Hi everyone. Haven't blogged since Valentines! And since then, there was another occasion, my birthday in May. Taking this opportunity I decided I wanted to go to Rockpool. A Sydney institution of 25 years. It has moved from the premises of George Street to now a heritage listed building with a big dark presence. Through the large archway double doors I am instantly transported to an old school upmarket dining room with a masculine feel to it. Service as soon as you step in is slick and friendly.
As my husband and I sat with the menus we are asked if we would like to have a look at the Champagne trolley . . . umm yes please! The Champagne man wheeled the trolley over and gave us his rundown on all the bottles on offer. I choose carefully from all the beautifully recited descriptions of each.
The dinner menu consists of 8 small bites, the you can choose if you want 1, 2 or 3 more courses. We decided to share 1/2 a dozen of the Sydney Rock oysters a special of the night plus a smallish meal and then have a larger dish as a main each.
Oysters and champagne was the perfect way to start that I forgot to take a pic of them.
Here are the dishes!
Chargrilled prawn with shiso and nam prik, and on the right tempura prawn with daikon and soy. I didn't take a photo of the prawn being grilled at the table on a tiny clay grill with the special flavoured smoke billowing into the dark atmospere. I can't remember what was creating the smoke though. The prawn was ok, had a strong grill flavour, I was worried it wouldn't be cooked enough as it only had about 2 minutes on the grill. . .
Chicken wings with egg butter and konbu butter. These were so tasty, the chicken was crisp and the butters, wow, they packed a punch so creamy and "buttery", lucky there were only two wings I could've eaten more but then wouldn't have had room for the rest of the meal.
The pork slider was unusual in this setting, as you know, this would be more at home at the The Carrington than here. Anyway I was looking forward to this flavour combo; pork belly, chicken parfait and chilli on a rice roll. It was 3 lady like mouthfuls of happiness! The rich parfait mixed with the soft pork was on the money. Can I have this as a normal sized burger please?
Spanner crab with scallop mousse and steamed bun, although it wasn't really a steam bun, more like a small square of white toast. The mousse was scallopy, nice and light. Again I could have had a bigger portion of this to taste more of the seafood.
Chirashi of sushi of tuna, trumpeter and squid. Deconstructed sushi at it's best. All the little bits that I can't remember added so much to each mouthful. The edible flowers making it ever so pretty and the best looking dish of the night. Loved the shell dish!
Snapper with clams and parsley butter. Perfectly cooked piece of snapper. Combined with some mini clams it was a clean, subtle flavoured, refined dish.
Honey and spelt bread served with Rockpool butter and fresh ricotta. The red sauce on top of the ricotta was tomatoey, but really subtle. The butter by far was the spread of choice, it was so light and fluffy, that little bit on the dish was not enough. I could've spread all that on one piece of bread alone!
This was our small share dish - Sterling caviar with soft poached egg, crispy potato and allemande sauce. Allemande is based on one of the French five basic sauces, Veloute, but made thicker with eggs. This was a pretty rich dish, and lucky we shared as I was getting full and mains were yet to come. The caviar was not of the pop variety, but still the balls of saltiness were delicious and went perfectly with the egg and crispy spud.
Pigeon with strange flavour sauce. I can't really remember what the waiter said when I asked what the strange flavour sauce consisted of, but it had Szechuan pepper and five spice in there somewhere. The pigeon is served pink, so be warned. I was sceptical as I usually only have pigeon the Cantonese way which is crispy skinned and usually dry. Eating it like this was different, I would've preferred it to be cooked a bit more. They encouraged you to eat with your hands, which I did, but I still felt a bit funny in the posh environment of the place holding the leg and ripping the meat off it with my teeth!
My husband had the braised beef cheek sukiyaki with winter melon, gem lettuce and tendon. This was strong flavoured and really really good. I had food envy. Definitely better than my pigeon. The beef was soft, the tendon, gelatinous and all tied in with the not too sweet sauce. I really like the use of cheap Chinese ingredients in this modern twist. I guess that's what Neil Perry has made his name from.
I was too full for a proper dessert, which was fine as you still get the famous Date tart as the petit four with the pre dessert of yoghurt sorbet with vanilla, white pepper, grapefruit and thyme honey granola. An interesting mix but just what we needed to end on a sweet note.
I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at this 3 hatted restaurant and was not let down after having wanted to dine here for over 10 years. All the food had significant and memorable flavours and there was no dish that was a thumbs down. I definitely recommend Rockpool for a special occasion.