its philosophy, so go on, spoil yourself. It's worth every penny.