Big-ticket dining retains its decade-long charm, especially for lovers of a diverse steak experience.
There are restaurants where you expect constant change, and then there are those where change is more glacial. Rockpool is the latter, and it’s no bad thing. It offers comfort and reliability. Even if Neil Perry has stepped away from things, the DNA is still unmistakably intact, based on premium produce handled simply and often cooked over wood fire, and a benchmark wine list that runs long and deep.
But it’s the meat program, underpinned by plenty more than just the famed Blackmore wagyu, that is the biggest draw.
Guests may not notice the change, but what’s clear is that the place, led by chef Brendan Owens, formerly a head pastry chef at Melbourne’s Vue De Monde, is doing some of its best work in over a decade of operation. There’s a delicate balance (not bling) with a cold lobster and Sterling white sturgeon caviar starter, and excellent seafood handling and cooking with just-set Abrolhos Islands scallops seasoned with Aleppo pepper and a chilli-orange reduction.
But it’s the meat program, underpinned by plenty more than just the famed Blackmore wagyu, that is the biggest draw. A rump of Rubia Gallega, a Galician breed of cattle pioneered in Australia by the Blackmore family, is tender and faintly nutty on the palate with a nicely caramelised crust; a revelatory choice for many that proves that Rockpool’s investment in standards and long relationships continues to pay dividends.