Rockpool, 2010 best restaurant in Sydney according to Time Out magazine, which also scored 3 gongs (best new restaurant of the year, wine list of the year, and maitre d’ of the year) from 2010 Australian Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Awards, has just opened its Perth restaurant end of last year.
Excited to try one of Australian’s finest restaurants, I made a booking in early February, and got a table on Monday, 21st. Such restaurant normally takes bookings months in advance, especially for the weekends, so getting a table pretty quick, even though it’s for a Monday, was a good news. Our last experience with Star Anise, one of the top three best restaurant in Perth a few months earlier, made us have such a high expectation from Rockpool.
Located at Burswood Entertainment Complex, not far from the casino, the restaurant shows its elegance and class right from the entrance. I honestly wanted to take a load of pictures, but nobody would do such thing in such a posh place, so I sadly had to curb my impulse… and only took a few shots when no one was looking. The two gigantic doors under a gigantic restaurant logo lead to a long hallway, lit by candles on each site, which takes minutes to walk through, and finally ends at the big open space. The big reception table with 3 very pretty hosts who were busy with their own computers showed that they mean business, and after confirming our booking, we were lead to the bar, since we arrived rather early.
After studying their thick, endlessly long list of drinks, I stubbornly chose something which was not on the list: an espresso martini. The bartender, upon hearing my request, said he would do it anyway, just for me. I am sure that if I were on his position I would curse under my breath at the stupid customer who asked for something which wasn’t on the menu. But he was just happily playing with the glittering bottles of liquors and glasses,…. and voila! My espresso martini was ready. It was cute, creamy, and delicious.
Right at 7.30 the maitre d’ took us to our table. The restaurant was full, which was amazing for a Monday night, a typical slowest day of the week. Soon after we were studying a very exciting dinner menu (not often we see caviar served at the restaurant, especially those with the cool price tag like $1,100). The restaurant is famous for its steak, but I decided to go with its wood fire grilled lamb, as I normally have lamb in almost all restaurants I go to for the first time (I have no idea why).
At first we were patient enough to get served, but soon after 30 minutes had passed and nobody was taking our order, we started waving at anyone with black shirts who hastily walked from table to table. Nobody paid any attention to us, and we waved more frantically, and finally, some lady arrived with notepad and pencil. I asked for grilled king prawns for starter, which thankfully came pretty quick as I was really hungry, and eagerly waited for my lamb while sipping my wine.
The couple who sat at the next table, for some reason, didn’t look too happy when they finished their food. The guy who sat across me, hurriedly asked for a bill even before the waiter finished offering the dessert. Their sour faces made wonder if the food was terrible, but my grilled prawns tasted excellent, so I just presumed they had a fight and wanted to go home.
Another thirty minutes had passed and our food hadn’t arrived so we asked a waiter who looked busy walking around but hardly attended our table, if our food was coming soon. Mind you, it’s already 8.30 pm. I was incredibly hungry since I only had a half piece of sandwich for lunch. With his serious look, the waiter said he would check with the kitchen. He never came back with the news about our food, so we caught another waitress’ attention and asked if she could find out about our it, but she also forgot to inform us about what was going on in the kitchen.
Hungry and getting more impatient (a dangerous combination), we asked for the third time, and this time the waiter remembered to come back and said that they’re still preparing our food. We reminded that it’s almost 9 PM and WE ARE HUNGRY. She smiled sheepishly, didn’t apologise, and went off to serve another table.
Our food, ladies and gentlemen, finally came a few minutes before 9.30 PM. That’s 2 hours after we sat down, and one and half hour after we got a piece of bread and our starter. I was furious, but my stomach was also screaming in starvation, so we just ate as fast as we could, in silence. I didn’t enjoy its texture, taste, and smell. I didn’t remember the presentation, let alone savouring its beauty or taking a picture. I basically attacked my food in full speed. Now I understood what the other couple’s sour faces were about, why they were so quiet, and why the refused the dessert.
We went home unsatisfied and unfulfilled.
What did I do after that? I twitted about my disappointment, of course.
What happened when none other than Neil Perry responded my complaint on twitter?
To be continued.