Rockpool Bar & Grill, Sydney – 07 April 2011

Rockpool Bar & Grill Sydney was the next stepping stone in my restaurant adventures. Renowned for its steak and dazzling Riedel glass display, it was time to pay this place a visit. I was a little confused as to how to obtain the famous David Blackmore full blood wagyu burger, and the restaurant isn’t where you go to get it; it’s only available at their bar. They also have one of Australia’s most extensive wine lists, often featuring some sommelier’s choices, which is worth checking out.

A selection of hams including prosciutto, jamon serrano, jamon iberico, which came with a side of pickled vegetables. This was the first time I’d sampled jamon, and they certainly all tasted different, with the iberico tasting sweeter but had a richer flavour.

The kingfish ceviche on the menu was too spicy for me – though I have no tolerance chilli, I could tell that it was still too hot. I couldn’t eat much of this at all, though I have no doubt that it’s actually quite tasty.

Look at these gorgeous steak knives! They indicated that our meat orders were coming up. What caught my eye was the back of the knife with its etched “T.” – it’s nice when the cutlery has a unique design to appreciate while waiting for the next course.

Rockpool Bar & Grill may have several awards, but presentation isn’t one of them. While the entrees came out with some effort into the plating, the mains are a whole different story. They’re famous for having nothing on the plate except the steak. I wasn’t aware of this before I visited, and was surprised, but considering the quality of the meats, it really doesn’t need any other elements on the dish. This is pure delicious food. My choice was an aged grass fed sirloin, from somewhere within NSW – my memory is impressive but it doesn’t remember that kind of detail. Complementary bearnaise sauce was provided.

The pure suffolk lamb wasn’t pretty either, but that aioli is the best aioli I’ve had. A sweet, strong garlic flavour worked very well with the perfectly cooked lamb!

To offset all the protein consumed, I ordered their house salad. I expected a simple mix of leaves, but when I was presented with a visually appealing mix of vegetables, my view on salad changed forever. This is what I expect all salads to look like, and ever since, I’ve made colourful salads – often with radish and heirloom carrots in memory of this life changing salad. I exaggerate a lot, but this was most definitely a pivotal moment for me and my relationship with vegetables.

This was the surprise dish of the day – complementary caramel puffs! They were so light and addictive that you could just keep eating them forever. I would go back just for these treats every time!

And then came the real desserts. This was their jaffa mousse cake, a well balanced chocolate and orange flavour combination. There’s not a lot that I don’t like, but orange chocolate is one thing that my brain just can’t handle. I can acknowledge its deliciousness, but I just don’t like it. However, because I appreciate when the flavours work, nothing will stop me from continuing to order orange chocolate flavoured desserts.

They also had profiteroles on the menu! They didn’t impress me too much though, compared to the jaffa mouse cake and the ice cream sandwich below.

What an awesome ice cream sandwich! I never thought that these would be served at a restaurant, but I was wrong. This was my brother’s choice, and he enjoyed it.

I’ve considered a revisit to the restaurant side of RBG a few times, but it’s always the burger at the bar that I end up going to. This is mainly because I’ve had some amazing steaks since, and I don’t see this place as the absolute pinnacle for steak, especially in combination with how expensive everything is here. Their desserts on the other hand, are worth trying out, though a good few of them are available on their bar menu. Given the option, I’d choose their bar anytime, since it has the added benefit of not requiring reservations.