Thursday, August 27, 2009

Do you Wagyu?

I certainly do so last night we had a little crew head over to Rockpool Bar & Grill to see if their Wagyu Beef Burger really is the best burger in town. Simon Thomsen of SMH and I don't see eye to eye all the time but if Heston Blumenthal is a fan then that's good enough for me.

Rockpool Bar & Grill is in a beautiful art deco building with the restaurant featuring high ceilings and grand marble columns. The adjoining bar was all dark wood and glass with candles on the table to create a very nice ambience indeed. Pity the blasts of wind coming through the door were so cold.

So there we were with a great table with a view of the bar which has a gravity defying and rather impractical application of glass hangers.

We ordered a bottle of 2006 Bress Shiraz which was divine. Bress is a winery in Heathcote, Victoria which has received a coveted five star rating from James Halliday's 2010 Wine Companion. Surprisingly Bress also make their own cider which I would be very interested in trying. The 2006 shiraz has a delightful nose and I found to be very well rounded on the palate. It is packed with berry flavours and a hint of oak and spice. Yum!

I did note a tone of disdain as the waitress put down our 'tap' water. Not cool.

So Random Pear and her pal Grinder (it was the quickest nickname I could find!), Junior and I all ordered the Wagyu Beef Burgers and Taxman decided on the Steak Sandwich. Luckily Random Pear asked if they came with chips or we would've been chip-less without the two bowls of chips on the side. Taxman did suggest a third bowl to which I was all for when Random Pear exercised a rare show of restraint and stuck to the two. Drats!

Much food talk ensued including debating the merits of gelato vs ice cream, smooth vs crunchy peanut butter and Grinder's upcoming one on one cooking session with Matt Moran. We also did decide that we need to do Friday lunch at Marque and Chef's Table at Aria very soon.

We were also lucky enough to see Neil Perry walk the floor a few times. I have eaten at a number of his restaurants over the years and have only seen him in the restaurant one other time.

Then they arrived...

And I had to giggle at the waitresses suggestion it was accompanied by a salad. This started a debate as to what constitutes a side salad... You be the judge.

The wagyu beef patty was topped with Gruyere cheese, bacon, tomato, pickles and chilli relish all on a brioche bun made on the premises with a sheen on top that gave it a familiar fast-food feel to it. It was indeed delicious. The Blackmore wagyu beef was the rightful star of the show and there was a distinct lack of conversation whilst we feasted.

Taxman's steak sandwich looked great. The steak cooked perfectly with salad on a sourdough baguette (mmm sourdough). Not normally a fan of chunky chips, these chips were deliciously crispy and golden and rather more-ish.

A good time was had by all and coffees were enjoyed with the Haigh's chocolate hearts I brought along as a special treat.

Here is another shot of the 'glass' bar taken by Junior complete with mood lighting.

Verdict: Definitely the best burger I have had thus far and would recommend you go try one for yourself. At $22 it's an affordable way to enjoy the ambience of this beautiful restaurant. I do think there though the pompous switch should be dimmed with the waitstaff in the bar. And for the record, tap water is highly acceptable.

Rockpool Bar & Grill
66 Hunter Street
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 8078 1900

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