Rockpool 1989 – 14 August 2014

Rockpool, a place I’ve wanted to visit since before Rockpool Bar and Grill, but never found the opportunity to until I decided to squeeze it into a two day Sydney visit.  Their new place on Bridge St is super pretty and I love waiters that are suited up and are wearing lapel pins too! I do really regret not having visited sooner, as I would have loved to have seen what it was like back on George St, and I admit I was put off because it served Asian cuisine, but I can confirm it’s actually well worth it and for once, doesn’t taste like my parents’ cooking.

It’s essentially a degustation plus up to three extra courses (2 savoury and 1 sweet) to finish up. Since everything on the menu looked tasty, I went for three courses.

Prawn tempura with daikon, soy, shiso, prawn cream and dashi jelly

 Who doesn’t love fried stuff with a creamy sauce! This tasty morsel was a great way to start the night. It set us up nicely for what was to come.

Chicken wing with egg batter and konbu butter

The wings were beautifully frenched – in fact, I’d never even thought about frenching chicken wings. I assume that the cooking process also shrinks it to the circle shapes so there’s no wastage from the trimming process. This was so enjoyable and is even a published recipe!

Pork belly with coriander, chilli and rice roll

These burgers were tiny! It was also interesting having a rice bun as it had a different texture from normal buns. Pretty tasty!

I’m such a sucker for pretty seafood. Always looks good from all angles! Easily the prettiest dish. I loved how it was served on a mother of pearl shell.

Kangaroo Island scallop with drunken condiment and ginger vinaigrette

These scallops are beautiful, and even though I’ve had plenty in Adelaide, this was one unique in the fact that they left the frills on, since they’re actually edible. Plus, I love these scallops because they have such gorgeous purple shells and are huge! Definitely one of my favourites for the night.

King George Whiting with apple, artichoke and red date infusion

The fish was cooked superbly and the red date infusion was interesting. I don’t particularly like red date, and I prefer my fish salty rather than sweet.

Mapo tofu with avocado, sea urchin and eight precious herbs

This was a bit of a theatric experience as a hot pot was actually brought out during the previous course and soy milk, a setting agent and chilli were combined and left to sit on heat. And voila, mapo tofu was ready when the bowl of herbs and sea urchin came out. It wasn’t too chilli and I quite enjoyed it. This was also the first time I didn’t mind the flavour of sea urchin – it actually tasted very fresh and creamy here. I’d previously stayed away from it since I didn’t particularly like it and wasn’t sure about its freshness from your average sushi place.

Sterling caviar with soft poached egg, crispy potato and allemande sauce

This marks the beginning of the options for the rest of the menu. Look at this caviar! It had a very delicate flavour and my palate hasn’t been trained enough to be able to taste out some of the descriptors commonly used for high end caviar, such as nuttiness, though.

Braised beef sukiyaki with winter melon, lettuce and tendon

This was a dish my brother chose, and we were both super excited when we saw that one of the pieces was cooked rare – what better way to enjoy such wonderful beef!

Pigeon Zheng Shui Dan with prawn stuffed eggplant and strange flavour dressing

What else would I choose but my beloved all-purpose pigeon as my second main option! This was cooked so well and it was so tasty, albeit a tad too salty for my liking, and it felt like I had just eaten the happiest pigeon in the world it was that pretty, big and tender. I love pigeon!

Partridge with chestnut filled lotus root and bone marrow poached quince

This was my mum’s choice, though I think my brother and I did recommend it because of the lotus root. Plus, having partridges and pheasants is a must! I’m all for game birds.

“Buddha jumps over the wall” pork shoulder, clams, guanciale and white cut chicken

My dad ordered this one once we understood the meaning of the title. In Chinese cuisine, this dish is made out of luxurious ingredients that are so delicious, that it essentially makes Buddha jump over a wall and he becomes un-vegetarian.

I failed to document this one – this was a lamb dish which is most likely suffolk lamb, however I can’t remember how it was cooked, and it’s not up on their website. My brother preferred the beef dish to the lamb.

Moscato custard with rhubarb, apple and streusel

This was the pre-dessert, and I love custard. The ripple effect through the ice cream was also pretty neat, mainly because in a recent episode of Masterchef, one of the contestants had managed to turn their ice cream pink instead of rippley.

Sweet potato braised in soy caramel with lemon curd, miso ice cream, sesame and candied shiso

This was my brother’s dessert option – we were curious about it because it had sweet potato and a curious miso ice cream. The highlight of this memory though, is not the food but rather the extraordinary wait staff (and his cute Rockpool lapel pin), as we had forgotten what the crystallised petal was, and our waiter then brought our minds back to the beginning of the night and mentioned that we had started with this ingredient too – shiso!

Vacherin of pandan custard with coconut parfait, jasmine sorbet and lime granita

This was my dessert choice, and just look at that thin meringue shell! How impressive! I absolutely love pandan, and together with the lime granita, it was an absolute winner for me.

Date tart – original since 1984

And last but not least, the petit fours: The Rockpool Date Tart. Impossible to take a non ugly picture of, but tasty!

This was a great experience with wonderful waiters and delicious food. I am so glad that I’ve visited, and now that they have a bar open, it’s even more accessible than even before!