This “review” has been brewing it the back of my mind for quite some time. Some time back I had the great pleasure to go on a bit of a foodies odyssey.
This involved a 3 day hit and run on some Melbourne culinary institutions: Spice Temple, ROCKPOOL Bar & Grill and the Press Club. Up front let me say that all were fantastic and in comparison there are few Hobart restaurants which can match the general standards across the board. The stand out for me on this particular trip was ROCKPOOL and nothing has surpassed it since. Plenty have come close and in fact 1 or 2 may be considered as good for differing reasons.
As a bit of an indicator prior to ROCKPOOL my stand out in terms of food experiences was the buffet at the Equinox Restaurant in Swissotel The Stamford located in Singapore. Now some may be thinking “Matt you’ve lost your mind.. a Buffet?” In my defence this is no ordinary buffet with bain-marie full of overcooked loosely termed food. This buffet in contrast is exquisite. For example included in the price is endless Moët by the glass, and the chefs freshly sauté Foie Gras to order. I really need another visit to refresh my memory. Robyn? Trip? Soon?
Look at that, I’ve digressed. I’d better get back on point. ROCKPOOL is a fully indulgent experience. In terms of service and food the attention to detail is amazing. From the moment you are seated to the moment you step foot outside again the wait staff would be at your beck and call. I say would because in all honesty you will never need to call for anything. If your glass is empty a waiter appears to refill. Knock a knife onto the floor? It’s whisked away and replaced with such precision and grace you swear that it didn’t even hit the floor. I must say it’s quite easy to get used to this level of service. In fact I do recall one time my glass sat empty of the table for at least 10 seconds. I was beginning to panic. How was that delicious wine going to get from that bottle a mere arm’s length away and into my glass? Luckily by the time this thought had crossed my mind the glass had been refilled and order was restored.
Another true test of an establishment is when the diner goes off piste if you will and tries to order something which isn’t on menu. We intended to enjoy a cocktail to start the evening. Robyn’s perennial favourite is a Piña colada, which unfortunately wasn’t offered. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem but all of the cocktail offerings appeared to be dark spirit based which Robyn tastes do not extend to. Disappointedly they were unable to offer a Piña colada, lack of pineapple juice, but through careful questioning an alternative was offered which from all reports was delightful.
It was literally melt in your mouth goodness.
The food is just as good as the service. The stand out of the evening was the wagyu sirloin cut with a marble score through the roof. Both Robyn and I just had to try it. The alternative choice was a cut which apparently had been butchered by Noah and has been aging ever since. Tempting but the wagyu won out. I enjoy my steak rare, which will quickly highlight any imperfections and I much admit that I was initially a bit sceptical about just how much better a steak could be to justify the prices they were charging. Luckily my scepticism was ill founded, this cut of meat was the pinnacle of the beef world. I mean this steak should have been placed on a pedestal and worshipped for its perfection. It was literally melt in your mouth goodness.
You may ask why don’t more restaurants maintain these exceptional standards, and the simple answer is it costs money. Dining at ROCKPOOL would not be an everyday occurrence for the average punter like me. In fact the bill for 2 people could pay a small mortgage for a fortnight. Despite this my suggestion to you is if you can afford it then do it, at least once. You will not regret it.