Rockpool Est. 1989

December 17, 2014

I treated DT to a 10-course degustation at Rockpool for his birthday and it was surely a memorable dining experience. I could not fault the service as the waiters were attentive and quite friendly. They even make a note of what occasion is being celebrated and surprise you at the end. 

Pink Apple - Ketel One Vodka with Creme de Cassis, spiced syrup and raspberry $19
The description of the cocktail led me to believe that this would be a relatively sweet cocktail however it was quite the contrary. It was quite sour and found it hard to finish, only managing a few sips in-between dishes.

Chicken wing with egg batter and konbu butter
The two morsels of chicken sitting atop the konbu butter was certainly a mouthwatering sight. The egg batter coating the chicken skin was crispy and salty in a moreish way and biting into it revealed succulent and tender chicken. Do not worry about using a knife and fork to eat this because we did not feel out of place eating it with our hands. Definitely wished there were more pieces.

Prawn katsu with coriander, chilli and rice roll
These hamburgers were incredibly mini-sized to the point you could have easily demolished it with one bite. The prawn katsu was delectably crunchy and everything seemed to melt in the mouth. The only thing I could fault was that the flavour was lacking and I really could not taste any chilli. It was still a nice starter though.

Spanner crab with tabasco mayonnaise and soy bean
This dish was not a favourite of mine but it was definitely something different and interesting to try. The spanner crab was soft and moist with a savoury but slightly sweet taste to it which I would attribute to the soy bean. The tabasco mayonnaise went well with the crab to provide some extra dimension to the dish.

Chirashi zushi of tuna, kingfish, bonito and squid
One of my favourite dishes of the degustation as everything from the presentation, to the flavours and the textures were on point. No question that this was the fanciest chirashizushi I have ever eaten. The sashimi was excellent, not that I would know since I am not a sashimi connoisseur like DT but it was fresh and not overly chewy. The sashimi paired well with the spicy sauce which I thought was so good that I felt that it should be served with all sashimi.

Bass grouper with apple, radish and red date infusion
A well-executed dish when it came to presentation however taste wise I thought it was a little lacking as it was somewhat bland. The fish was however, perfectly cooked, the flesh still had its moisture with the skin retaining most of the flavour. I enjoy my fish cooked with savoury ingredients so I may be a little biased.

The following dish was prepared right in front of us in this awesome Japanese stone cooker. 

Mapo doufu with avocado, sea urchin and eight precious herbs
And here is the finished product. It actually doesn't look too special but the tofu was so silky smooth along with the sea urchin. The flavours were subtle and I believe it was done deliberately to allow for the different textures to shine through.

Finally the bread arrived, I was wondering why it was not served at the beginning of the degustation as that seems to be how it is normally done.

Butter for the bread.

And some pretty cheese.

Black lipped abalone with Asian style salad
It was supposed to be a 10-course degustation but there was an extra dish that we were surprised with in the middle of our dining session. I wish I could recall all the elements of the dish. I distinctly remember that the abalone was amazing, and I dislike abalone with a passion. Forget chewing endlessly to the extent that it becomes flavourless and difficult to swallow, what was served was the complete opposite. The abalone was actually succulent and full of flavour from the mixed spices. It was garnished with coriander, very crunchy croutons and a savoury dressing. One of my favourites of the night.

So the above dishes shown are part of their set menu of the degustation (minus the abalone dish) and for the mains and desserts we were allowed to choose from their list.

Braised beef cheek sukiyaki with winter melon, gem lettuce and tendon
This was literally a piece of beef cheek wrapped with a thin sliver of raw beef. Judging by the appearance it seemed a little too bloody and raw for me but that thought vanished as I tentatively began to eat it. The slice of beef despite being raw was full of marinade and really juicy and the combination of soft raw beef with the tougher beef cheek went surprisingly well together.

Roasted South Australian lamb with Job's tears, shiitake, chilli condiment and black tea
This was DT's main dish which I only had a little of it so I cannot distinctly describe it. The lamb was tender and perfectly roasted, it was gamey but not overly so.

Salad for the mains, what made it special was the palm sugar sprinkled on top giving the salad some sweetness.

Moscato custard with rhubarb, apple and streusel
The pre-dessert before the main desserts. This was so good. The rhubarb was tart which offset the sweetness of the custard. The Moscato custard ice cream was so creamy and light, it was the perfect accompaniment to the apple streusel at the bottom.

Vacherin of pandan custard with coconut parfait, jasmine sorbet and lime granita
This dessert was so amazing. Nothing was overly sweet or too overpowering in flavour. The pandan and coconut flavours were subtle and coupled perfectly with the lime granita which was so refreshing. The meringue encasing the entire dessert would be the sweetest aspect of the dessert but there was only just enough of it and the sweetness was balanced out with the other elements of the dessert. In all honestly, this was better than the snow egg I had at Quay.

Sweet potato braised in soy caramel with lemon curd, miso ice cream, sesame and candied shiso
Everything about this dessert was so Japanese and so pretty to look at and admire. DT said my dessert tasted better but he still enjoyed his choice. I do love how much creativity has been implemented in terms of the ingredients used and the presentation. Look at how perfect the sweet potato pieces look and the reflectiveness of the miso ice cream.

DT's birthday surprise. This was completely unexpected. The caramelised sugar spiral with the candle burning inside was so pretty.

Quite an ordinary looking chocolate cake but it was one of the best I have tasted. It was incredibly moist and rich in chocolate flavour.

Date tart
I think it is safe to say that Rockpool is particularly famous for their date tart and I can see why because it was so incredibly good. The crust of the tart itself was soft like shortbread but not sweet like it and the innards were amazingly soft and fluffy with the perfect sweetness coming from the dates. So good.

The 10-course degustation at Rockpool will cost you $165 per person, pricey, but I think it was well worth it, especially with the extra course they included.

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