On Saturday we had the good fortune of dining at Rockpool for our first quarterly Treat Yo Self dinner of 2014.
The ambiance was really lovely. The new location on Bridge Street is inside a beautiful sandstone Heritage building. Walking through the doors felt like stepping back into the 1920′s with jazz music sounding, stunning ornate ceilings, and dramatic individual lighting for each table. Even the bathrooms were stunning! We were lucky enough to be seated up on the balcony, with a view over the entire place.
The dinner menu starts with an eight piece tasting degustation highlighting the flavours of Rockpool, followed by your choice of one, two, or three courses.
We started with a couple of cocktails – the Primavera for me, and the Black Apple for S.
The evening started with a little live performance. These babies were grilled over some amazingly fragrant oak bark before being added to our plates to create our first two bites.
L: Prawn tempura with daikon and soy R: Charcoal grilled prawn cocktail
Chicken wing with egg batter and konbu butter
Chirashi zushi of kingfish, tuna and squid
Spanner cab with black vinegar and sansho
Snapper with lobster miso, citrus braised shimeji and peas
Beef tartare with Chinese black olive, black bean dressing and prawn cracker
(I had an alternate of Kingfish tartare as I don’t eat red meat – bonus points for being so accommodating of different dietary requirements, I had initially thought I’d just have to skip this dish)
Honey and spelt bread served with Rockpool butter and fresh ricotta
E: I’ve always been afraid of degustation menus as I am quite a picky eater. However this may have quelled that fear a little as it was such a wonderful and fun experience. It is kind of exciting to put yourself in the hands of some seriously talented chefs and let them guide you on a journey. I mean the flavours of Rockpool? I’ve never tasted so many amazing and different things before. It was INCREDIBLE. And so enjoyable getting little tastes of everything, spread out over time so you can really enjoy the entire experience. The highlights for me were the prawns, the chicken wing, the snapper, and the bread (the tomato and olive oil ricotta was out of this world.) I do realise that my favourites make up half the menu but IT WAS ALL SO GOOD.
S: Not sure if anything I write can come close to detailing the flavour bombs that came along with these seemingly small taster dishes. Then again, I’ve never shied away from a challenge before. Like E, this was my first degustation experience and I am now most welcoming to any future run-ins I might have with this delightful idea. The menu was singing the praises of the Japanese cuisine and did it sing! Wowee! From the strong hit of smokey goodness of the prawn, to the slightest hint of lobster in the miso, it just felt like every ingredient had been melodically thought of and I appreciated it all! My faves (if I really have to pick) was the Chirashi zushi, the snapper, the chicken wing and the prawns.
Lobster gratin with fennel fondue and trout roe
E: Normally, I’m not a fan of either fennel or roe. But I can’t go past me some lobster so I figured I’d suck it up and trust in Mister Perry, a very fine choice indeed! The flavours and textures in this dish all complemented each other superbly, particularly the crisp apple garnish with the lobster (note to self for future lobster eating endeavors) and I left my plate sparkling clean.
Pigeon zheng shui dan with prawn stuffed eggplant and strange flavour dressing
S: Another first for me. Pigeon. Now, I’d never had the pleasure of tasting pigeon before, so I wasn’t too sure what I was in for. In my mind I thought it wasn’t going to stray too far from chicken or duck. Well it didn’t stray too far from chicken, in fact it pretty much tasted exactly like chicken liver. Sadly, I’m not really a fan of the texture or taste of that particular part of a chicken and the same sentiment was carried forth when I ate this meal. The flavours, it goes without saying, were excellent! I delighted in the prawn stuffed eggplant and the dressing was impressively strange. I’m sure that those of you who do like pigeon would have fallen deeper in love with a bite of the Pigeon zheng shui dan.
Pineapple sorbet with beetroot and candied pine nuts
E: This was SO much better than I was expecting, given I’m not fond of either pineapple or beetroot. I wasn’t overly fond of the chunks of pineapple and beetroot at the bottom of the dish, but I relished in the sorbet and those pine nuts and the sticky sweet sugar syrup on the side. I’m also coveting these incredible avocado/mountain/iceberg bowls. Neil, where can I find some?!
S: I was pretty much licking the sugar off the avobowl. It was so great! Though not as splendid as the unexpectedly complimentary duo of pineapple and beetroot. Gosh! Seriously those two, who would have thought? It’s usually a big enough deal if someone makes ordinary beetroot taste alriiight but to make it taste delicious? Maate, crazy.
