Posts tagged ‘vanilla pannacotta’

November 28, 2010

Rockpool Bar & Grill

by minibites

After a little whine to the boyfriend about never going out to dine at anywhere new, he surprised me with a “just because” dinner at Rockpool Bar & Grill. Pushing through a pair of strong glass doors, enter into a gorgeous room with a sky high ceiling, dim lights, marble and a beautiful wine glass centerpiece. The dining room is a mixed bag, filled with couples on dates, business men doing final deals and seated next to us, an old married couple on their date night.

Charcoal roast squid and pork belly

The menu is extensive, and my eyes are barely keep up as they zip through left right and centre; with offerings from the cold bar, salads, hot entrees, pasta and meats from the grill. And every day, there are slight alterations to the menu to keep up with the produce in season, so the our shared entree is sometimes on and off their menu.

Wood fired lamb cutlets and chops with mint jelly

Free range chicken with Tuscan white bean, tomato and bread salad

For some strange reason, I played it really safe and chose the chicken cooked on the wood fired rotisserie, served with a Tuscan white bean, tomato and bread salad – and unfortunately being safe didn’t pay off as I salivated over my companion’s lamb cutlets all night. The chicken had the perfect crust with on a light and tangy salad but there wasn’t anything that pushed the dish over the edge. The lamb cutlets and chops were amazing – served with a mint jelly on the side, the lamb was tender and juicy, and probably the best lamb I have ever had.

Doughnuts with poached pear jam and walnut ice cream

Vanilla panna cotta with strawberry salad & rose granita

Busting at the seams, I was told I was not allowed to go home without picking a dessert – and for once, I’m happy I didn’t argue back and nodded in agreement. Sharing some good ol’ doughnuts, which shouldn’t be dismissed off the menu straight away as they were surprisingly heavenly; warm, light and soft and wonderfully contrasted with cold ice cream. My highlight of the night alongside the lamb, is the vanilla panna cotta served with beautifully sweet fresh and dehydrated strawberries with a sweet smelling rose granita. So incredibly good.

Rockpool Bar & Grill
66 Hunter St

Rockpool Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

August 29, 2010

The Passage

by minibites

This place scratched the my itch, my itch to uncover another local bar with a chilled out atmosphere, great cocktails and food with their own little twist. Walking in, the bar is endless and a lightbulb goes off with the relevance to its name. There’s little corners you can nestle in or if you’re feeling social, a communal table or a seat at the bar.

We kick the night off with some spicy almonds and diving into some cocktails. My cocktail of choice is the Coconut & Kaffir Lime Daquiri, a whirl of coconut, lime and hint of pandan and rum. Smelt absolutely amazing and tasted even better, I had many of the girls fighting over this one.

Vodka cured salmon, beetroot puree and baby coriander

Crispy calamari, sweet chilli oil and aioli

Stuffed zucchini flowers with goats’ cheese and truffle honey

The menu is tapas based, so the more company you have, the more dishes to dine and share. Of our starters, my favourite would be the crispy calamari with sweet chili oil and a side pot of aioli; the calamari was crisp without being too heavy and overwhelming with batter. This dish just goes to show that you don’t need to have fancy bar menus and that you can take a good ol’ regular and add a creativity to reinvent the dish.

The zucchini flowers had crunchy stems and cheesey filled buds with a drizzle of truffle honey, which made all the difference to an otherwise simple dish. The vodka cured salmon was a new one for me, as I’m not so much a fan of sashimi and as far as I go is smoked salmon, but I didn’t mind a little piece on top of the toasty bread and a dollop of beet puree.

Twice cooked pork belly, corn puree and blackbean viaigrette

Sirloin with hand cut rosemary potato chips and confit garlic

Spicy meatball “toastie” with fennel salsa

I was already quite impressed with the starters but the mains were definitely drool-worthy. My favourite would be the twice cooked pork belly and it completely blew me away. I love pork belly and each piece had a thin layer of crackling which was perfect without breaking any teeth and generous portion of tender meaty goodness. And not to forget, the sirloin, perfectly cooked with nice grill marks and glaze over the top, served with the most amazing potato chips. It reminded me of a dish at Pony, but oh these chips…

The meatball toastie was a little on the drier side, but such comforting food. And what made the dishes so delicious were the companions to the main star to the dish. Each dish had its own sauce that was well thought out and complemented the protein as opposed to just being there.

Vanilla pannacotta with strawberry spiced syrup

Full to the brim, we took a breather with another round of cocktails and ended the night with dessert. I’ve never seen a pannacotta so rigidly constructed, and dressed with a syrup that was very intriguing indeed, which proceeded many tipsy attempts to place bets on the ingredients and confirming this with the kitchen.

Get in quick before it starts to fill with hustle and bustle!

The Passage
231A Victoria Rd
Darlinghurst, Sydney

The Passage on Urbanspoon