September 6, 2010

Rockpool Bar & Grill

Riverside at Crown Casino and Entertainment Complex
8 Whiteman Street
Southbank, VIC 3006
(03) 8648 1900
Food: Modern Australian, Seafood and Steak

After a rather impressive dining experience at Rockpool Bar & Grill last year (read about it here), we returned, this time, for lunch. I must admit, we hardly have the chance to dine out together during the day, so it was great to be able to relax back in comfy, plush leather seats while absorbing the superb views, through the  restaurant's dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows, across the Yarra River. The day's warm sunlight dazzled and danced as we ate, offsetting the restaurant's spacious interior of elegant furnishings and warm tones of beige and dark timber brown.

Once again, we were wowed by the quality, taste and presentation of every dish served. It really is no wonder that this Melbourne leg of Neil Perry's string of Rockpool restaurants (there is one in Sydney and one opening up in Perth) has kept its Two Hat status (awarded by The Age Good Food Guide) every year, from 2008 through to 2011.

Sautéed White Asparagus with Shiitake Mushrooms, Slow Cooked Hen's Egg, Burnt Butter and Parmesan - the creamy, runny egg yolk lent itself well to this dish, combining the earthy textures of the mushrooms and asparagus with the nutty Parmesan and salty burnt butter.

King Prawns with Goats Cheese Tortellini, Burnt Butter, Raisins and Pine Nuts - I still salivate at the memory of biting through the soft, chewy tortellini skin to reveal a rich, but slightly acidic filling of goat's cheese, which mellowed out from the zesty raisins, crisp pine nuts and sweet prawn.

Hand Cut Linguine With Spanner Crab and Spicy Prawn Oil - the pasta was so beautifully cut, it soaked up all the flavours from the aromatic, tangy prawn oil and succulent crab meat. All we needed was some crusty sourdough to mop up all the juices!

Crispy Fried Tiger Flathead Fillets with Crazy Water - 'Crazy Water' is a fascinating, culinary concept, adapted from Italian fishermen in the 1960's. They were known to sauté the day's catch in fresh seawater with tomatoes and extra-virgin olive oil. In today's restaurants, sparkling mineral water is used to achieve a similar result - a fiery tomato consomme that is sweet, salty, tart and umami all at the same time.

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