Twitter Takeaway

Sunday, 8 April 2007

Blackmore Wagyu at Rockpool

Almost 10 years ago, when I worked with my father, we would travel extensively throughout Asia. Fortunately for us, my father had many friends who love good food and would travel any distance to eat it. Usama-San in Nagoya, Japan was one of them.

One evening, while we were in Osaka, he had dinner plans for us two hours away in a nearby town called Ueno (There are many towns called Ueno in Japan, this one was between Osaka and Kyoto). We drove from light to night. When we arrived we were standing in front of a small hut. We walked into the small hut, there was a wooden counter. A middle-age lady greeted us and led us to our private dining area. It was simple and bare, save for the bench chairs and a large charcoal grill in the middle. There they cooked their award-winning wagyu beef individually for us. Sides were grilled vegetables.

That was the best steak I have ever had and I still feel that today. In fact, it was so good that when asked whether we would like another piece of steak each, all of us violently nodded our heads. Even at 10,000 yen a piece we did not hesitate. This was once in a life time experience. Even now my father and I still dream of going there one day before we die...

My love of wagyu or even great steaks started then... and every wagyu is compared to that unforgettable steak. How fortunate Melbourne is to have Rockpool's Blackmore wagyu, which I believe is a closest contender to that steak so far.

I've heard rumours of its greatness... and eagerly waited to try it myself. As I write this I am still digesting it... thinking about how tender and buttery it was.

It was a special occasion, my Aunty Grace's birthday. I've never taken her out for her birthday. I couldn't afford it before. She has know me since I was 10 years old. Now that I can afford, she deserves the best.

Before our wagyu (yes all three of us ordered wagyu) we shared the Grilled King Prawns, Split and Marinated, which was cooked just right with a lot of juices. After 15 minutes, the 1cm by 20cm 200g medium wagyu rib-eye was served. They were served with a wedge of lemon only.

In individual containers, there were horseradish cream and béarnaise sauce. Condiments service included mustards, barbecue sauce and harissa wrea. But before you let any sauce touch the beef, have it with just the lemon juice first.... you will realise that you don't need sauce at all.

To go with the juicy steaks, we order the deliciously fresh Radicchio, Cos and Endive Salad with Palm Sugar Vinaigrette and moist Wood Fire Grilled Mushrooms as well. Both made for refreshing sides for the buttery steaks.

I struggled to finish my wagyu rib-eye, not because I didn't want to finish it, but it was quite substantial. A wholesome glass of Gilles Robin Crozes Hermitage Shiraz 2004 (from the Rhone Valley) would help to digest the fat.

It was a full house at around 8pm when we were having our desserts. We ordered a Passionfruit Pavlova and Apple Custard Tartlette with Ice-Cream - simple and light, this does the trick of balancing out the oiliness (is that the type of adjective you want to describe an enjoyable meal?) of our meal.
We were beaming by the end of the night, completely satisfied with our meal. The waitress were kind enough to give us menus so that I could get a copy of a few of the cattle paintings that decorated the restaurant. We were very grateful and it gave my Aunty a souvenior for her birthday. (I dared not ask her age :P )

We left Rockpool, arm in arm, eagerly planning when we would return to have the wagyu again...

Rockpool Bar & Grill Melbourne

Crown Complex

Southbank 3006

03 8648 1900


Ratings
Food: Fantastic sustainable seafood and meat cuisine
Top Dish: Wagyu Rib-Eye 200g
Atmosphere: Comfy and elegant
Service: Attentative, friendly and knowledgable staff
Booking: Recommended

14 comments:

thanh7580 said...

I've always wanted to try really good wagyu too. I've tried some wagyu as part of a dish and its delicious. I was this Japanese cooking program where the wagyu was the A1 class and each kilo costed a few thousand dollars Australia. I sure hope the beef you had was great, becauase for $110 I would want a lot of bang for my buck. I've never eaten a whole meal that costs that much, let along just one dish.

Jenny said...

hi,

I love your blog. You have such detailed reviews on various restaurants around Melbourne. I have to say re Rockpool I wasn't that interested from reading the review from The Age. However after reading your entry, I went to the website and the menu had me drooling. (mind you I am looking at it while having lunch at work.. and am still drooling..) I will be planning a visit very soon. Had tried the wagyu beef @ Taxi Melbourne, however it wasn't very impressive. Perhaps it was the entree I had or the accompanying wine...

Just a quick question, you stated your wagyu stead was 1cm x 20cm. I don't understand how can the steak be so thin? and do you mind if I ask you about the price range for Wagyu Steak in Rockpool? Because it wasn't stated on the URL.

Thanks and keep the great posts up :)

Kazmic said...

Hi Jenny. Thank you so much for your kind comments. I am really touched that you like the blog, it really makes me very happy. Gosh, now I have given you high hopes about Rockpool, haven't I. I hope you enjoy it if you do decide to go... I just had to write down my experience so that I can remember it next time. At $110 a wagyu rib-eye... it's really a luxury not often savoured. Yes it is exactly around 1cm x 20cm... but you wouldn't want more.. I couldn't finish mine because it was rather rich. However, I have been told that their other steaks are fantastic as well. Taxi's wagyu steaks are a hit and miss I think. Sometimes I absolutely love it, sometimes I think it's overcooked and lack flavour... But that is still the dish that I get when at Taxi though... because I'm a sucker for wagyu.... Take Care and Eat Well.

