So a couple of weeks ago Garrick totally blew me away by announcing that 'we' were going to the fabulous Rockpool Bar & Grill. NO WAYYYYYYYYYY.
I was just a little bit excited..
I had heard so many wonderful things about this place. OMG 'we' were actually going!! I had read that this establishment had taken out three awards at the 2011 Gold Plate Awards - named Best New Restaurant, Best Steakhouse and Best Wine List
Classy, sophisticated, elegant.. it was all that and more. This place was really fancy schmancy and just quietly, I was loving it. I had visited the hairdresser earlier in the day, had on my LBD & cocktail shoes, Garrick was looking spunkalicious - we were feeling pretty spesh.. we strutted in like we rolled off the set of Saturday Night Fever ha ha.. lame.. We were the FIRST to arrive. What?? Oh God, we didn't want to appear too enthusiastic and give away our carefully constructed ruse of super coolness (I kid of course.. as if..) but unfortunately our game was up at the bar.. Thinking that the safe bet was to order a timeless classic, a G&T, I was bombarded with a barrage of complex GIN options and not only that but in a french accent.. dear me, I was clearly out of my depth.. I looked at Garrick and pleaded desperately with my eyes to salvage this pitiful and clear lack of street smarts but it was hopeless.. Garrick was as clueless as I was.. we had no bloody idea.. what a bunch of amateurs.. I uttered in defeat.. "surprise me".
.... meanwhile Garrick ordered a beer and the whole vicious cycle started again (Dear God we were in pre-dinner-drinks HELL) This wasn't the kind of place to be expecting a XXXX Garrick.
It turns out my Hendrick's Gin & in-house tonic with a sliver of cucumber was right on the money. When our friends arrived moments later 2 of our party very stylishly ordered that exact concoction. I had mixed emotions.. I mean I had somehow managed to order a very cool drink but clearly by default.. When I say we don't get out much.. that is an understatement of the most mammoth proportion, we have KIDS, we NEVER go out and we had a lot of catching up to do.. we were hacks.
Our party was escorted to our table. I might add at this juncture, the decor was fabulous. The floor to ceiling mesh curtains sectioning various dining areas was complimented by warm lighting and some funky background music. It was perfect, the ambiance was lovely. The chairs were super COMFORTABLE. So important. BUT the absolute standout for me was the SERVICE. I wanted this night to be perfect. After all, I wasn't sure when we we would be venturing out again. I needed this night to be perfect.. I needed to make the most of this opportunity.
I had contacted the restaurant about a week before and I had explained that I was GLUTEN CHALLENGED, I was in fact, sadly more than that, I was .. a COELIAC. I explained my dietary requirements and the importance of food prep for 'said affliction' and was seriously expecting to be met with *groan* "Hey Neil.. we've got one of 'those' again.." (ha ha like he was even there..) but I was way off the mark . Brilliant. The staff bent over backwards to make sure I had a good night. Almost as soon as we sat down, a waitress introduced herself and proceeded to go through the entire menu discreetly, highlighting what I could have rather than what I couldn't - and you know what? The pros far outweighed the cons and I'm not kidding. Anything that was a potential risk, they would endeavour to transform to make the dish gluten free. There were minimal menu options that were off limits - seriously. I'm talking pasta (derr) obvious bread dishes but alot could be converted, fried calamari, the hand cut fat chips - but seriously, do you go to a place like Rockpool to have chips? COME ON. So on this particular night this is what I had -
Wood Fired Grilled Fremantle Octopus with Roasted Autumn Vegetables, Preserved Lemon Pesto
A 250g Cape Grim Dry Aged Fillet 36 Month Old Grass Fed
Sauteed Mixed Mushrooms
Charcoal Roasted Peppers and Red Onions with Marjoram
Green Beans with Creamy Anchovy, Chilli and Lemon Dressing, Toasted Almonds
Now I am going to go out on a limb here and say that my starter was possibly the best thing that I have ever tasted. IN MY LIFE. EVER. Big call I know but I'm putting it out there..
The steak.. well.. I mean these people KNOW steaks. They are STEAK PEOPLE. I'm talking medium rare hot knife through butter.. GLORIOUS
And the sides? The worst thing I can say about the sides is that we had to share.. pffffft
and all washed down with a cheeky red or two..
Dessert? Look, at this point, I was feeling like a fat little bird.. happy and warm and enjoying my wine. OK so I didn't stop there.. so I partook in some salted caramel merriment? What? DON'T JUDGE ME
I love FOOD. I will ALWAYS love food. Thank-you Rockpool. Thank-you for turning it on.
Thank-you from deep inside my being. Thank-you for looking after my Coeliac-ness. BEST NIGHT out in a long time. I'll be back.
ROCKPOOL BAR & GRILL
Great Eastern Hwy
Phone: +61 8 6252 1900