Crown Casino, 8 Whiteman St, Southbank (map)
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!