Saturday, 28 November 2009

Steak coma, Rockpool

Rockpool Bar & Grill
Crown Casino, 8 Whiteman St, Southbank (map)
8648 1900


As I mentioned in my post about Marque, my Californian friend Sam and her travel companion, Naval Lieutenant ("Yes, ma'am") Levi, came to visit last month. They were only in Melbourne for three days in the middle of the week, so I took a day of annual leave to show them around on the Wednesday. We started with coffee at Outpost (which they LOVED), then we explored Prahran and St Kilda. I then asked them what they'd like to do for lunch.

"Well ma'am," said Lieutenant Levi, "I'm a man who loves his steak. Take us to the best steakhouse in town!"


I'd never been to Rockpool before, so I figured here was a perfect opportunity to check it out (plus being on the Crown Promenade would be nice for my tourists). It took us an age to find a car park, and we didn't arrive at the restaurant until after 2:30pm. We didn't leave til nearly 5pm. Late lunch was followed by a bar crawl, taking in Little Creatures, the Cherry Tree, Match, the Croft Institute and finally finishing up on the rooftop at Madame Brussels at 1am, drinking Pimms and nibbling chicken sandwiches. Fun, but exhausting!

Di Chirico breadKnife

It almost goes without saying that the setting and the service at Rockpool were impeccable. We devoured the D Chirico bread and admired the beautiful Thiers Chambriard knives. Levi was so taken with the watercolour prints of cows on the back of the menu (see top photo) that he took them home, and intends to have a set of four of them framed when he gets back to Indiana. :)

We also oohed and ahhed at the meat being aged in the fridge, and the iron bark logs burning in the kitchen to give the meats that smoky taste.

Rockpool meatRockpool kitchen

Rather than fiddle around with entrees or pastas or somesuch, we decided to cut to the chase and just order an enormous steak each, with a bunch of sides to share. BOOYAH!

Rockpool lunch

One the recommendation of Jackie, I'd ordered the Cape Grim (dry aged 36 month old grass fed) rib-eye on the bone (350g, 66 days, $58). It really was the best steak I can remember eating.

Cape Grim Rib-eye on the Bone

Sammy ordered the David Blackmore full blood wagyu leg steak (240g, 26 days, $49). I had a taste - completely different from mine, full of rich marbled goodness.

David Blackmore Full Blood Wagyu

As well as condiments of mustards, barbecue sauce and harissa, the steaks were served with side sauces of horseradish cream and sauce béarnaise. To share, we ordered the cauliflower and cheese ($9), the baby kipfler potatoes sautéed with wagyu fat and rosemary ($10), the sautéed mushrooms ($15) and the long braised, melting green beans with herbs ($10). They were all excellent, especially the cauliflower and the beans that were so soft they were almost falling apart.

Rockpool lunch

By the time we'd finished off our plates all three of us were pretty much in a steak coma, but when dessert menus were placed before us, Sammy gave an excited yelp. "Oh my god! They have pavlova!" Pavlova is Sammy's favourite dessert - a legacy from her monther's years living in Australia - but she'd never had it in a restaurant before. We ordered a serve of the delicious passionfruit pavlova ($18) and shared it between the three of us. Loved the tartness of the passionfruit.

Passionfruit pavlova

So, what did the 'mericans think of Rockpool? Well, when Levi took a bite of his steak, he closed his eyes for a moment and put down his cutlery. "Uh, Claire, I don't often do this, but this is worth it." I looked on uncomprehendingly as he waved over our waiter. Levi gave him an appraising look, and then said in a deadly serious, authoritative tone: "My compliments to the chef, please". :)


Oh and here's the "stunningly anal" (tm Jess) map I drew for the Americans so that they could explore Fitzroy, Carlton and the city the following day. Not a bad effort, in my opinion - seeing as I drew it while drunk at 2am!

Claire's "stunningly anal" map


Unknown said...

sounds like a tour de force of Melbourne - my favourite part is that you ended up eating chicken sandwiches at Madame Brussels

Unknown said...

i've tried their Potato & Cabbage Gratin, Duck Confit with Grilled Mango & their Black Lip Abalone Steak! awesome stuff, but i loved the latter the most! try that the next time round! :)

claire said...

Ha, thanks Gourmet Chick. I thought that Croft and MB would be good bars to take tourists to. The chicken sandwiches were eaten a good nine hours after the steak!

Hey Mica. It being my first visit to Rockpool I just wanted to focus on the steak, but I'm keen to try the other items on their menu at some stage :)

Injera said...

I've only been to Rockpool once, at lunch for the burger. This definitely makes me want to go back... Soon! But I have no idea which steak I'd choose.

(Oh, and now I also have a hankering for chicken sandwiches.)

Sarah said...

Looks great!! That bearnaise sauce especially - I want to stick my face in that silver sauce boat. Yummmmm

xox Sarah

Esz said...

Love the term Steak Coma! It's a good place to be. :-D

Your map is cool too - very good effort considering your state of soberness. :-P

claire said...

Hi Injera. I don't blame you for having a hankering for chicken sandwiches, the ones at Madame Brussels (poached chicken with chive and mayo) are excellent - second only to the ones my Mum makes with lime zest! :)

Thanks Sarah! The bearnaise was to die for. So many great condiments/sauces.

Ha, thanks Esz! I'm rather proud I remembered all the tram lines to add to the map.
Oh, and I tried to comment on your blog but it stuffed up: your sketch of Rizzo is AWESOME! :)

Vee said...

Ooooh, that's the first I've heard of anyone in real life paying their compliments to the chef. What was the reaction?!?

temasek said...

chicken, mayo and chives ... is there a better sandwhich filling than that ... I don't think so.

Oh and Claire, I may need that map.

(have you had the steaks at the Station Hotel in Footscray? ... and I'm off to Cutler & Co, my first time, in a couple of weeks ... cannot wait!!)

Anonymous said...


Polenton said...

Claire, how would you compare the steak at Rockpool to those at other well known Melbourne steak restaurants like Vlados, Charcoal Grill on the Hill (Kew).. etc?

claire said...

Hi Vee. Our waiter was a consummate professional: he thanked Lieutenant Levi and promised to pass on him compliments to the chef.

You're welcome to a photocopy of the map, temasek! :)
Haven't been to the Station Hotel yet, we planned to go there for my housemate's birthday but we couldn't get a booking. It's definitely on my list of places to visit.
How did you enjoy Cutler?

Momijitomitsukoshi: :)

Alas Polenton, I haven't been to either of those other steakhouses - very keen to visit Vlado's in particular, given its iconic Melbourne status. How do you think they compare?

Polenton said...

Claire, I went to Rockpool for the first time a couple of weeks ago. The quality of the meat was excellent... but I wouldn't say it knocked my socks off.. the sides were nice without being great. So it was a "nice" meal.. for the price it should have been stunning. I find the main course steak at Vlados to be excellent.. but the overall set menu to be way too meat heavy (=difficult to digest) - and below-par salad and mustard.. So in short am yet to find the place that offers the complete package despite both Rockpool and Vlados having some very strong points.