Chocolate grand cru of Valrhona with peanut butter and jelly
E: Oh my god I can’t even begin to explain how bloody fantastic this dessert was. Chocolate and peanut butter is my all time favourite flavour combo – and I was in absolute heaven eating this baby. The chocolate was of a consistency halfway between a mousse and a ganache – solid but ever so soft like a cloud and just melted on your tongue. The middle was loaded with a peanut butter filling of an equal texture. I think the peanuts themselves were candied in peanut butter or something. Whatever it was they were quite possibly the best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth and I need to find out how they were prepared so I can eat them all the damn time. And just when I started to feel a little overwhelmed with sweetness those blackberries (I think?) added the perfect amount of bite to refresh the palette. Needless to say I could easily eat this every day for the rest of my life.
‘Strawberries and cream’ ricotta parfait with strawberry compote, creme Chantilly and sparkling wine
S: This was such a fun dessert to eat. I know that sounds strange but I can’t really explain it any other way. Choose from cracking that sugary case, indulging in the ricotta on the delicious cakey case, slurping up the sparkling wine, trying to comprehend the phenomenon that is coriander sorbet and of course mixing the sweet and tart taste of the strawberry compote with the creme chantilly.
E: Overall, an absolutely fantastic dining experience from the atmosphere, to the service, to the food. Would easily recommend Rockpool to any lovers of fine dining out there, I don’t think it’s an experience you’ll find anywhere else!
S: Seriously. What an amazing night! If you’re not already convinced of the amazingness of a Rockpool meal then I doubt there’s anything else I can say. So get saving people, it’ll be worth it.
Game Of Thrones returns to our screens in one short month (eeeeeeeeee!) and HBO have released this stunning series of greyscale promotional images to keep the excitement building. The countdown is on. WINTER IS COMING.
Sidenote: Christ, this show really does have an insane amount of characters!
E: Calling All Hearts -DJ Cassidy ft. Robin Thicke, Jessie J
This song is so full of nostalgia I can’t even take it. Like there are so many musical references from the 80s and 90s mashed into this baby it makes my heart sing. Overall though, it reminds me SO MUCH of S Club 7 which, YES.
New Girl: Sister II
E: So apologies about last week’s missing post. I wrote it, and published it, and then it somehow got eaten by the Internet. But my thoughts were much the same as this week. I’m not super loving the changed dynamic of an additional Day character. While on the the one hand, it’s nice to shake things up, I’m feeling like all the storylines between Jess-Abbey-Nick-Schmidt are not particularly entertaining. I prefer more laughs than character development in my sitcoms, especailly when these characters are both great and in great places at the moment. I mean I guess that’s why Abbey is here, to throw a bit of chaos into a cast of settled relationships, but I’m really only interested in the hilarious snippets of Winston and Coach on the side. It just hasn’t felt like a whole lot has happened since Abbey’s arrival. This week Jess went house hunting for Abbey, Nick ended up spilling the beans, and Schmidt came to the rescue only to end up completely under Abbey’s crazy girl sex spell. Which, admittedly, did lead to a very funner dinner scene. But it ended with Abbey deciding to move in with Schmidt which, while obviously temporary, is just kind of weird. Meanwhile, bitch got in Winston’s head so he spent the afternoon cockblocking Coach in order to avoid finding out his Police Academy exam results. Poor baby failed. His hope was renewed when he thought he might have just forgotten the back page of the exam… But was quickly crushed when it was revealed it was an online quiz. Oh Winnie. Here’s hoping he does better second time around!
Jess: “Everybody in your earthquake spots now!”
Winston: “Girl, I got an obligation at a sandwich meeting to go to.
Jess (gesturing at the tights on Nick’s face): “I hope those are clean.”
Jess: “She’s wanted in Canada. Canada. No one’s wanted in Canada!”
Jess: “You had me at gay veterans!”
Coach: “I’m trying to *suggestively whistles*”
Winston: “Oh, you’re trying to whistle!”
Coach punching Winston.
Nicks misconceptions about the different pronunciations of his name.
Winston: “You know I can’t work here, there never have any cookies.”
Schmidt: “Who wants to rediscover cous cous?”
Schmidt: “Look away or look right at me.”
Nick: “You’re a garbage person and you should live in a dumpster with rot and snails.”
Winston: “This pep talk sucks. Seriously, it’s like the Winston of pep talks.”
Winston: “They got dude prostitutes? Nuh uh.”
