I’d never been to Rockpool Bar and Grill in Sydney, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, but my expectations were high considering the head chef is Neil Perry.
As we walked up the stairs of the American inspired art deco 1930′s skyscraper, the doors opened and we were greeted by the door man who escorted myself and and my 4 guests to the front desk where the maître d’ took us to to our table upstairs which was booked prior. When we sat, it was decided that upstairs wasn’t suitable, as the ambiance was very different to that of the ambiance downstairs where there are more people, more to look at, more hustle and bustle which adds to the experience. So we requested we be moved to the lower level. They moved us immediately to a table in the middle against the wall, which was perfect.
I sat in my big sumptuous seat and began to read the 59 page white wine menu. The French Pol Roger Brut for me, a bottle of the 2004 Tolbreck ‘The Steading’ from the Barossa Valley and a bottle of the 2008 Gembrook Hill from the Yarra Valley, all served in ‘Grape’ glasses by Riedel.
It took a while for our orders to be taken from the extensive menu, so we politely said we were ready to order.
For me, I had to start from the Cold Bar, ordering the Joselito Iberico Jamon, Trevelez Serrano Jamon, Jamondul Serrano Jamon Reserva, Fratelli Galloni Parma Prosciutto with pickles. Being Spanish and living in Spain, I had very high expectations that this quarto of Jamon and Proscuitto. It arrived presented beautifully. Perfect. Simply perfect. The distinct tastes and textures of each were on par with those of what I enjoyed in Spain. I consumed it teamed with the crusty bread served for all on the table. The guests I was with loved what they ordered too, the wood fire grilled baby octopus with Tarrator dressing and marinated radicchio and the charcoal roast king prawns, split and marinated.
Looking around the restaurant, you will notice it looks quite busy, people rushing around and lots of movement. At closer observation, you will notice all this rushing is the staff. There are so many people on the floor working, tending to every single need of the guest, which really showed me how individual the service was.
In good time between courses came our mains. I get the crispy leatherjacket fillets with “Crazy Water”. Everyone else at my table got rib-eye o the bone and T-bone. We also ordered the hand cut fat chips, a Radicchio, Cos and Endive Salad and the charcoal oven roast pumpkin and sweet potato with garlic yoghurt and burnt butter.
As I dropped my knife onto the fillet of the Leatherjacket, it literally just fell through the batter and fish. First bite I took was a medley of tastes and textures. Crispy batter, but the fish just melted away, with the “Crazy Water” which is chopped tomato, garlic and basil. Three different tastes work in unison to create perfection, yet again. The hand cut fat chips are just that – fat. They are delicious and have just the right amount of rock salt. The pumpkin and sweet potato is definately something you must get. Delectable.
My guests thoroughly enjoyed their meats, with a large range of condiments to accompany. One guest Steve, got his medium-rare rib-eye which arrived still moving, it was too under cooked. We requested it be medium-rare as originally stated. It was taken away and sorted out immediately. He only waited 5 or so minutes to have it rectified.
After letting our meals process, and a few more glasses of wine, we were full. There was just no space for dessert. Or was there?
I looked over the delicious dessert menu. The chocolate Jaffa mousse cake? The prune and Armagnac créme brulee? Or how about the passionfruit pavlova? I just couldn’t. I honestly could not fit in another thing. So the table ordered coffees. The waiter did give another option for desserts in an up-sell bid, the pieces of broken chocolate with cashews and sesame seeds. So we gave in to his up-sell and got that. I wasn’t expecting much, but it came and again I was pleasantly suprised. It looked good and was delicious! I grazed over that for the next 45 minutes we were there, enjoying my wine while the others had their coffees.
Will I go back? I would definately go back without a doubt.
Pros: Stunning building, luxurious décor, attentive service and incredible menus, food and drinks.
Cons: Staff could be more polite and adaptable to each table. There could have been some sort of soft music, it doesn’t have to be loud, but it was missing audible ambiance.
Pricing: Cold Bar from $25 to $20 (or $625 for the Caviar toast). Salads from $14 to $35. Hot Starters from $18 to $30. Pastas from $19 to $30. Seafood from $45 to $160. Mains from $21 to $160. Rotisserie from $39 to $49. Beef from $39 to $110. Sides from $9 to $25. Wines from just under $50 to $86,000.
Final Say: Fine dining at it’s best. Overall, it’s almost perfect package.
66 Hunter Street, Sydney – (02) 8078 1900