Thursday, 6 March 2014

Rockpool Bar & Grill, Melbourne

 If you're a regular of my blog, you would have noticed I haven't posted anything for 3 weeks. I've been on an epic holiday - a couple of weeks with Mister in his homeland in Australia, a week with Mama Chan in Osaka and finished off with a few days back in Hong Kong. So I am trailing behind in terms of keeping up with the London scene, but I'll be sharing some of my culinary highlights from my recent travels here. 

When we were planning our trip to Melbourne, Rockpool was the very first restaurant that Mister said he wanted to take me. So even though I could only fit 3 restaurants in my schedule, this never fell off the list. 

Like all other restaurants in the Crown Complex, it's one for special occasions. We could even catch glimpse of the hourly fire display along the Southbank. Our server explained the menu to us after we settled in; I'd already spent long enough pouring over the menu online. 

Alaskan King Crab with Avocado, Cherry Tomatoes, Jalapeno, Coriander and Lime 
I was actually more interested in the steak tartare until our server said the king crab was going fast, and the last one might have already gone. And the selling strategy totally worked on me. 

Having thoroughly enjoyed my king crab at One-O-One Knightsbridge, I was hoping for something similar; massive meaty crab legs. Well, it turns out these Aussies prefer to serve the crab dressed. Damn - should have stuck to the tartare. 

Problem with dressed crab is that the quality of meat rarely comes through. Firstly I couldn't see if it really was Alaskan King Crab, whether it came in fresh and whole or already shredded. More importantly we lose the pleasure of biting into bouncy cubes of juicy crab that oozes oceanic sweetness. This ensemble was good; a fool-proof combination of flavours of rich and creamy avocado and ripe cherry tomatoes. I can't say it was designed with much thought and ambition though. Meh. 

Lobster Omelette with Prawn sauce 
Mister's starter, on the other hand, was a winner.  The thin sheet of egg packed in generous lumps of lobster meat mingled with warm runny eggs, topped with concentrated shellfish sauce. The lobster chunks were succulent and tender, but springy; the sauce gave it all the flavours and was well-balanced by the runny eggs. That said, I thought adding some crunch would have mixed things up a bit in terms of texture. 

Wagyu - David Blackmore full blood Wagyu 
Mister and I both went for the wagyu.Oddly enough they didn't have premium cuts on offer, so a fatty rib-eye was out of the question. We both opted for rump; medium - anything rarer may not melt the marbling fat. 

It was a great steak. The meat was incredibly tender, nothing like the typical rump. It was rich and buttery, its bovine grease deeply infused with the muscles, which held its structure and strong beefiness. We got the best of both worlds. 

Roasted Pumpkin and Sweet Potato with Garlic Yoghurt and Burnt Butter 
The list of sides was endless. In hindsight we should have chosen something a tad lighter. These were delicious and soft, and the thick yoghurt added to its richness - this alone would have filled me up. 

Wood Fire Grilled Creamed Corn with Chipotle Butter and Manchego 
These were even better, possibly one of my favourite sides at all times. 

Roshi recommended the passion fruit pavlova, unfortunately I had no space for desserts. 

I enjoyed Rockpool, maybe more for the ambience than the food though. The food was good, just not mind-blowing; say the steak was beautifully executed and cooked to perfection, but I would have liked the option for more premium cuts for the waygu beef. On the other hand, the restaurant was pretty spot on with the romantic vibe and fine-dining atmosphere. There were minors niggles in the service that annoyed Mister slightly, like our server splashing water over his cutlery, and our wine dripping with every pour... Maybe I'm nit-picking, but with the prices they are demanding, I'm allowed to.   

Crown Complex 
8 Whiteman Street 
Victoria 3006 
Tel: +613 8648 1900 

Rockpool Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon


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