Neil Perry’s Rockpool (fish) restaurant in Sydney has been named in Restaurant Magazine’s highly anticipated 2008 list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants for the seventh consecutive year. With Spain’s El Bulli being voted as the world’s best restaurant, Rockpool (fish) was ranked 49 on the list.  Tetsuya was the only other Australian restaurant to be included, highly ranked at number 9.

Rockpool

I was looking forward to trying out her sister restaurant, Rockpool Bar and Grill in Melbourne then which received two chefs hat from the Good Food Guide which is Australia’s gourmet bible.

 Rockpool cow
(This picture came from the back side of the menu)

Rockpool Melbourne fuses the Rockpool philosophy of sourcing the finest quality in produce with a classic North American steakhouse.  It is different from Rockpool Sydney which focuses on presenting a total fine dining experience.

 Dry-ageing room

It’s dedication to steaks is exhibited with its ‘dry ageing’ room for its meat. Here various cuts of differing breeds of beef are kept close to 0 degrees centigrade with very low humidity for up to 40 days in order to tenderize the meat and fully develop its flavor.

The best food here is often the simplest, a ham platter, grilled king prawns or one of the signature dishes on the menu like dry aged Grass Fed Beef and 9+ marble score Wagyu.

Our orders :

4 Raw Tastes of the Sea

Four Raw Tastes of the Sea Aud 26 – (right to left ) Kingfish, Salmon, Tuna and Squid

 Ham Tasting Platter

Ham and Salami Tasting Plate Aud 35

Fratelli Beretta (Italy)

Joselido Iberica Jamon (Spain) – best ham in the world

Serano – 7 Brothers (Spain)

San Daniele Prosciutto (Italy) – better than the popular Parma ham

Chorizo Rodriguez (NSW)

 Wagyu Burger

David Blackmore’s Full Blood Wagyu Hamburger with Bacon, Gruyere Cheese and Zuni Pickle  $18.00 – Juicy juicy burger. In the running as best burger in Melbourne by other food bloggers. Need to try out more to compare. But it is a d@#n good burger!

Ribeye on Bone 350gm

Greenham’s Dry Aged 36 month old grass fed beef

Rib-Eye on the Bone 350g 36 days Aud49.00 – Perfectly charred medium well. Very tender and juicy. Comes with several condiments which aren’t really needed. Just the lemon wedge is perfect.

It is evident that Rockpool Melbourne is a steak restaurant from the dry-ageing room to the large picture of the cow on one side of the menu, but Rockpool Melbourne is not all about steak. Rockpool has put together a ‘comprehensive “ocean to plate” seafood program that enables them to deliver the best quality fish in the world.’  The fish are all dry-filleted to prevent leaching of the flavours. You can read all about Rockpool’s philosophy from their website.

Lobster Gazpacho 

Lobster Salad with Gazpacho Sauce Aud 38 

 Grilled King Prawns

Grilled King Prawns split and marinated Aud 30 – simply prepared  again with just a lemon wedge on the side. 

 Seared Crisp Barramundi

Seared Crisp Barramundi with Baby Peas Braised with Tomatoes and Chilli Aud 39 – Best fish dish I had so far. Perfectly cooked, it was so moist inside with flakes falling off.

 Strawberry Salad with Vanilla Panacotta and Rose Granita

Strawberry Salad with Vanilla Panacotta and Rose Granita Aud 16

Summary : Rockpool’s cooking is based on the ethos that  ‘the cornerstone of good cooking is to source the finest produce’ . Uncomplicated, simple preparations rather than innovative cooking, the produce quality does shine through with every dish. .

What I also liked about Rockpool Melbourne is that they offer an a la carte menu that has a wide range of options that suit different palates and price range. From the 200g Blackmore Wagyu ribeye steak at $110 to the rest of the mains which are mostly $29 – $50. There’s also the more reasonably priced bar menu with mains at $16 – $25.

I went into Rockpool expecting an overhyped, overrated restaurant. I came out singing its praises.

Rating : Love it
Food   : Have your pick. I would go for the steak and barramundi again.

Rockpool Bar and Grill.  
8 Whiteman Street
Southbank VIC 3006
Tel :   +61 3 8648 1900      

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