Thursday, January 30, 2014

Rockpool - Southbank, Melbourne

The term “fine dining” gets used a lot to possible remark about a great night’s meal at an upmarket restaurant. But when you experience real fine dining you are not just remarking about your experience with excellent  food and great service you are saying you had an almost life changing experience.  Of course life changing experiences come at a cost no matter what form they take. Even if you don’t pay with cash there is always some negative in a lot of positive. The fine dining I am referring to can only be paid in cash. Like most things in life you get what you pay for. If you are astute and pay the right amount at the right time and place you get good “bang for buck”.

My wife and I have dined at some fine restaurants but to move into the fine dining arena you have to take one huge step to that next level where the term “fine dining” is truly experienced.  While staying at the Crown Promenade we lined up at the door of the Rockpool waiting with empty stomachs and anticipation for our seat in the house of true fine dining. A Neil Perry restaurant of notary and the winner of many awards.  We had no idea this was going to be as good as it was.

How many restaurant staff do they require to serve well at a small table? We were seated by reception, brought the menu by the Maitre d, brought the wine list by the wine waiter, served some homemade bread by the bread waiter and served our meal by kitchen staff\chef. Through the night we had two or three of the above staff hover to ensure all was going well. Wine was very good and bread unusual and butter even more so. All very pleasant but what of the food?

This is where the term fine dining is stamped all over the total experience. The food was more like a religious experience than a sit down meal. I had trout only a few nights before at a top class restaurant near Apollo Bay. I decided to go the trout again for entree. What looked like trout, red onion and balsamic vinegar tasted like heaven. I knew it was raw trout but it didn’t taste like trout or it DID taste like trout, how it was always meant to taste. Heaven. The menu read red gum fired grill. I wanted proof. A short stroll to the kitchen area revealed large red gum logs poking up from an open flame grill area. I had the lamb once more superb. My wife’s food was sensational with multiple layers of deep flavor exploding on the taste buds. Each mouthful was savored, not chewed or eaten, savored.  With two courses and sides we were full but craved just one more fix of the most intoxicating food we have ever eaten. But, alas, we could eat no more.

To fine dine, and we all should do it before we die, you must go to renowned restaurants where high profile well know chefs are closely associated, work there or own it. It is a culinary experience you will take with you for the rest of your life. You will find yourself wondering how they (the chefs) can possibly get great ingredients to taste as good as they do. What magic has to be performed to take you some place you have never been, raise you to the heavens, lead by a desire for truly great food. Fine dining is! The Rockpool is.

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