Melbourne: Rockpool Melbourne

Food was an important part of our weekend in Melbourne and because we could never resist a juicy steak, we made our way to Rockpool Melbourne for lunch. Located inside Crown Complex, the restaurant is owned and operated by the Rockpool Group, with sister restaurants in both Sydney and Perth. Rockpool Bar and Grill with its beautiful dining room is a modern interpretation of a typical American steakhouse and walking down the corridor will lead you pass displays of some of their produce as well as take a peak into their back kitchen where chefs are prepping the meat and shucking the oysters.

Considering we are having lunch, only a couple hours after our brunch at Sensory Lab, we decided to share our dishes so we could all try a bit of everything. Being unable to say no to oysters, we ordered half a dozen of Pacific and half a dozen of Rock Oysters from Australia. These were quickly polished off with ease and the tangy vinegrette and squeeze of lemon countered the natural salty taste of the oysters nicely.

Beef is my favourite type of meat and whenever I see steak tartare on the menu, I will always order it. Although made with a prime cut of meat, the taste was underwhelming and it lacked the much needed crunch of gherkons and red onions which could have made the texture more appealing. This was paired with a big bowl of chunky fries which were deep fried to perfection and had a golden crispy exterior and a light fluffy interior. Slightly too thick to be eaten with the steak tartare, but we treated it like a side and enjoyed it nonetheless.

The next dish would have to be the highlight of our meal. It was a wise move to split our dishes, as none of us wanted to splurge on such an expensive piece of steak for lunch. But I have to admit, the Blackmore wagyu rump, served medium rare was worth it. Unlike others wagyu which I have tried at restaurants such as Jervois Steak House and Botswana Butchery, this cut of meat is on a league of its own. Ranked grade 9 in the marbling scale, this buttery soft steak had flawless texture and the seasoning is subtle, allowing the natural taste to shine. The waiter kindly divided the steak into four portions and each portion was served with a wedge of lemon which could be used to cut the greasiness. Despite being served with horseradish and béarnaise sauce, I opted to go without. The beef was perfect to begin with, so why mask the natural flavours with sauce?

The roast duck with grilled figs was an unexpected surprise. There has been several times where I regretted ordering the duck at non-Asian restaurants as the taste and texture is often lacking. However, Rockpool’s duck was exceptional. Crispy skin and tender meat, this lean duck was moist and cooked just the way I like it. The cut of meat lacked the thick greasy layer of fat that are often found and hence it gave the skin a much more crispy crunch. The caramelised grilled figs were soft and sweet, a splendid addition to the dish.

We paired our mains with a side of green beans with toasted almonds and a radicchio, cos and endive salad.

What an enjoyable meal! We went in with high expectations and there is nothing better when these expectations are met. Our waiter who took great care of us was attentive and funny and the service was quick and efficient. It was however, slightly rowdy when we went, possibly due to a group booking by the bar, but because the dining room was big, it hardly affected us. They print new menus everyday, so dishes change depending on the produce and its availability. If you were to visit, please try their Blackmore Wagyu, you won’t regret it!

Date: Sunday 2 February, 2014 | Location: Crown Complex, 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank | Food: Steakhouse