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Wednesday 22 June 2011

Rockpool Bar & Grill Melbourne

“The cornerstone of good cooking is to source the finest produce.” - Neil Perry.

Dining is as much about the experience as it is the food, and Rockpool Bar & Grill delivers on both. With over twenty years managing his seafood restaurant Rockpool in Sydney, Neil has taken the concept of fresh locally sourced produce and applied it to his grill restaurants.

Upon entering the restaurant, quality furnishings and low light ambience already give the impression of a high end establishment, even before we are shown to our table by one of the smartly dressed waiting staff. We were fortunate enough to be seated in a secluded nook by the window that looked out over the Yarra river.

After being seated we were promptly offered the wine list - or book – as it was tome of over fifty pages. Having already drank a few Asahi's upstairs at the Conservatory, and with the car down in the basement carpark, I decided to start with a locally produced light beer from Otway Estate.

The menu contained an extensive array of both hot and cold starters, along with a good selection of main course dishes, including a selection of pasta and rice dishes and salads. However it was clear that beef is the speciality at Rockpool, and a quick glance at the selection from the wood fired grill allows a choice of David Blackmore wagyu beef, Cape Grim grass fed beef or Rangers Valley grain fed beef.

Deciding on the crudo of hiramasa kingfish, ocean trout and yellow fin tuna for a starter, what arrived at the table was basically sashimi of the aforementioned with a light oil infused with horseradish, coriander, lemon and lime. I've eaten a lot of sashimi and it was unusual to experience a flavour other than the dab of wasabi I normally apply, but the dressing was light and unobtrusive, and did not over power the delicate fish in any way.

Despite the extensive menu, I decided that my Rockpool dining experience would be somewhat lacking if I didn't try something from the wood fired grill. With that in mind I ordered the Rangers Valley 300 day dry aged fillet. For those who enjoy there steak well done don't bother, you wouldn't like the restaurant chefs definition of well done anyway. Taking advice from the menu I asked for the fillet to be cooked medium rare. What arrived at the table was well seared and rested fillet steak, sliced in thirds across the grain. A smoky crust gave way to a tender moist centre with not a single drop of juice escaping. Upon serving the mains the waiter returned to offer a selection of condiments for the steak. I went of a little horseradish cream, which gave a refreshing bite to the succulent fillet. Bear in mind that if you order a steak that's all you will be served, so I would recommend ordering one or more of the side dishes for the table to share. We ordered the celeriac, fennel and cheese gratin, and the pink-eye butter potatoes with rosemary to share. With only a small selection on wines available by the glass, I ordered the 2005 Craiglee Shiraz to compliment the steak.

I must say that the food and the overall dining experience at Rockpool was first class, and after our mains, we were satisfied to the point of not even looking at the dessert menu. However this level of dining does come at a price, and I would advise you to ensure your plastic is paid up and ready to take a beating. The total for this Monday night dinner for four people came to $468.22 plus a tip. If we weren't all driving and had opted for a couple of bottles of wine on the table the bill would have been substantially more. Not for everyday dining, but definitely worth a visit.

- harajuku32

Rockpool Bar & Grill, 20th June 2011

What we ordered:

1x Crudo of Hiramasa Kingfish, Ocean Trout and Yellow Fin tuna, with Horesradish, Coriander, Lime and Lemon flavoured oil
1 x Spiced Yellow Fin Tuna Tartare Sandwich
3 x Rangers Valley Grain fed 300 day dry-aged fillet steak 250g
1 x David Blackmore Wagyu Rib-Eye 200g
1 x Celeriac, Fennel and Cheese Gratin
1 x Pink-Eye Butter Potatoes with Rosemary
1 x 2005 Craiglee Shiraz
1 x 2010 Ocean Eight Pino Gris
2 x Otway Estate light beer
1 x Lemon, Lime & Bitters

Total: $468.22 (plus tip)