Contemporary


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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Lunch out among three food bloggers can get pretty complicated. It needs to be a place no one has been to so that we could blog about it, somewhere in Makati for a quick lunch out and someplace all three of us agree on. A few names were tossed around, Coco Cafe, Sala Bistro, a few resto’s in Greenbelt 5. Shella, Hiro and I finally agreed to have a food trip at Gaster’s Deli. Lori’s writeup on Gaster’s Deli helped convince Shella and I to try out the place.

Gaster’s Deli had several impressive wine chiller’s to the left of the main door. There are several stands of deli merchandise such as italian pasta, anchovies, olive oil etc… We were here for the food though. As I sat down, I eagerly scanned through the menu. I already knew what I wanted having ‘researched’ before coming to the place. I scanned through again for the second time… and again… Where is the barramundi? Or the Tenderloin fillet with red wine jus, foie gras and truffle butter OR the osso bucco which Lori had declared as the best in Manila. They were not on the menu and the waiter confirmed that they had been taken out. Too expensive perhaps? Not saleable to the lunch crowd? I saw a lot of pastas, sandwiches and steaks. Not really my cup of tea and I guess Shella did not get too excited with the menu either so agreed to split a pumpkin soup and a wagyu foie gras burger.

 Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin Soup Php116 – Bland, no flavor, spices or saltiness. Grabbed for the salt and pepper shakers to fix it up but it was a lost cause.

 Wagyu Burger

Gaster Wagyu Burger Php600 – This is my half of the burger which I had split with Shella. This tasted like an ordinary burger to me. The foie gras tasted livery and had a tofu texture inside. The aioli was old and had a different color to it already.

 Kurobota Pork Belly

Kurobota Pork Belly Php380 Hiro was definitely luckier. He managed to order a better dish. The pork belly was tender and cooked ‘Chinese’ style braised in soy sauce and sugar. Quite good.

It was good that all three of us were busy chatting away so the food was not my main focus.

Summary : Gaster Deli’s menu has changed. Seems to me that they have gone down the road of compromising their food for commercialness sake.

Rating : One Nighter
Food   : Nothing in particular from what we ordered.

Gaster’s Deli
Ground Floor, 6750 Building
Makati
Tel : 632 8136750

Vertigo SignVertigo is a bar and restaurant sitting on the 61st floor of the Banyan Tree hotel and boasts of the highest bar in the Asia Pacific. The elevators whisks you up to the 59th floor afterwhich you have to manage two narrow staircases to reach Vertigo. The view which opens up once you reach the topmost floor is amazing. It was a clear night and you can see the whole Bangkok cityscape below you. The restaurant was a helicopter pad before and as such, is a narrow place with just the railings to separate you from the edge.

Vertigo

 We opted to try out the degustation menu to have a sampling of Vertigo’s food.

 Vertigo Amuse Bouche

Amuse Bouche – Melon wrapped in ham ???

 Fresh American Oysters

Fresh American Oyster, Citrus Coriander Mojo – Nice clean taste to the oysters. There was a ‘sea’ taste to the oysters.

 Tuna Tartare

Marinated tuna tartar, Avocado Tomato Sour Cream Salmon Roe

 Javanese Oxtail Soup

Javanese oxtail soup, nutmeg fried shallot

 Foie Gras Creme Brulee

Foie Gras Creme Brulee – Better Foie Gras creme brulee than what we had in Cav. This had the right balance of cream on it.

 Prawns with Pasta

Lemongrass skewer tiger prawns, garlic chili scented angel hair pasta, shitake mushroom – First serving we had was way too salty and we had it returned to the kitchen. Second serving tasted better.

 Vodka Sherbet

Yuzu Vodka Sherbet

 Maine Lobster

Broiled Maine Lobster, Chardonnay cream sauce, truffle potato ravioli, chinese spinach

 Cardammon Rack of Lamb

Cardammon scented oven roasted rack of lamb, green pea puree, meditarranean vegetables

 Black Forest Parfait

Black forest trifle, cherry sorbet

Menu : 3600++ Baht

Summary : One of the must to see places in Bangkok for the experience. Breathtaking views… I felt that I could reach for the stars. Tastefully decorated, dim-lighted that a torch is needed to read the menu. It’s also amusing to have the food cooked a floor below and hurriedly brought to the table covered in those large silver dome covers to keep it from getting cold. The food itself wasn’t anything outstanding, it’s overpriced which you can actually skip. Grab a cocktail or two (which we should have done) and you can enjoy the place away.

Rating  : Love it —> for the ambience, I would go for the cocktails next time
Food    :  Nothing exceptional for the price. Come here and have cocktails to enjoy the view.

Banyan Tree Bangkok
21/100 South Sathon Road
Sathon Bangkok
Tel : +66 2 679 1200

 

Saw Basilio’s last weekend when I was visiting their neightbor Barcino . I made a mental note to myself that I should visit the place. I’ve visited it twice, first time for a round of drinks and check out the mini plates and the next day to try the lunch menu.

Their menu is themed as contemporary comfort food. Multi-cultural but food we turn to for familiarity. It’s not an extensive menu yet as Basilio’s just did their grand opening last March. The server mentioned that a more comprehensive list would be coming out soon.

The mini-plates :

Crab Ravioli

Crab Ravioli Php 290 – Freshly rolled ravioli pasta with creamy crabmeat served with lemon-butter sauce, tomato salsa and eggplant caviar. Ravioli was chewy and nice. Nice bite from the orange rind included in the sauce.

