Today's entry is about my dinner recently at the relaunched Rockpool. Rockpool is Neil Perry's flagship restaurant ans is a Sydney institution that has just turned 25 years old. It has grown up now and has a new home in the heritage-listed Burns Philp and Co. building.
After all these years of indulging, I am not sure why Rockpool is the only 3 hatted restaurant in Sydney that I have yet to eat at. Maybe it's because at Rockpool there's a gwai lo doing food influenced by Chinese cuisine (as well as other Asian cuisines). But if there is a white man that knows Chinese cuisine and how to run a successful restaurant, Neil Perry is your man!
|The colour scheme at Rockpool is most certainly black|
|The chandeliers and the dining area on the top level|
|Bar area and open kitchen in background|
The dinner menu (click on the photo for an enlarged version) is very different to anything else offered in Sydney. I was confused about how this menu worked when I looked at their website so needed the full rundown from the waiter. The meal starts off with 8 different snacks (or beginning the journey). The journey then continues with either one choice ($125 total), two choices ($145) or three choices ($165) from an a la carte menu containing mains and desserts. So it's like having a tasting menu followed by courses from an a la carte menu.
Rockpool also relaunched with a new lunch menu ($52 for one course, $69 for two courses and $79 for three courses). The food is very different to dinner and is worth checking out as it looks to good value for food in a three hat restaurant.
I decided to go with three choices tonight. I went for 2 savoury options and one dessert, but you can pick any combination of sweet and savouries depending on your mood (you could go with 3 savoury choices or even 3 desserts if you're a sweet tooth).
Beginning the journey
|Prawn tempura with daikon and soy|
|Chicken wing with egg batter and konbu butter|
|Lobster with trout roe and tenax on a dashi chawan mushi|
|Chirashi zushi of tuna, kingfish and squid|
|Snapper with peas, lobster coral miso|
|Snow crab with potato, cracked wheat, goji, prawn powder and XO|
|Duck parfait with plum jam|
|Honey and spelt bread|
|Fresh ricotta and Rockpool butter|
After a bit of a break, which was much welcomed after all those snacks and bread,the a la carte choices were brought to the table.
|Rich and noble Balmain bug congee, almond tofu, star anise peanuts and Chinese fried bread|
|Beef sirloin and cheek with winter melon, gem lettuce and tendon|
|Beef cheek, winter melon, beef sirloin, tendon (clockwise)|
|Salad with palm sugar vinaigrette|
|Beetroot and pineapple|
Your choice to finish
|Vacherin pandan custard with coconut parfait, jasmine sorbet and lime granita|
|Inside the dessert|
|Date tart - original since 1984|
I never went to the original Rockpool but wow, the rebooted version of Rockpool is mighty fine! This was definitely my best meal since getting back from Europe! Rockpool successfully uses familiar Chinese flavours to create exciting, refined and contemporary food. This meal left me buzzing with excitement and I know I will be raving about this meal for months to come (like I am now!). I can't wait to be back to try other dishes (the new lunch format looks awfully tempting!).
Highlight: Wow, the entire meal was a highlight! But if I had to choose my favourite course, it would have to be the Balmain Bug congee.
Lowlight: 3 choices in addition to all the snacks at the start is an incredible amount of food though!
Overall: Neil Perry has turned fine dining on its head with a unique dining experience. A meal here is truly a memorable and exciting that is fully deserving of its three-hat status. Rockpool is Modern Australian cuisine with Asian influences at its finest and easily one of Sydney's best restaurants. 9/10 (Outstanding)
Contact no: 02 9252 1888