Jan 15, 2011

Rockpool Bar & Grill, Sydney.

On Wednesday night, Mr SSG and I continued our program of reintroducing my little brother H to foods he was deprived of in his time in the UK.  Apologies to UK residents who may be reading this blog, I don't mean any disrespect of your food, it's just that I've come to realize that fresh food can be hideously expensive in your part of the world.  The seafood dinner was very well received so we decided to move on and re-introduce H to a good steak.  And what better place than Rockpool Bar & Grill on Hunter Street in the CBD?  Part of Neil Perry's flag ship complex with Spice Temple underneath.

I love the art deco look to the foyer and the dining room.

I apologize in advance for my photos.  For one reason or another, it was touch and go getting nice images.  It was very dark, I didn't want to get in the way of the many attentive staff, there was so much to talk about with Mr SSG and H, waving a large DSLR camera to capture our night out around the chic crowd made me feel very self conscious.

Detail of the beautiful arched ceiling.  I think the building used to be a bank.
As usual when I'm supposed to dress up for a mid week dinner, my hair rebels and I wilt in the humidity.  Instead, I  present photos of other guests at Rockpool that evening who managed to have perfect hair and attire despite the weather.

The drinks menus.  Plural.

Rockpool has a legendary wine collection.  One of the business owners donated a substantial portion of his personal collection to the wine cellars.  There are 3 drinks menus - the white and sparkling wines (white file),  the reds (burgundy file) and the cocktail and non alcohol drinks (thinnest menu).  I let Mr SSG, H and the sommelier decide.

The back of the menu.

There are several half bottles of champagne to choose from.  I had the Ruinart 'Blanc de Blanc' which has a rather creamy taste, according to the sommelier.  He spoke the truth.  It was very nice indeed.

Above the serving stations around the restaurant and the famous installations of wine glasses.  They are all Riedel glasses and some poor person with a light touch needs to polish them regularly.

The sourdough was perfect.  Not too salty or tough.

The rustic serve of butter was an interesting contrast to the glass, marble and dark smooth wooded decor.

We were seated near large windows that overlooked the street and instead of curtains, there were clear perspex (I think) rods hanging down the length of the glass.  Very dramatic look as the daylight faded.

We ordered a selection of sides to go with out steak.  The meats are served without any garnish but there is a choice of several sauces that the waiters will place individually on you plate at your request.

H needed salad.  This is the radicchio, cos and endive salad with palm sugar vinaigrette.  The dressing wasn't overpowering and it was a very moreish salad.

The legendary hand cut fat chips.

I swiped some of H's tomato sauce to have with them...  What are brothers for?

The cauliflower and cheese gratin.  Again, very pure flavours which helped me appreciate just how good baked cauliflower does taste.  It takes on a completely different identity when baked.

Mushy peas!!  With a poached egg on top.  From his years in the UK, H is an expert on them and he gave Rockpool's version high praise indeed.

It felt exactly as if we were sitting down to steak in Gotham City.  But a friendly version.  One peopled by friendly and helpful staff (without the Joker face paint).  There were still the dark suits and glamorous dresses but they were worn by laughing and occasionally flamboyant Sydney-siders.

I had a 250g grain fed 300 day Rangers Valley beef fillet.  Oh, red meat, I missed you so.  I felt like a car driving on new tank of fuel and new spark plugs when I took my last protein and iron filled bite.  The boys went for the big guns and had Wagyu by David Blackmore (9+ marble score) and a Cape Grim T bone.  All the meat is dry aged, the importance of which I learned on my visit to Victor Churchill last year.  Oh the taste.

The bearnaise sauce.

There was no room for dessert, which I am sad about because I skipped a entree in the hope that I'd be able to squeeze one in somehow.

I had camomile tea instead.

H had yet another coffee.  Since touching down in Australia, he's been a man possessed.  Getting his shots of espresso wherever and whenever he can.

Not strictly part of a food review, but in case you were interested in the appointments of the ladies' room.

Aesop hand wash!!

Rockpool Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon


  1. Firstly, I love Aesop stuff!! I refuse to have anything else in our bathroom and at the kitchen sink. LOVE it!!! Second, LOVE ROCKPOOL!!!! Their steak is deliciouso. I totally concur with you on the 'waving a camera around in a restaurant - awkward' thing. It can be embarrassing and hard to do on the sly, especially when it's dark. Great post lady, now I want STEAK!!

  2. MMMMMM yum that all looked totally delicious SSG and it's on my list of places I want to go next time I'm in Sydney... I may even forgive your comment that little bro was deprived of certain fresh foods in UK!! Marks and Spencers do some nice packs of fresh salads and veg that little brother could have bought! Is it that much more expensive than Australia now though I wonder with the exchange rate etc.? My sister thought that food was expensive here compared to UK but I think that they are on a par now.... However, I do concede that Australia has a far better range and personally I think better supermarkets/restaurants on the whole than in UK!! X

  3. Aesop handwash! WOW!!! I Love!

    Thanks for your review :) Everything looks lovely. I love a good steak, and like you, always feel better for eating it.

    The humidity has made my curls obey.

    Question - how do you get Urban Spoon on your blog? I want to as well. Thanks!

  4. Thank you so much for the empathy and kind words, ladies :-)

    SSG xxx

  5. That looked like a fantastic night out. I am so glad you had such a special evening with your brother and Mr SSG.

  6. Hi girl:)
    Looks like a very nice place ....
    Urban Spoon rocks:)

    Have a great weekend.

  7. aesops is so popular in restaurant loos these days, especially around surry hills and darlinghurst. i love the stuff! :-)

  8. Rockpool opens at Burswood next week. Hoping to get a booking. I'm a bit confused though. How or with what would you eat the mushy peas with? And you break the up through the mushy peas? What is the pea etiquette?

  9. I have been meaning to review my experience at the Rockpool Bar after coming here a few weeks ago with my parents. We arrived very close to 6pm (you can't make bookings for the bar), and you should do the same if you plan on going, as it fills up very quickly!


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