Sydney Restaurant: What is the Beef?

  • Sydney's new Rockpool occupies a grand space in an Art Deco landmark.

    Sydney's new Rockpool occupies a grand space in an Art Deco landmark.

Click image to view full size

Above: The Perfect Steak.

In Sydney, the steakhouse is reinvented.

By Carli Ratcliff

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s hard to say what makes the biggest impression when you first walk into Neil Perry’s newest Sydney venture. Is it the columns of green marble that tower over moodily lit oak tables and a gleaming show kitchen? Is it the glamorous crowd? The smell of meat grilling over a wood fire? Whichever it is, Rockpool Bar & Grill (66 Hunter St.; 61-2/8078-1900) clearly has all the ingredients of a top-notch establishment.

Perry, perhaps Australia’s most revered chef, has never put much stock in scenery, a bold posture in a city where diners seem obsessed with harbor views. But he couldn’t have chosen a better address for his restaurant. Situated deep in Sydney’s financial district, it occupies a grand space in the landmark City Mutual Building, built in 1936 and generally considered one of the country’s finest examples of Art Deco architecture.

Decked out in dark woods, brass, and leather under a soaring ceiling, the dining room is as elegant as any in town. It should be: Perry spent millions furnishing both this place and his more casual, months-old Spice Temple Chinese restaurant next door. And the food lives up to the promise of the setting. While the chef’s legendary Rockpool on George Street is all about seafood, here, steak is the focus. A folder explaining Perry’s “Beef Philosophy” arrives with the menu and the 3,800-label-strong wine list, providing background about each beef producer used by the kitchen. It also informs diners the meat they’re about to order was earmarked while still in the paddock, and that carcasses are dry-aged on the premises.

There are five tanks of live seafood for those who prefer fish. But the grill’s spotlight is firmly on steak, be it beautifully marbled Blackmore Wagyu sirloin, Cape Grim rib eye on the bone, or grass-fed yearling fillet from Greenham. Looking for something lighter? Head to the intimate bar, home to a magnificent full-blood Wagyu burger served with Gruyere cheese, smoked bacon, and house-made pickle.

Originally appeared in the May 2009 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“What’s the Beef?”)

Share this Article

Related Posts

Vivid Sydney 2019: Only a Few Days Left

Catch what you can of this 23-day intersection of art, technology, and commerce before the lights go...

Sydney’s Top 10 New Cocktail Bars

In a harbor city with no shortage of quality drinking establishments, these new-to-the-scene bars an...

Reviving the Great Barrier Reef

A new wave of environmental initiatives—and sustainability-focused tourism operators—is promisin...

Asia’s 50 Best Bars of 2016

Drinks International magazine's inaugural round up of some of the finest watering holes across the r...

In Pictures: Vivid 2019 Lights Up Sydney for Three Weeks

Happening from now until June 15, the largest event of light, music, and ideas in the Southern Hemi...

Seeing Queensland through an Aboriginal Lens

Home to the second-largest Aboriginal population in Australia, Queensland today offers an impressive...