There’s a very important debate that goes on in the world: where do you find the best burger?
In Australia, many claim that the David Blackmore full blood wagyu burger is the best. It’s also the most expensive, coming in at $24. After I tried my first one, I definitely agreed. Nothing could beat it. I kept stumbling upon places with burgers. Then I would sample the David Blackmore full blood wagyu burger again to recalibrate myself. Each time, it won. No other burger compares.
However, my opinion matters only to me. The burger’s flavours work so well for me that I haven’t found better since (Mary’s gives it a run for its money though!). Mind you, I don’t look terribly hard, but I try where I can.
What do I look for in a burger? A lovely toasted brioche bun. Yes, it has to be brioche. It has to have a decent amount of toastiness, where if you pat on it with your fingers, it doesn’t depress, rather, the whole thing moves down if you do so.
What’s unique about Rockpool Bar & Grill is that the tomato and lettuce are served separately and sprinkled lightly with sea salt. It stops wilting and weeping, but honestly, I don’t think anyone actually puts it in the burger. It’s a great side! And the burger manages well enough without the salad.
An important accompaniment to this wonderful burger is their hand cut fries and house made tomato sauce. That is one amazing tomato sauce! It’s actually why I order the chips!
The other important accompaniment, the premium wine they have. I’ve been lucky enough to have always seen a pinot noir on the menu, and they are absolutely amazing – so aromatic and soft berry flavours! I get these where I can mainly because they’re served by the half glass, but they are also indeed gorgeous.
The beauty in this burger, for me, is wonderful sweetness of the zuni pickle, and the medium-rare, full flavoured wagyu patty. It really is the meat that does it, and I love sweet pickles rather than sour – overly sour pickles is the reason most kids grow up hating them (yes, I’m talking about you, McDonald’s). Once you get great pickles, you love them!
The bacon adds the right amount of saltiness, and red onions once again emphasise sweetness. I’m all about the sweetness.
In my 2013 visit to Melbourne, I visited the Rockpool Bar & Grill there too. One of my goals is to taste the same/similar food in different regions to check for consistency, and where different, what I like and how each place stands out.
I was initially expecting it to be similar to the Sydney bar, however, it was quite different. Sydney is the only location where the main restaurant is separated from the bar. There’s far less distinction in the Melbourne restaurant. The wine menu was also quite different, and when I asked about it, the waiter mentioned that each Rockpool Bar & Grill has its own identity. They made their own wine lists – I thought that was cool!
However, the burger here wasn’t as great. I don’t recall exactly why or what it was lacking upon my tastebuds though. It’s also unlikely I will visit again since I am so completely satisfied with the Sydney one.
When I managed to visit Perth, that’s when I realised I had to complete the trifecta! It was time to see how this one was same yet different from the other two. The full restaurant menu was available to us, but I had only one goal – to compare burgers, so I had to skip the caviar and all the other wonderful dishes for my quest to find the best David Blackmore full blood wagyu burger.
Look at that wine! Perth also had recommended wines, but I believe these came by the glass. Only Sydney listed half glasses, though this was also a couple of years back now; more places serve half glasses, all you have to do is ask!
I couldn’t get a nice shot because it was just too dark, but essentially it looked the same! There was one big difference with this burger though – it was spicy! The flavour was nice, but due to the chilli element, I couldn’t eat it as quickly. As I don’t have a chilli tolerance, I didn’t prefer this burger. Perhaps those who like chilli find this one better than the Sydney one!
So overall, the Rockpool Bar & Grill Sydney’s David Blackmore full blood wagyu burger is the best burger I’ve ever eaten, and consistently so. Every time I have a disappointing one somewhere else, or need to recalibrate, I come here to get my fix.
Even after all this talk of burgers though, it’s important to note that their desserts are equally as fantastic and must be sampled at each location!
A blackberry sorbet with vanilla cream in a tuile. What delicious fruity sorbet! And a great “budget” dessert, both on the wallet and on the stomach.
This funky one is the BFG (black forest gateau), apparently inspired by one of Heston’s dishes. Don’t let the picture fool you – Rockpool Bar & Grill make very large desserts! I almost can’t finish them after having a burger and chips. I love the smothering of cream!
Both the above desserts came are from Sydney.
But the best RB&G dessert I’ve had comes from Perth: Almond milk ice cream, strawberries, rose jelly, almond praline. Oh you beautiful, gentle dessert. The ice cream was so good and there was this amazing sprinkle of praline crunch on some super sweet strawberries that made them mindblowingly sweet, and the rose jelly was so subtle and not at all overpowering that added that extra bit of texture to the dish. So. Amazing. Gorgeous. Wonderful. This is worth the trip to Perth.
Overall, the main reason I keep coming back here is because it’s accessible. No reservations required, and you can enjoy a great meal. It’s a smorgasbord of some of the best wine lists in the country, and some seriously delish food. I’m glad each Rockpool Bar & Grill is unique, it gives me things to compare with, while maintaining consistency across their service and feel.