Anonymous said...

FYI,
Jamon SUshi in South Yarra will be doing the Blackmore Wagyu degustation very soon as well.

http://www.tomatom.com/2007/05/wagyu-lunch-and-roundup/
http://www.tomatom.com/photo/album/72157594328829418/Jamon--Wagyu/

Makes me salivate every single bit of imagining it.
It looks better value than Rockpool I guess. Marginally more expensive for personal attention and plenty of courses.

Kazmic said...

Yes, I read that on Tomato. I've had hit and miss experiences with Jamon. I know my neighbour loves it. He rocks up there by himself all the time. But the chef is creative and unrestricted to Japanese traditions. Upon reading the Tomato post I am tempted to go back and give it another try... I just love good quality wagyu.

Kazmic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kazmic said...

Hi,

Thanks for your comments.

That last time I went to Jamon Sushi was in the beginning of this year, near Chinese New Year and we went with our parents there. I will recall as much detail as possible, but it would have to be mostly feeling not dishes, I'm afraid.

I remember that we ordered from the menu and as always the chef was very attentative and coming over to ask us what we liked etc. I remember that some dishes were very interesting and tasty, however some of the dishes, I can't remember whether fish or beef, was chewy maybe because it was cut the wrong way. Another raw fish dish had a sweet sauce on it, which we felt ruin the actual raw fish taste.

Re: Ordering the entire fish for cutting. All Japanese sushi chef (and they need to be qualified in Japan) can cut fish. And many of the good Japanese places would buy a whole fish for cutting.

Re: Not many Japanese frequent Jamon. There are few Modern Japanese restaurants that Japanese would frequent. Shoya and Orita's are examples of these. I think this is because, the essence of Japanese cuisine is about getting the freshest ingredients and showcasing it with little or no dramatic sauce, a la yakiniku at Shoya, tempura degustation at Hajime etc. You will find that in Japan, sashimi and sushi barely touch soya sauce. It's all about enjoying the natural flavours of the ingredients - which to non-Japanese may seem bland at times. I fully appreciate Jamon Sushi's approach to making creative and modern Japanese. But perhaps it is not so catered for the Asian palate.

Re: 2-3$ take away sushi anymore. I know how you feel! The closest thing that I would go to is onigiris at Kenzan @ GPO and my favourite there is the Mentako (marinated pollock roe) Onigiri. Try it and let me know what you think - it’s spicy and delicious.

Re: Or eat any Japanese restaurant with fixed menu anymore. Even Hajime??

Haven't said all that, the wagyu degustation does sound good!

Anonymous said...

Hm,
soy sauce / no soy sauce matter is a bit bizarre to me.
Last time I went there, he does remind me not to touch some sushi with soy sauce at all.

I still prefer this place than Shiranui especially after seeing how much I have to splurge in Shira Nui. Taste-wise they are about the same but value-for-money wise Jamon is better choice for sure.

Well, I never see Japanese restaurant filleting a fish next to me no matter how early I was there so that's my initial (wrong) impression, =).

I do hear a couple of mentions from Japanese people about Orita's.
How does it fare against Yu-U, you reckon?

Saying all these, I will still frequent TH of course, =). It is as equally quirky as Jamon and that really sets it apart.

Kazmic said...

Hmm.. I wonder if the prices at Shiranui has anything to do with its one hat status.

RE: Cutting fish up. Take a look at this crazy chef - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3_-tMS3zEY. It can sometimes be very cruel - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2quvkd0qd0c. I've seen lobsters but never fish still moving while cut-up.

Re: Orita's. I can't really compare it with Yu-U actually as I haven't been there for dinner, as much as I like Daisuke and Noriko! But I would assume that the cuisine is very different. Orita is fusion French and Japanese. The Degustation is fantastic. His foie gras is to die for.

Tempura restaurants are actually quite common in Japan, e.g. http://r.gnavi.co.jp/k752013/. Now we have one in Melbourne!

Anonymous said...

Ups, ups, I mean AKITA in North Melbourne!
NOT Orita's!

Anonymous said...

Well, I actually did chat to him ( Jamon's chef) about this ikuzukuri style eating.
He is thinking of doing that with live prawn from Aquarium this upcoming July or summer.

Kazmic said...

Hello Anonymous!

Nope never been to Akita, do you recommend it??

I'm a wimp when it comes to ikuzukuri... my hands go numb... I'll have to live through your experience for that one. :)

Jenny said...

heya,

I have finally visited Rockpool Bar & Grill @ Crown. The decor is really nice and elegant. Too bad we were seated at the function room. I guess they were really busy that night. It looked like full house when we went.
We couldn't get the Wagyu rib-eye as they were sold out during lunch that day :( The leg steak was still very delicious and not as oily as the wagyu steak in Taxi. I think I would love to go back again to try more interesting entree / main. Our waiter was exceptionaly professional, I think that made me feel a bit better aft feeling so isolated in the seperate room... away from the warm kitchen.

Seems like you have been very busy. Look forward to read your new posts. :D

Kazmic said...

Jenny, I'm so glad you had a great time at Rockpool! Always nice to hear because we really love the place.

If you like the leg steak, you will love love love the rib-eye!

I have been busy, changing jobs and going on holiday in between them... More about that later :P