Popcorn Shrimps

Basilio’s Popcorn shrimp Php 390 – Cajun spiced shrimp in cornmeal crust. Nice presentation, there was real popcorn in a glass! This was a letdown though. The crust wasn’t crispy enough worse!  I could taste the rancidity of used oil! This dish was overpriced and not worth it.

Buffalo Chicken Wings

Spicy Wings Php 360 – Buffalo style chicken wings with blue cheese fonduta. Pile on the blue cheese dressing to get the flavor out of the buffalo wings. The wings itself didn’t have much flavor by itself.

During our lunch, we ordered the mains below :

Bread

Complimentary bread – I liked how small and cute they looked. I wanted to pop one right into my mouth….but wait… Aaacckk… the bread was tough as in hard to chew and cold =(.

50 Cloves Chicken

50 clove garlic chicken Php 380 – Roasted half chicken marinated in lots of garlic and herbs, served with tomato rice and giblet gravy. Felt the garlic taste from the first bite. It was just the right amount of garlic and not too overpowering. They could have added more of the herbs though to add complexity to the taste of the chicken.

Pork Ribs

Grilled Pork Ribs Php 420 – Baby Back Pork Ribs with barbeque sauce served with country style mashed potatoes. Shella was right, I didnt notice it immediately but there wasn’t that much meat on the ribs. I thought I just got a thin part of the rib which Marite shared with me but I guess it wasn’t meaty all thoughout. It wasn’t tender too.

Seafood Pasta

Seafood Pasta Php 320 – Fresh seafood with spaghetti in a light olive oil-white wine sauce. I liked this best. I liked the balance of olive oil and white wine. I liked the tidbits of seafood on the pasta. They probably did it to cut costs but it worked for me.

Summary : My first visit trying out Basilio’s mini-plates was a letdown. It’s not good pulutan! The lunch dishes were better but not great. The dishes didn’t have that zing that would make you remember comfort food and want to come back again.

Rating   : Chance Visitor
Food     :  Haven’t ordered something that I would reorder again

Basilio’s
Unit 151 Forbes Wood Height
Fort Bonifacio, Taguig
Tel : 856 2743

Valentine’s Day. Den and I had agreed that Valentine’s day gets too crowded in the evenings. By the time you go through all the traffic and jostled your way into the crowded restaurants, the enjoyment of the night has ebbed away already. We decided to do lunch instead and Den surprised me by bringing me to Purple Feet. I haven’t heard of the place yet previously and it was such a pleasant surprise to discover a new place which looks like a cafe from the Napa or Hunter vineyards. Purple feet is run by Chef Marco and a group of chefs originally from Sofitel Hotel.

Purple Feet Menu Board

Purple Feet by Chef Marco

Shellfish Bisque

Shellfish bisque with Ginseng and Uni foam – I liked the bisque. I can distinctly taste the seafood. This is definitely not a watered down version of a bisque. It was thick and rich and a nice bread roll would go well with this soup.

Mixed Salad

Mixed mesclun with asiago, pandano cheese and caviar. Served with passion fruit mango dressing – Nice presentation on the salad. Mixing in rose petals was an interesting touch. I never had rose petals before! They tasted like rose petals btw =).

Scallops and Prawns

Pan Seared Scallops & Prawn on wild mushroom molded spuds with Armoricaine Absinthe dressing and caviar – The scallops and prawns were nicely done. The spuds were interesting. I didn’t pick up immediately that they were potatoes since they had a different texture to it. Nice but I was looking for a more mushroomy flavor on the spuds though.

Oyster Palate served five ways I can’t find my picture on this! I remember the oysters prepared with an Asian influence. There was soy sauce on one, wasabi on another and a fresh one. Nothing mind blowing which is why I probably don’t remember this.

Sorbet 

Honey Lemon Mint Champagne Sorbet

Beef Tenderloin

Tenderloin of beef wrapped in Pancetta served with Foie gras, Uni Risotto and a rich Truffle Foie gras sause – This is a winner. The sauce on the beef is made of foie gras, truffles and porcini mushroom giving the sauce it’s rich and full flavor.

Rack of lamb

Rack of lamb on strawberry truffle chutney and uni risotto – The strawberry chutney gave a nice tangy bite to the lamb. The lamb was perfectly cooked, tender and not overdone. The uni risotto was a bit undercooked though.

Trio of chocolate 

Trio of chocolate : Strawberries coated with nutino, Molten dark chocolate cake, Port dipped dark chocolate truffle – I literally closed my eyes after having my first bite of the molten dark chocolate cake. The cake had a crispy shell with a soft inside and molten chocolate in the middle. The chocolate just rolled off my tongue. The dessert trio were heaveny and the perfect way to cap off a good meal.

Flat White Coffee

Coffee – By far the best flat white I had in the metro. Vittoria beans is used and the coffee is strong, full-bodies and full of arome. I would go to Purple Feet anytime just to have a cuppa!

Summary – Purple Feet is such an enjoyable place to go to. I like the laidback charm accompanied by quality food. It would probably have one of the most extensive wine list in the metro having wine depot as its cellar! I thought my meal was value for money. For Php 1,900 I had an excellent 7-course meal which came with wine pairings for every course! This meal would probably cost Php 3,500 in another place. I’m definitely coming back.

Ratine – Love It
Food – Tenderloin of Beef with Foie Gras Sauce

PurpleFeet
Wine Depot
Reposo Street
Makati City