As I mentioned yesterday, in the course of my adventures with Nobill and the Chairman I had the chance to have dinner at Rockpool, Sydney on Wednesday evening. [insert cheer here].
This is kind of a big deal – for a start, the price is the first disqualifier from making it a regular haunt… the 8 course degustation menu costs $195 – plus 10% service charge (given the number of people required serving up this menu to 13 of us, it makes sense…) plus the matched wines ($95pp) it runs to a rather a lot more than my pocket could stand. Other features such as the fact it’s primarily a seafood restaurant is another reason I’m even less likely to make it a habit!! But hey, when you have a chance like this, you take it up… they don’t come by every day. It was also a good challenge for me to go beyond my comfort zone and eat food I wouldn’t normally think I’d like (it’s not that I’m fussy – just not particularly adventurous…).
Having said all that, I have seriously tried to get a taste for shellfish and crustaceans, prawns etc but have never been able to culture my palate to them, so when it was decided to go with the full menu I pleaded shellfish allergy to eliminate a few of the elements that I knew wouldn’t go down well.
So, here’s the menu with my added explanations of what it was we were eating. I wish I’d taken photos, but in the end I was a little embarassed to be so ‘uncouth’ as to document it all to that extent… you know, given that I was dining with rather a large number of physicists and ‘people of import’… I can happily say that I totally enjoyed everything laid on my plate – sushi included so, for me, the evening was an unqualified pleasure!
- Sterling caviar on prawn toast – to modify this for me the caviar was served without the prawn. This ‘amuse-bouche’ looked like a monotone freckle (of the chocolate variety) was served on circle of delicate wafer, and while barely a mouthful was delicate and interesting. My first ever caviar and that it was enjoyable was the first bonus of the evening!! Guess Mum’s law of ‘a little bit of everything’ paid off..
- Fragrant crab broth with hand picked queensland mud crab, dashi custard, tapioca and wild bamboo pith – this one had to be modified to suit so I had the ‘vegetarian option’ featuring (wait for it, my other least fave thing) mushrooms. However, it tasted gorgeous and I got past how the mushrooms squeaked/felt and actually, it was lovely!
- Chirashi zushi of tuna, prawn, bonito, ocean trout and squid – this one was served for me without the squid and was amazing – I’ve never gone the raw tuna before and it really was gorgeous… however, in considering eating it in the future I reckon I might have got spoiled by my first real sushi being served at Rockpool so I may still give it a wide berth!!
- Green lip abalone, red braised thirlmere goose, chicken crisp and fine noodles with xo dressing – this one was replaced by Beetroot and horseradish tart with autumn vegetables and beetroot reduction. Here’s where I out myself as a real philistine and say that actually I’m not a big beetroot fan either… and honestly, for whatever reason the 3 things I’m least likely to choose are these… seafood, mushrooms and beetroot. I think it was a cosmic joke by the universe that I had to get over myself and get into it. I’m totally glad I did!
- Crispy whiting with melanda pork belly, artichokes and olives – If you didn’t look carefully you’d have been hard pressed to pick which was the pork belly! It was a tiny button on the plate, perfectly circular and so delicately cooked – gorgeous. But too small!!! Guess we had to save room for the rest!!
- Redgate farms partridge pie with melted leeks and borscht sauce – now if you saw this you’d have said pie? This wasn’t served in a dish, but was a beautiful ball of filled pastry on the plate, the meat and sauce rich without being overpowering and absolutely stunning to look at and taste!
- David blackmore’s full blood wagyu rib eye (score 9+), hot and numbing oyster blade, tendon with soy and rock sugar sauce – I could have eaten this 3x over. Absolutely perfect.
- Pink grapefruit and pine nut tartlet – one acronym. OMG.
- Baked alaska; pear sorbet and spiced mousse – this one looked really impressive but sorbet centre really didn’t cut it for me, felt a bit bland actually.
- Coffee and petits fours – Passionfruit marshmallow, hazelnut in chocolate, mini madelines and salted caramels. *dribbles*
If you’re interested, Be the Foodie has pictures here – not all the images match completely what we had, the menu changes according to season/availability but you’ll certainly get the idea!!
In all, it was a fantastic experience and a really great evening!