So, Ryan turned 25 on Wednesday. He's not big on celebrations and through the 10 years I've known him celebrations have usually always been with family and/or me. I thought being the 25th year milestone I would treat him out to somewhere nice. For my 25th last year we had dined at Galileo (Observatory Hill Hotel). This year for his 25th I ended up chosing Rockpool Bar & Grill. I was aiming for Bilson's because Ryan has a bit of a fascination for French food but even trying to make a booking in January for March seemed quiet impossible. I suppose being 3 hatted and all it was not unexpected. We'd been to a couple of the one hatted restaurants and had a pretty good experience. I was curious to find out the standard it took to earn an extra hat or two. Rockpoool B & G seemed like a good choice is also Sydney's Best New Restuarant, so tonight we finally got to eat at Neil Perry's newest baby.
Photo courtest of TimeOut Sydney.
So where are the food pictures? Sorry, if you bothered to read my first post I am not a fan of pulling out a camera during my meal. Plus it was really low lighting there which meant that I would have had to use the flash on my little Sony Cybershot, no no no no no. I had enough to carry with my clutch, an umbrella and my cardigan let alone trying to lug around a camera bag with a SLR in it. I will try and describe to you our experience using as much detail and graphical vocabulary as I can.
The restaurant interior was impressive, like not totally gob smacking or jaw dropping but it was definately pleasing to the eye. The marble columns, high high ceiling, the big size of the restaurant. Couldn't even guess how many tables there were on the main dining floor. They had an upstairs dining section and also had private dining areas. It was was busy and noisy but not too over the top, definately not an intimate romantic date type place to eat though. The service was good, though I'm glad we didnt get the girl with the heavy french accent. Attentive but not overbearing, I hate it when it seems forced or fake. The quality of food was definately top notch for a Steakhouse, seeing as my only other experiences of "steakhouses" are Outback Steakhouse and Ribs 'N Rumps.
To start with I had the Alaskan King Crab Cocktail. A very light and delicate dish. It came on a plate rather than served on a cocktail glass for the more modern approach. Shredded pieces of King Crab on a bed of finely shredded but still crunchy lettuce and a nice creamy tangy cocktail sauce on the side. I really enjoyed the one piece of leg meat on the plate, wish there was more of it because it had a much firmer texture than the smaller bits of crab. As it always happens I somehow find that Ryan's dish appeals more to me when it comes to the table. I had originally thought of ordering it but was drawn by the crab. Ryan had the Spicy Mussel, Tomato and Fregola Soup. It sure packed a punch with some very rich flavours. Fregola is a type of pasta we were told, there were small pearls of this pasta at the bottom of the soup which added an interesting texture to the dish. There were plenty of juicey mussels, the shells overflowed the little plate that the waiter gave us. I made Ryan switch half way with me but ended up giving it back to him and taking back my crab. It was just too much for me, even though I love my bold flavours (Ryan teases me for this) it was just too rich and heavy for me.
When our mains came out it was definately a feast for the eyes and the nose. There was barely an inch left on our table when they bought out all our dishes. I ordered the Tuna Steak done medium rare and Ryan has the Cape Grim Dry Aged 36 Month Old Grass Fed Rib-eye on the Bone 350g (80 days) done medium. We are told that the mains are very plain dishes, really meaning they come as they are with no sides (as I ordered seafood there was a mini herb salad and aioli, nowhere near enough but barely touched because there were plenty of sides ordered). Ryan was a little hungry (greedy) so we ended up ordering 3 side dishes, Pink Eye Potatoes Sauteed with Wagyu Fat and Rosemary, Braised Cavolo Nero and Silverbeet with Chilli, Garlic and Parmesan, and the Creamed Corn. The tuna was done perfectly, charred on the outside yet still pink on the inside, totally melt in your mouth. Ryan's steak was pretty much the same, best steak EVER (so far anyway). Our favourite dish though was the Creamed Corn, smooth, creamy and sweet melt in your mouth stuff, it was just as good to use as a sauce for out mains. The potatoes smelled so good as they were being placed on the table, my nose caught a wiff of the frangrance of rosemary as the waiter put it on the table and I am just a sucker for potatoes. The Cavolo Nero and Silverbeet was good but we both agreed it wasn't really needed and the flavours didn't really do anything to add to our mains.
We both thoroughly enjoyed every mouthfull of every dish. I was quite excited to have so many different flavours and textures on the table. By the end of the meal we were both stuffed silly. I couldn't even finish my Tuna, blame the potatoes for that. Our waiter sounded quite disappointed when we asked for the bill without ordering dessert. We had no room left! I was a little taken aback when the bill came but wasn't too suprised. It was a very pricey meal, I think our most expensive dinner yet, and there was no dessert! I would say that for what we paid I would have expected more. But for what the restaurant is they dished up some brilliant tasting food and I am glad we had the experience. I would try some of the other steak houses first before returning to Rockpool B & G again.