Today we celebrate my mum’s birthday and so we took her somewhere nice for dinner seeing that she’s always cooking for us. Rockpool had recently opened at Burswood so we booked to see what all the fuss is all about.
After trying out Rockpool Sydney, the Perth instalment had a lot to live up to. With Neil Perry bringing his signature steakhouse here, it has definitely attracted a lot of attention. We managed to score a booking on a Saturday night but we could only get the table at 6pm and had to be out by 8.30 at the latest which was fine seeing I didn’t really want my mum to have dinner at 9pm.
The entrance to Rockpool Bar & Grill Perth located next to the reception area in the main lobby is impressive. The massive wooden double doors opens up to by a long hall lined with candles amidst modern artwork. In between the candles are glimpses of their steak aging room and wine bottles which causes one to feel up with much anticipation. The moderate walk reaches double glass doors which automatically open presenting the large open main restaurant. The bar was on the right should diners feel like a couple of pre-dinner drinks prior to sitting for dinner and on the left is the impressive and massive kitchen.
The kitchen is Rockpool’s main focus which is open and well-lit allows diners to view the food preparation process. The staff are busy preparing meals, each in their station and you can’t even hear them speak. The exhaust fans are silent yet they were that powerful, the cooking smells are not wafting throughout the main restaurant. It is definitely a well designed and thought out kitchen.
The décor in the main dining area is warm and inviting with many finishing touches of modern design and modest elegance giving an upmarket yet relaxed atmosphere reflecting the millions of dollars spent on the fit out. Rockpool hires about 200 staff and they run both lunch and dinner service during the week and on weekends as well.
We were ushered to our table close to the kitchen and given their menu, which comes out on an A3 sized daily printed sheet. We were stoked that we were able to take a couple home with us as it had the date of my mum’s birthday on it. We started with a couple of champagnes and a martini to kick off our festivities. After our orders were taken, some warm crusty bread and butter arrived on our table to wet out appetites.
Mum & I decided to share a couple of entrees to start that were the Alaskan king crab cocktail and the fresh vongole clams steamed with Serrano ham, white wine and flageolet beans. The Alaskan king crabs were so sweet and succulent but the presentation was just a little plain. It was piled next to shredded lettuce and a pool of homemade cocktail sauce but I must say the crab itself did make up for the presentation. The cocktail sauce, too, was light with a small amount of spiciness and the overall entree seemed light and refreshing for an entree.
The saltiness of the ham, the tartness from the white wine along with the beans were the base flavours for the broth. The vongoles were so fresh and pretty well sized too. Such simple flavours yet so elegantly delicious.
John ordered the sautéed White Rocks veal sweetbreads with Moroccan eggplant, cumin mayonnaise and harrisa and that was excellent. I’m normally is not a sweetbread fan because of the strong taste but it didn’t have it as it was masked by the cumin mayonnaise and homemade harrisa. Well done, I say.
I must say we didn’t wait long for mains, I think they had the timing perfect. Mum ordered David Blackmore’s dry aged full blood wagyu sirloin cut cooked medium rare and it was probably the highest grade of steaks and most expensive one on offer at Rockpool. Cooked on a wood fired grill, the slightly sea-salted steak’s exterior had a slight charcoal taste and the inside on the other hand was a red medium rare which for this fillet meant a lot of (good) tender redness. The steak came with a piece of lemon and along with condiments if you wanted it but mum didn’t want any. I guess if it was me, I wouldn’t want any as well and enjoy the meat for what it is.
I ordered the wagyu chuck braised in red wine with gremolata and potato puree which probably needed a little more time in the pot. It was slightly on the tough side but the flavours were really good hence I gave ½ a point off here. The potato puree was so smooth and beautiful.
John obviously being the lover of pork ordered the Jarrahdene pork with mustard fruits and aged balsamic. It was fantastic! The crackling was well crisp and crunchy and the meat cooked tender and retaining flavour. It was a decent size serve too as there were plenty of pork pieces and John thoroughly enjoyed it. The pork was served with pieces of fruit which were like sweet candied fruit jellies along with the aged balsamic that matched the pork excellently.
To go with our mains, we had to order the cauliflower and cabbage gratin. When I went to Rockpool in Sydney, we ordered the potato gratin and it was delicious. The creamy goodness from the cheese was so good, so smooth and poured over perfectly cooked cauliflower and cabbage. One word, delicious!
We also ordered mushy peas with slow cooked egg and this is Rockpool’s version of mushy peas and it’s a pretty good take of it. The first time we had mushy peas was when we were in Leeds and eating this dish sure brought back memories. The mushy peas were well cooked, still holding its shape but still having that mushiness. The slow cooked egg absolutely made the dish, the yolk was half cooked on the inside and you would have to break the yolk and mix it all up.
With the mains done, I was itching to see what was on the desert menu and got excited with plenty of chocolate choices! We ordered the chocolate jaffa mousse cake which I absolutely loved! It was a light and fluffy jaffa mouse over a chocolate biscuit base and chocolate over the cake.
We also had to order the salted caramel butters which looked like lollies in a jar. They were yummy, buttery caramel with bits of salt through it. There was a fair bit in the glass so we took the leftovers home to enjoy the next day.
To add to our chocolaty desert, we ordered a petit four which was the cashew and sesame binded together with caramel added into this chocolate “bark” to make a crunchy seed and nut chocolate dish.
Mum also got a complimentary chocolate cupcake with a candle for her which was very nice of them to do so. The cupcake was delicious, chocolate velvety cake topped with smooth icing.
Along with the coffee that John ordered, they also gave us a glass filled with caramel popcorn. What a way to end the meal!
The cost of the meal was over $500, well worth it as the food was amazing. With most of the reviews that I have been reading, a lot mentioned the service at Rockpool was pretty average but we had the best service there. We didn’t feel rushed throughout our dining experience even though we had to be out by 8.30pm. Richard, who was well informed with their wine list, was attentive and informative with helping us match the wine with our meal. A point I must make is that he mentioned that he had only tried a couple of dishes on the menu. I would have thought that if one was going to be recommending wine, one would be trying the wine out along with most of the dishes. Also I’ll mentioned that I’m taking ½ a point off for giving us wet plates for mum & I when we were sharing our entrees. One would think being in a restaurant in this caliber, plates would be dried off and polished not served wet and straight out of the dishwasher.
I’ll also add that I was rather happy to be able to leave a couple of Neil Perry’s cookbooks that I had for Neil to sign them. Thank you Neil.
On the whole, 9 ½ for the food quality, 9 ½ for the atmosphere, 9 for pricing and 9 for service.
Rockpool Bar & Grill
Burswood Entertainment Complex
Great Eastern Highway
BURSWOOD WA 6100
(08) 6252 1900
Open 7 days a week – Lunch and Dinner