On my first visit to Rockpool I was fairly underwhelmed. So much so that I didn’t have dessert for fear of further disappointment. I know, me, not having dessert! It doesn’t make sense. But I now suspect it may have been some ordering choices that were the primary drivers behind this initial impression. I recently returned for round two. It was a work lunch with two charming gents, so I knew company wise there’d be no issues. And I have to say outright that I really enjoyed it.
The fresh baguette slices with indulgently soft butter were a wonderful intro and we snacked on this while perusing the vast menu offered by Rockpool. It is lengthy. If not for the fact I had taken time prior to my visit to carefully consider my three course selection, then I may have been slightly overwhelmed. But as it was I came prepared.
I kept things light to start, selecting the Ceviche of Prawn and Hiramasa Kingfish with Avocado and Cherry Tomatoes $32, followed by the Cape Grim Dry Aged 36 Month Old Dry Aged 36 Month Old Grass Fed Grass Fed Fillet 250g $55. We were were going to share a few sides – Radicchio, Cos and Endive Salad with Palm Sugar Vinaigrette $9, Charcoal Roasted Peppers and Red Onions with Marjoram $15 and Baby Baldivis Kipfler Potatoes Sautéed in Wagyu Fat with Rosemary and Garlic $12. I didn’t order dessert at this point, thought I’d wait and see. Wait on two fronts actually, first to see if my dining companions opted for dessert and secondly, whether I actually had any room for dessert after the first two courses. There always seems to be room for dessert though, so it seemed unlikely it would pose an issue.
The ceviche looked beautiful. Bright splashes of colour with artistic swirls of cucumber ribbons, along with a generous amount of seafood. It had the perfect kick of limey zing, which had infused throughout the prawn and kingfish. The contrasting sweetness from the cherry tomatoes also worked well. I really enjoyed this starter, it presented well, there was some crunch from the greens and had well balanced interesting flavours and size wise I thought it was plenty for me.
Up next was the steak. And they don’t mess about with steak at Rockpool – it’s what they do best. They are a steak restaurant and they know their meat. If you order a fillet then that’s what will arrive on your plate. An impressive tower of lovingly prepared and cooked as you like it meat (medium in this case). It looked delicious, as did all the sides! So we each worked on ensuring we had a little of this and a little of that, not wanting to miss out on any of the taste sensations. There was a delicious sauce that accompanied the meat too. We believe it was a béarnaise. It was magic. Delicious, indulgent saucey magic and it made the steak sing. Even by itself though the steak was just incredible. Melt in your mouth, close your eyes and happily sigh kinda incredible. And it was at this point I realised that’s where I’d gone askew last time – ordering pasta for a main in a place where the focus is steak wasn’t the right move. I blissfully worked my way through this amazing piece of meat, occasionally partaking in one of the crispy potatoes or some of the well charred and very tasty capsicum and finishing with some of the crunchy salad. It all worked and it was all delicious. I was a Rockpool convert!
And thankfully it was agreed around the table that dessert seemed like a great idea, so there was one order of the tiramisu and two of us, myself included, couldn’t go past this decadent sounding chocolate creation. And if I thought it sounded decadent then I should have braced myself for the chocolate vision that arrived. The glossy ganache coating literally glistened! Like some sort of chocolate gem. More happy sighs. It was an indulgently rich affair, all that chocolate mousse with the elegant gold leaf adorning the top. Chocolate fans would not be disappointed with this dessert and since I do fall into that camp I thought it was pretty darn special.
So there you go, a second visit and I had completely changed my tune. It highlighted to me that if you perhaps aren’t all that sold on a place after your initial visit, then it can well be worth a return visit to give it another chance to impress. Because Rockpool crew for round two you impressed the hell outta me J