23 December 2009

Rockpool Bar & Grill - I am in AWE of you.

As a Sales Rep, I travel a lot and with the constant driving and hauling of luggage and laptops - it all takes its toll on my back.

Chiro: Well, sometimes back problems can start with a bad fall. Have you fallen over recently?
Me. Yes.
Chiro: Ahh... do you fall over much?
Me: Yes.
Chiro: Oh, Okay - do you fall hard?
Me: Yes.

I'm sure you get the picture. I have no co-ordination. Zero. Zilch. Nada. I don't think it's genetic - both my parents manage to walk small distances without skinning their knees and my brother played almost every competitive sport available to him. I think it's just me. *sigh*

Anyway... So when my Mum and I went to Sydney to cash in her birthday present - "Class 101 in Cupcake Making" at the divine Planet Cake - there were a few places we wanted to visit while we were there - and Rockpool Bar & Grill was top of our list.

I'd read up on reviews and they were all glowing - the only thing that disturbed me was that they had a display of Riedel Glassware that was worth well over $20k and took 4 staff 8 hours to hand polish it. I hoped like crazy that it was well out of arms reach and we wouldn't be seated anywhere near it...

Well obviously I didn't break it - or you would have seen it on the news - but they sat us right next to it!!

Moving past my short lived terror and promise that I wouldn't get up during dinner, *No Mum - not even to go to the Bathroom*, we settled in for what is now considered to be one of the best meals we have ever eaten.

Before we got there - we knew it was pricey and had come to some sort of loose agreement that we would skip the Entree so that we could completely pig out on Steak and Dessert. Well that agreement fell by the wayside, and we ended up ordering the Charcoal Roast Squid and Pork Belly to share.

This divine little dish of pure flavour floored us. How could such simple ingredients taste so good? Tell me Neil Perry, TELL ME!!

The Squid was quite obviously cooked on the Chargrill, but super quickly, the Char adding another dimension. The Pork belly was edible silk. Slowcooked to perfection with most of the fat lovingly rendered away, and to pull it all together, some of the sweetest tomatoes I have ever had, braised into a simple sauce. Served with Charred Ciabatta bread to mop up the juices - that plate was cleaner than it had ever been by the time it left our table.

It took us forever to choose our Mains - and once you've seen the menu you'll know why. In the end, I decided on the Wagyu Chuck Braised in Red Wine with Gremolata and Potato Puree and for Mum, the Wood Fire Lamb Cutlets with Mint Jelly.

My Wagyu Braise is single handedly the richest piece of meat I have ever eaten. I actually had to stop and take breaks or else I think I may have been sick. Don't get me wrong - there was nothing wrong with it at all - the flavours were just so incredibly intense that you were forced to slow down and enjoy every mouthful.

While Mum's Lamb Chops were good, she couldn't help but compare them to the starter. "These chops are good, but that Squid... well... *cue gazing off into space*, yeah, these chops are just good".

One of the many highlights of my meal was the Onion Rings. I know it sounds pathetic - you go to one of Sydney's favourite Restaurants and you rave about the Onion Rings? Well, you know what - they were fantastic! Crisp and crunchy, sweet and mild onion and all topped off with the crunch of sea salt. Pure, utter perfection.

Then, onto dessert and we chose well. Apple Galette and Armagnac Prune Creme Brulee. My Apple Galette was lovely, the stunningly crisp pastry topped with a perfect, shiny ball of ice cream and salted toffee was a picture of simplicity at it's best.

But Mum's dessert. WOW. Those little prunes packed quite the punch. So much in fact that she was giggling by the time she scraped that bowl clean. Presented simply in a wide based, shallow ramekin, this of course meant that there was a nice ratio of caramel to custard. The prunes had quite obviously been soaking in their Armagnac baths for quite a while - and we appreciated it very much!

Some reviews have mentioned that they felt rushed by the Waitstaff but I couldn't fault them at all. We rocked up without a reservation and they were more than happy to fit us in, recommend their favourite dishes to us and encourage us to take our time finishing coffee. All in all, a wonderful night of Mother-Daughter bonding.

The Verdict: Would I go back? In an instant. I even looked up the recipe for that Wagyu Braise, have made it twice and have gotten rave reviews, but I want to go back have Neil Perry cook it for me again.

Recommendations: Please - for all things good and fair in this world - you have to try the Squid and Pork Belly. Also, a side of Onion Rings wouldn't hurt...

Rockpool Bar & Grill

Rockpool Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon


  1. where did you find the recipe for the wagyu braise!!??? :)

  2. Hi!
    You didn't leave any contact details so I will reply to you here.
    The Restaurant version was minus the artichokes, and with a gremolata instead. But this is the link to the recipe. Absolutely divine. Use a cheap cut of meat (we can't all afford to braise Wagyu!) and slow temp is the key. Serve with creamy mash :)