Saturday, 23 June 2012

Rockpool Bar & Grill

Rockpool Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon
Way before its actual opening, Rockpool did good at creating the hype and anticipation preparing for its birth in Perth's Burswood Entertainment Complex.
And surely with a fit out of just a measly couple o' millions, it deserves to be an attention hogger in every right.

All the rave and attention among Perth's rapidly growing foodie scene was really unavoidable with everybody very Neil this Perry that - the man is a true celebrity for starstruck foodie paparazzi. Strutting your stuff down the entrance with plush soft carpet beneath your feet, you feel that sophistication and just nearly as classy as the lush surrounds of that candlelit hallway.

Rockpool was undoubtedly a huge hit on Valentines Day, still buzzing with activity past 9pm - the earliest we managed a booking. Oozing with stylish elegance, the place is huge. Calling it a fancy foodhall doesn't give it justice, but then don't have dinners by candlelight too often in food courts.

With a faint glow of dim lighting above us - I call them sleepy lights! - we went ahead, and squinted at our paper menus.

Lemon Lime Bitters - $6
A glass of simple and classic Lemon Lime Bitters to start.
Little did we know this was to keep us hydrated for the long wait ahead for food.

Complimentary Bread and Butter
Luckily, you are kept entertained with warm, fresh and chewy bread. A crusty hardness to my liking and a generous slab of creamy butter on a wooden block is always eagerly accepted with hunger. Complimentary bread is really an addiction when it's served right before your mains.

Usually you wouldn't want to prematurely hog up stomach space with bread but they really do give you enough time to digest it. We found ourselves craving more and would have enthusiastically asked for more, if we could flag down a waiter. More bread would have been gladly welcomed, as would more attentive service.
The drinks and bread came out fast, but that's where the speed stopped.

Mussel Steamed with Chilli, Peppers & Vermouth - $24
Just before we were certain that we were forgotten, entree proved that we were not. Plump and meaty morsels of juicy mussels gaping upward in their opened shells, freshly cooked in a tasty chilli broth of mild hotness. This was tasty, and is probably one of their entrees that are good value for money.

This is where extra bread comes in handy, to really wipe clean the pot of its juices. After a while of trying to get some extra bread with the remaining broth growing progressively colder, I gave up and made a spoon out of an empty black shell I retrieved from the discarded shells bowl.
There are always other means of finishing up the broth and cleaning the pot.

David Blackmore's Wagyu Chuck Braised in Dark Lager and Onions with Potato Gnocchi and Silverbeet - $49
And then another century flashed by and main dishes were presented. In hindsight I should not have ordered a block of meat that is famous for its melt-in-the-mouth texture from all its marbled and plain chunks of fat. Close to half this portion had a mound of fat attached that I really could not touch, but the remaining half of meat was tender and soft enough to pierce with a spoon.

If you do not enjoy swallowing plain, pure, saturated fat, it is better to choose alternative cuts which have the fatness marbled into the meat instead of excess fat on a cut from a cow showing clear signs of obesity.

But I scraped up every last piece of sweet juicy onion, silverbeet and creamy potato gnocchi there was. The gnocchi in particular, is one of the better gnocchi's I have tasted - and I'm not even a remote gnocchi fan.

Rangers Valley Dry Aged 300 Day Grain Fed T-Bone 450g 60 days - $75
At Rockpool if you're no expert on cow bits and pieces, the menu showcasing your long, detailed choices can be quite bedazzling. Dry aged? 300 day? 36 month? Grain fed? Grass fed? Not fed at all? Choose what you can afford? It can fry your brains out.

But it should be the case that regardless what you order, one should taste just as good as another from their woodfired grill. The cows don't suffer from intensive industrial cruelty, meaning happier cows and happier cows meaning higher quality meats.
The menu does state that Dry Aged beef does not benefit from cooking past medium rare.
But it's a shame Rockpool has not held up its philosophy for our particular T-Bone, which was cooked on the well-done side of medium rare and certainly did not benefit from that either.

The blackened char on the sides gave the overall steak a little too much of a bitter aftertaste and well-done meant it was dry, tough, and resilient to chew as a result. I'd hate to say that we were quite disappointed, and had to take turns to try and finish that $75 worth of flesh on a plate.

Bearnaise Sauce
The lack of garnish or sides with the steaks really puts focus on the meat. No other option, as there is nothing else present, besides a lone wedge of lemon that doesn't do much to steal the limelight.

Thankfully, there is condiment service and you have the choice of not just a dollop, but a whole Aladdin's magic lamp full of your chosen sauce. A creamy, silky bearnaise sauce was chosen out of the buffet of mustard, BBQ sauce, horseradish cream and harissa condiments available, wheeled out on a trolley for your convenience.

Sauteed Mixed Mushrooms - $25
All signs of your plate point to the suggestions to order, or perhaps over order,side dishes to accompany your lonely slab of beef. Whereas other restaurants serve side dishes as complementary and are overlooked, Rockpool's extensive selection of sides nearly outnumber and outshine the main stars of the show (menu) and are a major component with evidently lots of thought contributed to producing amazing sides.

We are big mushroom fans and although expensive, this side dish of mixed mushrooms was cooked well and had no excess juices leaking from them, which is the only thing I hate about mushrooms really. Good natural flavours but a little oily towards the base, and it may look like a small serving but don't forget how much mushrooms shrink instead of bloat!


Rockpool is dimly lit in the evening, much like the rest of the complex. Its grand exterior is so over the top but its mesmerising settings give that touch of class that adds that special experience and makes you feel like you're so worthy of being pampered. It is no surprise that its interior exudes intimacy with decor of earthy themes and shades of natural tones that resonate throughout the restaurant. Floor to ceiling drapey mesh curtains cast shadows over dark cosy corners which may be a bit too dark, for I nearly stumbled into the neighbouring table - unless my inability to walk in heels is to blame.

Rocking numerous awards since its opening for best new restaurant, best steakhouse and best wine list, Rockpool's steakhouse concept has the beef display, the wine cellar and an impressively designed dining room with an open kitchen to showcase the skill of chef talent. With a commitment to fresh and uncompromising on quality control, the beef ages in a custom built room behind glass panels in that very same candlelit corridor entrance. Much like artwork that provides a striking contrast to the warm bask of glowing candles, the tonnes (literally!) of meat either excite or repulse your appetite.

It is unfortunate that I didn't get the same amazing steak I witness in others' photos but I do admit it is truly an experience for your senses. My steak was very dead but they have the range to excite the red meat carnivore. It is important to remember it is not fine dining - it is a bar and grill that boasts extravagance and oozes style just like fine dining but you get good proportions for price and not a measly speck on a huge plate with too much excess empty space.

But it really seems like it is the service that is questionable. It sounds inconsistent but my experience was overall positive. Staff seem professional but maybe TOO unobtrusive despite their proposed forensic attention to customers and food alike.

So much positive publicity around Rockpool but surprisingly ratings on Urbanspoon suggest otherwise. Unfortunately I am not unanimous to all the rave reviews either with my particular experience and while it is a special addition to little old Perth, I might return to Rockpool later rather than sooner.

6252 1900
Lunch: Sunday - Friday
Dinner: 7 days


1 comment:

  1. I had the gnocchi dish too! but yeh i didnt like it


So what did you eat today?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...