Parks and Recreation: Anniversaries
S: Thank you for returning P&R! Even though the return wasn’t as highlarious or entertaining as I was hoping it would be, I still believe in the cast and writers to bring Parks back to it’s class A top quality level. So this was the first episode back without Ann or Chris. Though I wasn’t too aware of their absence the balance of the show was off a wee bit. Watching Leslie flounder about isn’t a foreign sight when things aren’t going her way, but there wasn’t an anchor to bring her back during her crazy spiralled. I’m not saying that you always have to rely on someone else as security but Ann played the part as accomplice and rational radar really well in Les’s life. Also I can’t help to think how amazing all the anniversary treats would be if it was Chris and Ben. Though watching Larry be included and given an enchanted adventure day was not horrible, it was actually pretty adorbs seeing him happy. I think a good example of what was wrong with this episode was the interaction/resolve between April and Donna. What was the point of any of that? Usually the writers come up with a genius way to use Ron’s Dad/guide role in April’s life to comedically and genuinely develop the characters but today’s use of their relationship was a little eh. Seemed like the only reason they even brought Ron in was to drop some ‘classic Swanson’ lines re:vegans and Canada. Usually I’d have cracked up but it just seemed so forced and predictable. Like I mentioned before, I think the brilliant thing about past seasons of P&R was that there was a season long complication/aim that we were all eager to see fold out. This season there hasn’t been any such thing. It’s just been a bunch of stand alone episodes with nothing tying the season together. It’s okay though, perhaps now with the Merger we’ll see something different.
Leslie’s reaction to the 3 day festival: “I’m getting the epiphany sweats!”
Craig: “Craig Middlebrooks. Samantha in the boardroom, Miranda in the bedroom. I know it’s not ideal, but it’s who I am!”
Ben: “When you play the Game of Thrones, you win or you die!”
Ben: “I have been tense lately. Just thinking about the new Star Wars sequel. I’m worried they’ll rely too heavily on CGI and I’m carrying it all in my shoulders.”
Ron: “Veganism is the sad result of a morally corrupt mind. Reconsider your life.”
Ron: “Dear frozen yogurt, you are the celery of desserts. Be ice cream, or be nothing.”
Leslie: “It was a pizza stuffed with little pizzas. And the crusts of those little pizzas were stuffed with chocolate.”
Ron: “Computers are mostly pointless, but that Yelp thing gave me a great idea on how to criticize people in places.”
Ron: “Children are terrible artists and artists are crooks.”
THE IRON EFFING THRONEEEE!
The Vampire Diaries: No Exit
E: So S and I were talking over the weekend and she was filling me in on what tumblr had to say about TVD. Namely, their issues with noone realising Katherine was not in fact dead. Bonnies is the anchor, everyone has to pass through her, and yet she did not question it when Katherine did not?! I tried to think of a way that this was plausible and not just slopping writing but it aint. Katherine’s spirit appeared to Bonnie at one point in that episode before she popped back to life again. So not only would Bonnie have definitely seen her, but she did see her! And yet 10 minutes later when she body jumps and doesn’t show up for her supernatural passing Bonnie doesn’t think to question it?! This makes me SO mad.
Anyway, onto last week’s episode, which pretty much just consisted of everyone being awkward.
Damon tried to kill Enzo, then Elena, then Stefan, before Stefan snapped his neck and locked him up in the old Salvator dungeon. It’s been a while since we’ve seen that place, nice to know it’s still going strong.
On their quest to try and save Damon, Katherine/Elena succeeded slightly in her completely over the top attempts to woo Stefan. They kissed. It was weird. She’s just a ridiculous lovestruck puppy now.
And Tyler and Caroline had to team up to try and work out what was going on with Matt. They didn’t really exceed at anything, except for Tyler biting Nadia (huzzah!) And then they had a super awkward chat where she was all “oh I’m so glad we’re on our way to mending our relationship” and he was all “no but seriously, you slept with the dude who killed my mum, no amount of time is gonna fix this.” Super awks.
But hey, Stefan reckons he can save Damon, he and Caroline have worked out that Elena is actually Katherine, and this episode was only meh rather than god awful so they’d call that progress, right?
Caroline: “Mmm that’s good coffee… Although I usually take mine with a little more awkward silence.”
Elena: “Where’s Damon?”
Enzo: “Oh he’s here, salivating, about to chomp into my neck and feed until my head pops off in a grotesque, but slightly comical, fashion.”
Matt: “Wait a second, does anyone want to tell me how this is my fault?!”
Stefan: “What exactly happened to you?”
Damon: “I wanted revenge, got stuck with a vampire virus, almost killed my last friend… Typical Damon.”
Stefan: “Come on Damon, you think I’m afraid of a Ripper? Who do you think invented the word?”
Ahoy! Across the oceans we jump to the land of crossiants and le French burgers which are both extremely delicious treats, my goodness I’m so hungry right now. Right this post has little to nothing to do with anything I just blabbered on about in the first sentence, maybe I should get some food. Right. This post has to do with days un et deux of Paris Fashion Week 2014. It’s a new city so imma try a new photo style which will mean much less scrolling for you, yay!