Past the grand entrance to Rockpool Bar and Grill and down the slope, you’ll feel like Alice entering the Looking Glass where an illuminated door appears. Red curtains billowing, a simple sign say’s push and into the unknown you enter; down a spiral staircase the words “Watch Your Head” appear and I have to question if I’m about to loose mine.
Gladly there’s no dragon to slay at the bottom of those stairs, just a lightbox bar with bentwood chairs and a few slowly turning ceiling fans. Are they decorative or functional? My guess from Neil Perry’s $35 million dollar investment is that they are purpose built, as is every nook from the joss sticks with their lightly fragranced scent to the upbeat sound of the bamboo flute.
And then something takes me by surprise. As we’ve been toying over the horoscope themed cocktail menu, the time since our booking was made has since elapsed. By 5 minutes, 10? It couldn’t be much more than that but as a consequence of this conceived lapse in service, the maître d’ informs us both our desserts for this evening will be complimentary.
In the red room the fun continues. The steamed eggplant with three flavours is served with equal portions of eggplant, pork and coriander holding it’s own before being folded at the table. Theatrics ensue with the three shot chicken as this dish is served over a burner to which lager, soy, chilli are added. The aromatics of the dish with its liquid and steam envelop the table.
A peanut & caramelised chocolate parfait is the jewel in the crown of this affair. The crisp caramelised shell shatters into splinters that are quickly enveloped by the creamy pool of chocolate moose that lies below. For city dwellers seeking escapism from the falling Aussie dollar, this is an alternate world. Worth every dragon you’ll have to slay to eat here. The staff are so helpful I’ve no doubt they’d brandish their waiter’s friends like pitchforks and help a damsel in distress if need be.
10 Bligh St, Sydney 2000
T: (02) 8078 1888