16/12 Chippen St
Chippendale, NSW 2008
Dinner at LP’s Quality Meats has long been on the cards, and now that I’m here, it feels extra good because it’s the first nice meal I’m treating myself to after starting full time work again after 4 years. Heeeelllllo to the DINK (that’s dual income, no kids) life!
LP’s has been around a good long while, but for a moment there I thought I was never going to get to eat there, as they had closed for a brief period during the lockdowns and whatnot. Luckily, the doors were thrown open again in early 2021. But instead of the previous formula of American-styled BBQ and smoker-heavy dishes, LP’s is now more of an upper-crust deli-cum-bistro, with just a bit of a beer hall vibe thrown in to stop things from becoming too serious.
Their motto may be Smallgoods, Big Heart, but frankly they’re just being modest, because they’ve got a whole lot of clout in addition to heart. LP’s is known as the premium local supplier of smallgoods, and you’ll find their cured meats everywhere; stuffed into sandwiches at the hottest new café of the moment, piled onto charcuterie plates at wine bars, and even at the renowned high-end butcher Vic’s Meat Market. Basically, if it’s LP’s, you know it’ll be good stuff.
I am loving the non-alcoholic revolution that is being seen more and more on drinks lists, even if my wallet doesn’t as much. My Blood Plum Shrub + Soda ($10) was a delightfully acidic start to the meal that really kicked off the tastebuds, though I couldn’t taste as much of the plum as I would like. The flavour did however get stronger towards the bottom of the glass – if only it tasted like this the whole way through!
As much as I love charcuterie, I don’t usually order it at restaurants, preferring instead to explore what the kitchen has to offer. However it felt wrong to come to LP’s and not get the Selection of LP’s Charcuterie ($28), so I acquiesced with little difficulty. The selection of the day consisted of silky slices of mortadella, a warmly spiced salami cotto, and my favourite of all, dense, meaty slices of peppery saucisson sec. The accompanying house-pickled vegetables were delightfully tart and crunchy, with a hint of aniseed sweetness.
To go with the charcuterie, we were recommended a serve of the Malted Honey Sourdough, Smoked Butter ($5). These dark, rustic wedges look more like rye than sourdough, but whilst the flavour was full-bodied, it was still mellow enough to let the cured meats take centre stage. Or you could just slather it with the side of pale, creamy whipped butter, or even just dip it straight in – go on, I won’t judge.
I adore it when restaurant use traditionally unpopular ingredients, because I find that it usually ends up showcasing just how good something can be when done well. Case in point: the Sardine, Smoked Pork Fat, Tomato, Brioche ($7ea) is nothing like the bony, smelly things most people have come to associate with sardines. Instead, the fish here is plump and mild, its natural sweetness brought out by the acidity of the crushed tomato. Any remaining brininess has long since between smoothed out by the buttery combination of pork fat and brioche.
Another great little seasonal bite was the Fresh Fig & Lonza ($4.5ea). The highlight was the fig for sure, which was sticky and honey-sweet. The fruit was paired classically with a gossamer-thin slice of cured pork loin, its nutty savouriness bringing out the floral notes of the fig even more.
The Shishito Peppers, Smoked Chorizo, Salsa Verde ($25) was described to us as more of a snacky share-styled dish, so I was really surprised at how hearty it actually was. Generous chunks of chorizo shared the plate with blistered shishito peppers, garnished with sprigs of soft herbs. It may have been simple, but between the warm smokiness of the meaty chorizo and charred heat from the peppers, their punchiness balanced out by the green complexity of herbs and salsa verde, this dish was definitely more than the sum of its simple parts.
Steering away from more red meat, I made an unusual decision (for me) in ordering the fish, which in this case was a highly recommended Whole Roasted Turbot & Pil-Pil ($MP). At about $65 for each 1kg fish, this is great for sharing between two. Now this may look bland, especially compared to a well-cooked steak, but this is easily one of the best standalone fish dishes I’ve had. Basted in a sauce of salt cod-infused garlic oil as it cooks over coals, the result is the most succulent fish I’ve ever had, almost to the point of gelatinousness. Seasoned simply with only good flaky sea salt and a squeeze of lemon, it really allows the delicate flavour of the fish, and the rich smokiness imparted by the flames to shine.
With just enough room left over for dessert, the lighter Panna Cotta, Wood Roasted Peach ($15) seemed like the way to go, in lieu of the chocolate torte. This came to the table jiggling delightfully precariously, but fear not, it was actually much more structurally sound than it looks. In fact, if anything I thought it was a little too firm, the heavy hand with the gelatine detracting somewhat from the delicately milky flavour and silky texture. The peaches however were an utter delight, its summery sweetness imbibed with a smokiness so dense that it imparts an almost savoury note.
I also couldn’t resist grabbing one of the Warm Madeleines ($5ea), baked fresh to order. These were just lovely, golden brown and still slightly crisp on the outside, with a spongy, eggy centre that wasn’t too sweet, enhanced with the fragrance of lemon zest.
LP’s is a great place to go if you want something that feels a little bit special, but is still accessible and easy to eat. I found the food to be a little bit on the too-simple side, but I enjoyed the quality of the produce, as well as the bold, classic flavours. It is also pretty pricey, and I would personally much rather spend the dollars at Ester, which is literally just around the corner. But with that said, I had a great time at LP’s, and would be happy to come back and have a go at their steaks and smoked potatoes; it just wasn’t quite as outstanding as I had built it up in my mind to be.
Rating: 14/20 – simple quality.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.