Friday, March 30, 2012

RESTAURANT: Rockpool Bar & Grill

I've been to the bar at Rockpool B+G before to sample their epic burger (yes, it's worth the hype), but have long held the desire to hit the restaurant proper and go nuts on the ridiculously good-looking menu and wine list. With a dinner with friends cancelled, the opportunity presented itself.

The restaurant is handsome as all hell, but you probably know that already. High ceilings, wine glass chandeliers, waiters in white coats, green marble pillars, black tables and seats.

The wine list is a somewhat depressing affair, with so many good options in every category that you're bound to feel disappointed when you settle on a bottle or two. I go for my favourite champagne producer, Jacques Selosse, but immediately feel the tinge of regret from not getting a super pinot noir from the Mornington Peninsula. WHY DO YOU ALWAYS FAIL, BEN?!?!?

The menu is as sprawling as it is tempting. Starters range from raw seafood to quasi salads to hot items. I over order and start with the "raw tastes of the sea" dish, which is clean, fresh sashimi with some nice dressings, and the brioche with bone marrow, shallots and a slow-cooked hens egg, which is as good as it sounds.

With Neil Perry flagging that he'll be opening an Italian restaurant in the not-to-distant future, I also opt for a bowl of his pasta. Duck ragu with pappardelle is exactly the sort of pasta dish that I order wherever I go, and this one doesn't disappoint. Huge chunks of duck, rich sauce and silky pasta all combine well.

Calling the restaurant Bar and Grill hides the fact that this restaurant is really only about one thing: being a banker with a corporate card and a suit. But it's also about the grilled meats. Serious, serious time, effort and money is put into their dry-ageing program with the aim of taking the best produce and making it even better.

David Blackmore's 9+ grade wagyu fillet is a testament to this. Easily the best steak I've ever eaten, which you'd want with a $115 price tag. Charcoally and caramelised out the outside, stupidly tender on the inside and flavour absolutely hiding everywhere. They give you your own jug of bearnaise sauce and a selection of others, but all you really need is a few drops from the lemon wedge on the plate.

A side of creamed corn is surprisingly huge, probably isn't designed for a solo diner that has already eaten a lot, and takes me a while to get through. It's nice though, which is about as much as you can say for creamed corn, never a dish to really change one's perspective on life.

I can't fit it in, but in the interests of research and being a champion I give the black forest trifle a go for dessert. Rich (didn't need that) and generously portioned (or that), it's a top way to end the meal.

A tremendously enjoyable meal, made more enjoyable by the fact that I went in with the view of not having to stick to any sort of budget when ordering. This is a place that can seriously burn you if you're hoping for a reasonable meal, with entrees around $30, mains have some cheaper options but the majority start at $40 and go way up, and desserts around $20 from memory. You can get a top meal going for the cheaper options, but to sample the best of the place and get great seafood starters, great meat on the grill and great wine, you might be up for Sydney's most expensive meal.

The white coats swoop around, providing great service all night. Though it's hard to feel like you're getting bad service from someone in a white coat.

RATING: Will return to [?]

Rockpool Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

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