The multi million dollar restaurant, adjacent to Nobu and KoKo, only the diety and James Packer know how much it really cost, is set in a large crescent shaped room.
There is a large well lit open kitchen with about 20 or more white clad chefs beavering away at their work.
It seats 150 sufficiently spaced to enable quiet conversation.
Our statuesque hostess escorted us to a central table and a few moments later a waitress appeared with the usual question "would you like something to drink?" I prefer to consider the menu before having drinks and dislike the rush to ply you with drinks
The request for wine list and menu was attended to promptly and a sourdough rye bread and salted butter quickly brought to the table.
The food: We started with a lobster omelette ($38) with an extremely tasty but rather thin prawn butter sauce. The omletter which was generously stuffed with pieces of delicate losbster would have been perfect had the omelette not been slightly overcooked so it was a little hard on the outside.
The excellent duck ragout ($19) was served with beautifully prepared, very broad paparadelle.
Not yet having read the reviews in the Australian Gourmet Traveller (best new restaurant in Australia) or The Age Good Food Guide, I was unaware of the incredible lengths to which Neil Perry goes to present his fish dishes so as to preserve the maximum flavour and ordered the wood oven roasted pidgeon ($39) which also gets mentioned in despatches. Served on a bed of raddicio with parsnip and thin slices of pear ("chef prefers it to be served medium rare") it was quite excellent.
Unfortunately the same could not be said for the barbecued rib eye Wagu steak $110 for 200 grams. After most specific instructions as to how we wished it to be cook, it was served overcooked. The waitress unhesitatingly offered to take it back and a few minutesd later returned with a steak cooked as requested. (The man in chef's uniform found floating in the Yarra with a piece of steak stuffed down his throat is thought to be a former employee at Rockpool.) The rib eye was far too thin (about 8mm) to enjoy the texture and flavour of the meat, and was not attached to a bone. It was not what was expected and was rather disappointing . At $110 the steak was served "simply"
The famous desserts were a mixed bag. The chocolate mousse on a bed of coffee granita ($16), topped with a chocolate disc was very successful. The mousse was exceptionally rich and creamy and well modified by the icy coffee-flavoured granita.
The pastry had lost its crispness and had become rather soggy in places and was dominated by the thick layers of undistinguished cream.
We enjoyed a couple of glasses of 'o6 Beaujolais ($14 a glass) and a NZ Pannell Pronto a mere $11 per glass.
I was more than a little surprised when i checked the bill to find that we had been charged an additional $35 for a glass of champagne which we had not ordered or received.
Tea and coffee were served with a tumbler full of caramelised puffed corn.
Will we go back? Yes! To try some of the other dishes, but I will never have Wagu there again!