Rockpool & Ecco – Another double-double

So… in the week I decide to start a food diary (and not the fun kind like this), I have bookclub (uh oh cheese platter and cupcakes) and a double dining-out Friday with a work lunch and a friend’s birthday dinner. Probably not the best start to “seeing what I eat” or, on the otherhand, maybe a required dose of reality…

Lat’s talk about Friday then… Lunch was originally planned for Golden Fields, the setting of one of my best meals of 2011, I was stoked but it was then moved to South Bank, for convenience of attendees. I was also stoked with the new destination of Rockpool as I had never been in all my time in Melbourne. I am not sure why, I have been to plenty of work lunches in Crown Casino but maybe this restaurant slightly pushes the price barriers… Except for very special peeps obviously, which I mustn’t have been in my past job. Ha!

The restaurant is very grand and we sat, a table of eight, around a square table in super comfy chairs. I have always been a fan of square dining tables and the open conversations they encourage. Our napkins were placed in our laps and at first, I thought we had an alternating colour scheme going with black & white, until we realised that the service is so attentive, that you get a black napkin if you are wearing dark clothing to avoid whatever miniscule white flecks could be left behind. WOW!

The menu choice was huge. I struggled as I always do with big menus and the thought “what if we don’t come back” but also with the fact I was heading out for dinner that night… Where? I didn’t know, so trying to balance the day’s eating was a trying task. I settled on a fish crudo (basically sashimi) with horseradish, corainder, finger limes and drizzled with lemon flavoured oil. Lovely and light. And for main I had the fillet steak with Bernaise sauce, cooked rare (I had my fingers crossed for pasta on the menu later in the evening). How could I not have a steak at Rockpool really?! Around the table I saw, some other fabulous meals. Work lunch ettiquette is such, that you can’t actually just taste everyone’s food, much to my disappointment. I did however have a good friend in attendance and happily sitting right next to me. Woot! Therefore I can comment on a few other dishes and the confit duck with apple balsamic and mango (you will see it doesn’t look that pretty) was super delish. I had been told that the sides as Rockpool are almost as famous as the steaks and we were not disspointed. The roasted sweet potato and pumpkin with burnt butter was incredible, and therefore sat right near my plate for most of lunch. The baby kipflers cooked in waygu fat?…. drooling now as I write! 

Crudo of Ocean Trout, Yellow Fin Tuna & Coorong Yellow Eyed Mullet

Duck Confit with Grilled Mango & Apple Balsamic

Dessert time and I declined… sort of… Only on the proviso I could have a little nibble of my friendly neighbour’s…. dessert that is. A devil’s food cupcake. CUTE! We also ordered some cheese and coffees for the table… but I am pretty sure there was more ‘want’ for another bottle of fabulous NZ pinot noir… And we may have followed lunch with a little drinkie at The Waiting Room, a new bar, also in the Neil Perry portfolio, also in Crown. It is still February though, and I am still not drinking, so I just had ANOTHER mineral water…

Devil's Food Cupcake with mascarpone icing

Three cheese platter - goats, brie & blue

Pimms & dry at The Waiting Room AND Stacey's hand!

Rockpool Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon

A quick stop back at the office to pick up my car (a definite benefit of FebFast) and I was on my way to pick up Ben and go to our next destination, which I still didn’t know and was still hoping would involve pasta. Turns out we were meant to be going to George Clombaris’ new greek/italian restaurant Mama Baba but it was booked out (I was relieved given I am booked in for a VERY romantic dinner there on Valentine’s Tuesday). We ended up at Ecco da nicolini on Toorak Rd in South Yarra. A group of six of us, and this place is a favourite of four. A good sign. And it was PACKED. For good reason. What a lovely little dinner we had. And again, I wasn’t the only non-drinker. This time we had another pregnant friend, with two weeks till pop-date, and the sober (grumpy), father-to-be, who is not enjoying the heavy beer ban in the case of sudden hospital run required. Here are some pics of the ensuing meal, minus dessert because I forgot again until it was too late! But I can tell you the sticky fig pudding and panna cotta were fab!

Antipasto platter

Capricciosa pizza

Housemade gnocchi baked in a creamy napoli sauce with bocconcini

Moral of the story, do not start a food diary (the boring kind)…… EVER!

 
Ecco on Urbanspoon

The Second Ladro – South of the River

This is a tale from 2011… A dinner at Ladro Greville St… probably first half 2011 but I was back very recently for another hit with the bookclub ladies.. On that most recent visit I was very lucky. Most of the bookclub ladies seem to be pregnant and we had the set menu which included a prosciutto, salami & pancetta plate…. enough for 16 ladies…. See what I mean? Lucky! WAHOOO!

Anyway back to the visit that we have pictures for because it is a meal that sticks in my memory as one of my best italian meals ever. I’m going to say there were three of us at dinner. Normally with this gang there would be four but I can’t find enough meals to feed four so am guessing one of the girls couldn’t make it this particular evening. We ordered a pepperoni pizza, the pasta special and the main special to share as we are a happy, adventurous group that like to taste everything. I have actually been to Ladro’s a few times between this visit and the bookclub visit. I have had my fingers crossed that this pasta special would return… my favourite pasta dish alongside the seafood agnolotti with cherry tomatoes at Carlisle Wine Bar… but alas I have never seen it again.

simple & delicious pepperoni pizza

flat gnocchi with pancetta, bocconcini & incredible salsa

Fabulous roast pork loin, with cornichons and I think polenta

Obviously we got dessert since we had skipped on the entree (to be healthy) and shared a delicious tiramisu and chocolate ravioli… sweet pasta is aahhhmmmmaazzzing! And by the way, when I say shared, I’m pretty sure I mean, the others had a taste and I polished off the lot..

dessert duo: tiramisu & chocolate filled ravioli

Ladro Greville on Urbanspoon