Mad Cow, Sydney CBD

To be honest, I wasn't sure whether to post about Mad Cow. The reason being, it is very dark inside the restaurant and my phone camera doesn't have flash. But one of my readers pleaded with me to share my experience so I have reluctantly fixed what I could with the photo lighting and here is my post.

The Merivale restaurants are running a promotion called the Merivale Winter Feasts. For most of the restaurants, this means that you can have two courses for $35 or three courses for $45, from Monday to Friday at certain times.

Here's a tip - some of the restaurants aren't open on Monday so be careful with your planning!

You can find the promotion and menus HERE

The dinner session runs from 6pm - 8pm and on this particular night, we were dining at Mad Cow.

Mad Cow is located on the first floor of the Ivy Complex. The restaurant is a bit small, but makes up for it with cheerful yellow decor.

Mad Cow Restaurant

Despite there only being two of us, we were seated in a booth, which I was happy about because I love booth seating!

What the booths look like

Flowers on the table

Although we were greeted and seated relatively promptly when we entered the restaurant, it was eons before a waiter returned to take our order. He apologised for the delay and it seemed like there were only a few waiters on the floor to service the needs of a 70% full floor.

I decided to have the three course winter feast while my dining companion chose to have two courses from the winter feast with a dessert from the the a la carte menu.

We started off with a glass of wine and some bread, which the waiter informed us is from the Sonoma bakery.

The wine is included with the winter feast

Slices of sourdough and soy & linseed bread, served with butter

Our entrees come out very quickly after the bread.

San daniele prosciutto, buffalo mozzarella, baby basil, rosemary oil

This was quite nice. The prosciutto wasn't too salty and the dish was a lovely, light start to the meal.

3 freshly shucked rock oysters, ginger rice wine dressing, ocean trout roe, chives

The dressing on the oysters was divine. Fresh and clean with a zing!

I was tossing up whether to order the trout or wagyu beef cheeks as my main. In the end, we both ordered the beef.

braised wagyu beef cheeks, mushroom, celeriac, broad beans

The beef cheeks were wonderfully soft and fell apart with a prod of the fork. It was served with one large Portobello mushroom and a medium sized piece of celeraic. Pepper had been used liberally with the mushroom.

In retrospect, I might have been happier with the trout. I can't pinpoint why, but the wagyu beef cheeks didn't WOW me like I had hoped.

Dessert on the other hand, was absolutely delicious.

poached quince, cinnamon crème

I had never tried quince before so was pleasantly surprised at my first taste of the fruit. The texture was smooth and sweet, and went really well with the cinnamon crème. The crème was a standout - light, fluffy with a strong cinnamon flavour, I could have happily had two scoops of it! The dessert was served with two pieces of biscotti which I coated with the crème and quince.

Hot valhrona chocolate fondant, roast peanut ice cream, honeycomb soil ($18 from the normal menu)

The waiter warned us that it would take 20 minutes to make the the chocolate fondant as it was made fresh. He also told us that many other places premade them but this fresh one would be worth the wait.

I had a small taste and the roast peanut ice cream was delicious. You could taste big nutty chunks and it would easily fall into the premium ice cream. The chocolate fondant was warm and perfect for the cold weather.

After the initial delay in service, the waitstaff were helpful and speedy. The three course winter feast left me feeling just-the-right-amount of fullness. I look forward to trying another winter feast soon!


We have been writing about food in Sydney since 2009. No place is too far or too wide for us to travel to visit. We always give an honest opinion and love to hear your comments too. Here's to an ever-growing society of foodies!


  1. Did you end up trying any other places that were part of the promotion?

  2. Yes, I tried Bistro CBD as well. The food was about the same level as Mad Cow, but I preferred the decor and atmosphere of Mad Cow.

  3. Lol.. cute pictures, i am also planning to visit sydney in december. i need an advice is december the right month to visit sydney because i have heard that winter and summer season are very different in australia than rest of the world.

    i have found some more photos here:

  4. Hi Anonymous: December is a wonderful time to visit Sydney! It will be hot, hot, hot!

    You are correct, Australia is in the southern hemisphere so the seasons at opposite times to the 'rest of the world'.

    December is one of the sunniest/warmest/hottest months of the year in Australia and will be a great time to go the beach. Don't expect any snow for a White Christmas because it is more likely that you will be at a BBQ!