Worth it: the $15 wagyu burger.
Now that’s what I call a burger. A Wagyu burger to be precise from Rockpool Bar & Grill at Crown Casino in Melbourne. The bun was more like a brioche in texture. The whole construction is designed to be eaten rather than slip out down my front. There was a thin slice of cheese inside but the real star is the meat, prime wagyu spiked with what can only be wagyu fat packed with all those greate omega 3 oils..
Fat as we all know is the solution that transfers the flavour from the meat to the palate. And boy what flavour that was, the unmistakable flavour of wagyu, creamy, meaty, mouth melting… I whimpered.
At $15 it is an absolute bargain and worth a visit to the the bar or wine bar section (you can’t buy the burger in the restaurant) alone. To even mention any burger joint in the same blog post of this masterpiece would be sacrilege. But hey, I sold my soul to the devil years ago; the burgers from Grill’d are shit in comparison (probably because they are healthy burgers) despite being half the price.
We arrived at Rockpool at 10.45 at night after a very poor and longwinded staging of Othello and this burger uplifted my whole evening.
Of course, by the time we’d ordered chips and three glasses of red the bill was $71 for about 45 minutes time in the restaurant. For burgers alone that’s about 66 cents a minute but with chips and wine that’s $1.57. Considering I had to wait five minutes in line in McDonald’s last week simply to buy a $4 and quite nasty takeaway to deliver to a very hungover friend (seriously it wasn’t me or Jak) the Rockpool burger is great value.
Last night was my second visit to Rockpool. I’d resisted for six months purely because of my own prejudices about casino eating. How wrong I was.
All is calm but busy in the open kitchen.
Inside the restaurant: some of the customers who know how to hold their cutlery.
It has a great cosmopolitan feel like something from New York. Or on more familar territory from Conran in London. The service was friendly on my first visit, if not a little overstretched at some points.
The seafood here is fresh out of the acquarium. At first I was shocked at how quickly the live scallops arrived all the way from the Melbourne Acquarium on the other side of the Yarra. How many divers did the restaurant employ I asked. Was there any chance you’d get some of the giant squid once it thaws out?
But no, Rockpool has it’s own acquarium. Although the scallops were described as live they were very docile. I was worried they may hop onto the carpet which is awful because these shell fish really pick up the hairs.
Live, possibly dying or already dead scallops.
Next we each had steak tartare. Although spicy and tasty, it was of the ugly variety, the size of a small liquidized rodent nestling in a lettuce leaf (which is a lot better than France-Soir where it is the size of a domestic cat nestling in something near the size of a whole lettuce).
Steak tartare – tasty but of the ugly variety
To be quite honest I’ve only popped in for two quick meals and haven’t gone for the full blown experience but from what I’ve experienced and tasted so far I like Rockpool very much. It is a very different experience to my last pre-blogging visit to its Sydney sister I really did feel like I’d been treated like shit.
Finally it is time for the bill. Simon our sommelier who took us towards some excellent wines takes my card. And I am recognised. I’m not recognised for my column on the Herald Sun, for writing in The Australian or any of the reviewing I’ve done for restaurant guides.
I’m recognised for my blog. It turns out his girlfriend is Jackie from Eating with Jack who also works in hospitality.
One month from my second blog anniversary I now reflect how blogging has evolved in Melbourne, to the point that bloggers are recognised, regularly reviewing and discovering new restaurants before the main media. Many restaurants such as Interlude and Fenix are even courting bloggers. But as I often say that’s another story and coming soon.