Those that know me or regular readers will know I've coined the hash tag #auditwidow as Steve's workload has been intense in the last 6 months and included 8 hour days every day over Easter as well as pretty much every weekend in between. The average working month is 165 hours but in April Steve did that plus an additional 140 hours! Lucky for him, he found the work interesting and challenging. Less lucky for me! But it did mean we could enjoy a meal out as recompense for his commitment and hard work and I guess for my loss of a husband for that time! What better place than Rockpool - lamd of the corporate lunch and corporate Amex!
- Pine Mushrooms and Scampi with Sage, Burnt Butter and Soft White Polenta
- Wood Fire Grilled Quail with Smoked Tomatoes and Black Olives
The quail was just as much of a high point but completely different on the flavour notes to the scampi and mushrooms. Actually we pretty much stayed on the high notes for the remainder of the meal. The quail was tangy with vinegar, salty with the olives and a hint of smoke from the tomatoes. So easily could this have become over seasoned and over flavoured but it just erred on the right side and was a hit with the tastebuds.
Two Italian style dishes but so very different - one mellow and gentle and the other vibrant and challenging. A perfect combination really.
Part of the joy at Rockpool is selecting side dishes and that's a menu unto itself. Coupled with that joy is the creeping cost as the desire to have more and more sets in! But with the help of our waiter we chose 3 side dishes (far far in excess of what we needed but we like choice) to accompany the steaks so our main course journey looked like this:
- Minderoo Yearling Iron Grass Fed Rump - 500g
- Cape Grim Dry Aged 36 month old Grass Fed Fillet - 250g
- Mac and Cheese
- House Chopped Salad Dressed Table Side
- Sauteed Brussel Sprouts with Speck and Chestnuts
I recall the mac and cheese as being mustardy and therefore not my thing, from previous visits but Steve assured me the last time he came it wasn't at all. And it's definitely not mustardy and is intensely cheesy but not overly creamy. More salty and piquant which is good so it's less heavy but it is mac and cheese so it has to be justifiably rich and dense. I found the cheese sauce to be grainy which was unexpected like the roux had split and would have preferred a smooth sauce but the flavours made up for it.
The sprouts were delicious with that iron charred bitterness and slightly crisp outer leaves and then with the odd spike of salty speck and sweet chestnut. And the chopped salad was a beautifully coloured array of julienne vegetables with slivers of chorizo and cheese that was presented to us as a mise en place before being tossed together expertly by a waiter.
And these side dishes lifted up the star of the show - the steak. The Minderoo was so flavourful with a bitingly dense texture whereas the fillet was cleaner and leaner in terms of flavour. The fillet is certainly classically pleasing but the Minderoo outshone with its stronger personality and bite.
- Madagascan Vanilla Slice with Tonka
- Warm Fruit Crumble with Vanilla Sauce and Icecream
The vanilla slice was effectively a millefeuille construction of pastry layers and heavily scented vanilla cream with a snowfall of icing sugar. Classic and pure I would have loved some berries or a light fruit garnish just to cut through some of the sweetness but delicious all the same.
We were there for well over 3 hours but not one moment was lacklustre. My general opinion is that for good steak there are more budget friendly options if it's just good steak you want - the Station Hotel in Footscray comes to mind. Rockpool hasn't become any more accessible; it's still an occasion restaurant and I envy the lifestyle of those that can casually call in for lunch in the main restaurant. But given special occasions need the right amount of pomp and circumstance, Rockpool really is the ticket and is worth that premium.