On our first night in Sydney, An and I went to Rockpool, Neil Perry’s restaurant in The Rocks (that’s near the Harbour Bridge and Opera House). I’ve seen Neil Perry’s programs on Lifestyle, read about him in basically every Australian food publication out there, and had been dying to try his restaurant for ages. It has the reputation as being the best restaurant in Australia, so we booked early. We booked in January. When I rang to book back then, I asked for 8 o’clock.
Restaurant woman: I can do 7:30 or 8:30.
See, it fills up quick.
Me outside Rockpool
The waiters were very efficient and friendly, and not at all intimidating. (I had been worried that they'd be terribly posh and snooty). Our main waitress was so gorgeous and sweet that we wanted to take her home and put her on our shelf!
And on to the food...
Drinks and Bread
Fruit punch (left), house-made bread roll, Campari & Orange (right)
The bread is free. And it’s really good quality.
Tortellino with goat's cheese, sultanas and pine nuts. (Pink Murray River Salt in the background)
The canapé is also included. I love goat’s cheese, and the pine nut sultana combination is always a winner (remember the pappardelle?)
Stir Fried Lobster and Kangaroo Island Chicken with Water Chestnuts, Shiitake Mushrooms, Hand Cut Noodles and Red Curry Sauce
Spring Bay Scallops with Sweet Corn Crepe, Fragrant Lemongrass and Mussel Butter
These scallops were amazing – so fresh and perfectly cooked, the crepe had a wonderfully grainy sweet corn filling, and the butter really was fragrant. An tried one scallop, and he loved it too.
Pan Fried Snapper with Pici Noodles, Hand Pounded Pesto and Sweet Cherry Tomatoes
I didn't try any of this, but apparently it was quite good. I’ve actually got a recipe for it in a magazine somewhere… I might post it up later if anyone wants it.
And my main... the famous $60 seafood stew. How lovely is the presentation? The scallops in there were fantastic, as were the prawns, clams, the yabbie and fish. Unfortunately, a couple of the mussels were a bit iffy. They were fused shut, and when I finally managed to prise them open, of course they were off. Neil Perry what are you doing?! However, the two yukky mussels didn’t detract from the fabulousness of the dish overall. The broth was salty and warmly infused with the heady aroma of saffron. And the crostini were beautiful - crunchy but not hard, as some crostini tend to be.
Stew of Scampi, Kingfish, Whiting, Spring Bay Scallops, Squid and Prawn with Mussel and Saffron Sauce, Aioli
The empty plate
The salad is included in the meal as well. I can’t remember exactly what was in it, but I know there was chicory and radicchio, which were lovely and crunchy and bitter, which contrasted well against the dressing. I used some of the leaves to scoop up the remaining garlicky aioli.
With the dessert, mine actually came first and I finished it before An’s arrived. The waitress made a mistake – An had asked for “Mousse Cake” and she’d heard “Muscat”. Whoops! But not a problem at all; as I said, we had already fallen in love with her and wanted to take her home.
'Summer Berries and Cream'
I was having a tough time deciding between the desserts, so I asked our waitress what this ‘Summer Berries and Cream’ thing was.
Waitress: It’s strawberries, blackberries and raspberries, with a cream cheese ice cream, house-made shortbread and a mascarpone sauce.
Me: Did you say cream cheese ice cream?
Me: I’ll take it.
It was absolutely divine. That’s all I have to say about it.
An’s dessert... “Orgasmic!”
Chocolate Mousse Cake with Four Tastes (chocolate covered coffee beans, caramelised hazelnuts, candied orange and chocolate honeycomb)
Coffee & Petits Fours
It’s $8.50 for coffee, but you get a little cake with it. One small, sweet mouthful to perfectly round off a lovely meal.
Cafe Latte, Espresso
Raspberry and Mascarpone Cake
What more can I say? A wonderful meal, lovely ambience and fantastic waiters. The whole time I was there I kept thinking "Wow, I have to come back here! And bring my family!" Rockpool's many awards are displayed on a wall, and are very well deserved.
And on a completely random note... I saw a huge cockroach swimming in the toilet. It didn't bother me, but I thought it would be funny to share.
Following our meal, An & I took a cab back to the hotel, got changed and went out with the crew for a night of fun...