For my birthday, my lovely work friends A, A, S, S & R gave me a voucher to Rockpool Bar & Grill. I went to Rockpool years ago when it first opened for a big celebration dinner and I remember sharing a rib-eye for two with Mr M. I enjoyed my meal at Rockpool but found it pretty formal and a bit impersonal, I didn’t love the enormous chairs as everyone was spaced quite far apart, making it difficult to talk to the other people at the table (we were with a group of about 10).
Since that time I haven’t been back to the restaurant proper, but have enjoyed a couple of late night meals and fabulous wine at the Rockpool Bar. I like the bar as I think it is more intimate and less formal. As a bonus, you can choose from the bar menu (which has a range of cheaper items, including the fabulous Wagyu burger) as well as the full restaurant menu. You cannot book the bar but I have never had trouble getting a spot there.
So it was decided, voucher in hand, Mr M & I headed to Rockpool Bar for a mid-week meal and tipple.
Mr M considered ordering the burger (David Blackmore’s Full Blood Wagyu Hamburger with Bacon, Gruyere Cheese and Zuni Pickle $22.00) however he had inadvertently eaten a burger for lunch and thought a two burger day was a little excessive. Instead, the wagyu bolognaise took his fancy, although we were a little perturbed to see the bolognaise on offer on the restaurant menu (with handcut fettuccini, $25) and on the bar menu (with spaghetti, $24). We were told by the waitress that the only difference between the two meals was the type of pasta, so Mr M chose the fettuccini from the restaurant menu:
This was clearly not an enormous meal, though thankfully Mr M wasn’t very hungry. We couldn’t help but wonder whether the bar menu version of this was a little bigger. Mr M thought that the fresh fettuccini was delicious and the sauce was nice, although he wasn’t sure if the fact that the meat was wagyu really translates in a bolognaise sauce.
My choice was better - Wagyu Oyster Blade Braised in Red Wine with Gremolata and Potato Puree ($39.00), also from the restaurant menu:
The meat was incredibly tender and succulent, the sauce was rich and the gremolata added a fresh and salty hit. The sauce had a sweetness to it which I didn’t love but Mr M enjoyed – I think this is a peculiar issue of mine, similarly I found the beef cheek at Movida Aqui a little sweet but Mr M loved it. Despite the sweetness I did really enjoy the dish.
On to sweets proper, I saw the word ‘macaron’ on the menu and my decision was made - Vanilla Macaron with Strawberry Ripple Ice Cream and Strawberry Salad ($20.00), also from the restaurant menu:
Wow. It looked so beautiful and flavour-wise it worked really well. The strawberry ripple ice-cream was held in place between the macaron by some strawberry jam, which gave sweetness and silkiness. The macaron itself was a little crispy, but the crunch actually worked in the dish, adding textural interest against the smooth, strawberry studded ice-cream. I really liked the little strawberry salad too – it sat on a disc of strawberry jelly and was studded with caramelised pistacchio for crunch and tiny slivers of mint which added a fresh element. Yum!!!
Mr M chose the Orange Jelly Cupcake with Orange BlossomFairy Floss ($6.00), also from the restaurant menu:
Mr M loves citrus, so this was an easy choice for him for dessert. He was a little underwhelmed by the cupcake, but thought the jelly inner and fairy floss elevated the dish.
Overall, it was a good meal, although Mr M felt he could have chosen a bit better. I tend to agree. I think the key focus at Rockpool is unquestionably the meat, so Mr M might have had a better meal had he stuck to something a bit more traditional. My fairly traditional, meat-centric main was delicious. I think we will go back to Rockpool Bar again for a casual meal with excellent food, and thanks to my lovely mates for a great night out!!
8 Whiteman St
Southbank VIC 3006
(03) 8648 1900