Celebrating @ Rockpool Bar and Grill, Southbank Melbourne

A little while ago now, my boyfriend and I were talking about how we wanted to celebrate 6 months together. The decision? Extravagantly at one of Melbourne’s finest restaurants…why not??

Rockpool Bar and Grill, located inside the Crown complex on Melbourne’s Southbank was Neil Perry’s first Melbourne restaurant after unprecedented success seen from his Sydney Restaurant Rockpool.

As we walked through the front doors and down the dark hallway, we entered a different world juxtaposed from the busy crown complex surrounding it. Greeted with warmth we were escorted to our table.

The room, open and vast, manages to offer intimacy through the careful design and the use of rich dark woods and leathers.  It oozes class and history from the moment you step inside.

Wine lists, accompanied by servers with more knowledge than you’d imagine were provided in an instant. With a bottle of sparkling on the way, we were given our menus (dietary requirements marked on mine).

The service here surpasses most of my experiences, not only do they act with class and respect, they manage to do all of this with a warm unpretentious manner making you feel nothing but comfortable and looked after.

The menu just screams the freshest of ingredients.  Entrees consist of Cold starters of mostly seafood, often raw, hot starters of both seafood and meats as well as inventive salads and a pasta section.

I chose the Grilled king prawns, split and marinated to start which may have been the best prawns I have ever tasted. Cooked in only oil and an enticing mixture of herbs they managed to be rich and complex on the taste buds. It was creamy and intense without being at all too rich.

The mains again rely heavily on the freshest meats and seafood’s. Lobster, muscles, snapper, duck and flathead are features on the main menu, with chicken coming from the wood fired rotisserie. There is one vegetarian main for those who don’t eat meat.

Finally…the steak. Choose from 11 different types of beef from the wood fired grill ranging in type, size, age and feeding type. Once you’ve chosen your steak, choose from sauces and condiments to accompany you meat. Finally choose from the extensive and varied menu of sides from fried onion rings, and ‘mac and cheese’ to boiled greens and wood fired broccolini.

Neither of us could go past ordering a steak.  I accompanied mine with broccolini from the wood oven. Our steaks (mine carefully made for the coeliac), came sliced and accompanied with only a slice of lemon on large white plates…a very different experience to most restaurants. The focus here is on the quality of the single ingredient used and this is unmistakable in the taste.

I’m not a huge meat eater myself, living with a vegetarian, yet I do love a good steak when the opportunity arises. This however was something different… The meat, cooked on the rarer side of my usual medium, was incredible. Soft and tender and flavoursome.

Unfortunately, due to having a booking at the earlier seating, we took too long with our meals to have time left for dessert and were kindly asked to move to the bar so they could serve another party.

I do emphasise here that an entrée, main and a side for one can often come to over $100; however every bite is worth it! So… if your on a budget like most of us, save your pennies and take a night to experience everything that Rockpool Bar and Grill has to offer.

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