Feb 25, 2011

Rockpool. There's a new game in town.

I think everyone has taken a 
photo like this
Rockpool Bar and Grill
Burswood Casino 

I'm not sure if the Perth restaurant scene knows what just hit it.  There was certainly a lot a media beat up, but did the local restaurants realise what would happen when Neil Perry showcased his 200 seat, 10 million dollar bar and grill at the Burswood Casino? Sorry Must Winebar. You just got run over by the Perry train.

I was never a big Perry fan. He always seemed... well frankly, a git. I could never work out what he was doing with the whole Asian fusion thing, the cookbooks or the eastern states circus where everyone seemed to love him.  Several trips to the east coast later I finally was in the right place at the right time to visit  Rockpool Melbourne.

The venue actually impressed me. It had a real "this is the place where men come for beef" thing going on and a totally brilliant wine list. It was easily the second best meal I had there at the time.

Fast forward to just over a year later and I'm in Perth. Must was the only thing Perth had going for it if you wanted a relaxed atmosphere or you didn't want degustation. I'm getting a little bored and disappointed that all the potential in Perth is being frittered away. Perth is in cruise control and I think the big names here knew it. Enter Rockpool.

Ondine and I managed to book seats for the opening week, and the place was packed. I'll say this. It's easily the best thing in Burswood to look at, which is remarkable given the weird shape of it due to the complex's design.  The fitout is very cool, with the entry corridor the drying rooms and the wine cellar being just the kind of eye candy that I was looking for in an upmarket grill.

We were greeted on entry by the enthusiastic staff, who were doing extremely well given the crowds and that they had been officially open five days. Shown to our booth, the peeled cow seats, chain mesh screens and Hessian curtains made you feel this was a place that was serious about sustainability and style. The décor is simple, but industrial. Rockpool Perth is everything that Salt Singapore is not.

The food. Oh gods the food!

It's all sourced locally wherever possible. Fremantle squid, sardines, octopus feature highly on the menu. Beef is sourced from all over Australia and there are tons of possibilities for the sides. This meant this was going to be a no holds barred, crazy food overdose to the point we couldn't walk. Yes the menu really does have a lot of good looking things on it.

First up we started with a Mixed Jamon Plate $35:  Featuring Iberico Jamon, Serrano Jamon (two kinds), and Parma Prosciutto.  Very fresh and a generous serving of each meat. This would be good if you dropped in to the bar for a snack.

Moving on, it was on to the all cephalopodan affair starting with Wood Fire Grilled Fremantle Octopus with Hand Pounded Pesto and Tomato $24. Sweet and herbal, the Octopus was very tender and the pesto was obviously not out of a jar. The whole dish worked really well.  Recommended.

Fried Calamari with Romesco $28.  Nothing beats good squid rings. Except when they aren't rings and come with a really good Romesco sauce.  The only problem with this dish was that there wasn't enough!

Charcoal Roast Squid and Pork Belly $28. I think this was the best entrée of the night. Again the squid was cooked perfectly, but the Pork was the star. While I still don't "get" the entire business of adding squid to pork belly, this one was damn good.

Cephalapod Goodness

Onwards to the mains. Seriously though, by the time the mains arrived we were beginning to wonder if we would manage to deal with them effectively. The entrée servings may look expensive, but they are hearty. 

Della Gola Prime Grass Fed Rib-Eye
There is a steak to suite everyone's taste or budget. I decided to go with the  Della Gola Prime Grass Fed Ribeye (36 days aged) $49 - It's a local happy cow, so theres not to many food miles on this baby. It tasted pretty good too.

Steaks are cooked to your preference, but a warning to those not accustomed. When they say charcoal grilled, they mean "Chicago Style" - Charred on the outside, and preferably rare on the inside.  Anyone that orders "well done" here will get a charcoal brick.

Steaks are also not served with anything other than sauces, which means you will need to order something like these:

On the side

We ordered three side dishes. Radicchio, Cos and Endive Salad $9Onion Rings $9, and the most fabulously evil Mac N Cheese $9.  The salad was nice. The onion rings were beer battered onion bulb petals - Huge! and any other time would have been great, but were just too much.

The Mac N Cheese though was a standout. Totally evil in a napalm hot cheesy carbohydrate kindof way and definitely not recommended for dieters! I will be back for this one.

Barely able to stand, we had  one last thing to do. Dessert.

Balsamic Vinegar Icecream on Strawberry Tart

It wasn't mindblowing, but like all the other food we had had on the night it was good. The strawberries were fragrant and the the balsamic vinegar icecream was something totally different. This was nice, but a totally unnecessary finish to the night given what we had eaten.

We didn't manage to spot Neil (I believe he was in the massive and shiny kitchen on the night), but had a great time nevertheless.

Rockpool Burswood serves traditional Bar and Grill food, but uses premium products and packages it with good service to good effect. I think it's highly recommended for casual dining or a special occasion, but book ahead! I tried to get in for a Saturday night mid February and was informed they were booked out for two months.


Rockpool Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon


  1. I can't beleive you can't even spell Neil Perry's name correctly. Foodie?? Fail.

  2. Wow, thanks for spotting that Anonymous. Next time though, you may wish to check your own spelling. Have a great day.