Lunch with Neil Perry at Rockpool’s Burger Bar

Never underestimate how comforting a good burger can be. The pillowy goodness of the bun; the juiciness of the meat and the ooziness of the cheese. I’ve eaten at some pretty incredible high-end restaurants, devoured renowned street food dishes, but burgers (and great burgers at that) still hold an important place in my heart. It’s comfort food as it’s best; an adult version of a childhood classic. 

Ever heard of Rockpool? I’m assuming yes, unless you’ve been living under (excuse the loose wording) a rock. But have you heard of The Burger Project over in Sydney? It’s the same quality you’d expect from Rockpool but with a down to earth, affordability that allows more people to try the delicious goods on offer. Now while Perth doesn’t have The Burger Project, we do have the bar at Rockpool which has different items to order than the standard menu. And part of that… are the delicious Rockpool burgers.
Recently I was invited to attend lunch at Rockpool to dine with Neil Perry himself, as he unveiled the new bar menu – with burger tastings all round. I was pretty excited to get to learn more about the produce and the journey they’ve come to get to this point. 

Settling in at the table, I was actually lucky enough to sit right next to Neil Perry and throughout the meal it was clear just how passionate he is in terms of food and also the work he does for the Starlight Foundation. It was really inspiring, and nice to see how he uses his position to benefit others.
We soon found out that we were going to try a range of the burgers on offer, with a focus on their new Minderoo “iron fed” beef. Minderoo Station is where Andrew Forrest of Fortescue grew up in the Pilbara and has been a part of the Forrest family for generations. The cattle there feed on the land which is of it’s most natural and purest state, and has a high iron content giving the beef an incredible minerality and strong flavour. 

It’s the first burger we try and I have to say, the Minderoo ($18-21 depending on the toppings) is fantastic. Cooked medium-rare the beef patty has clearly been hand shaped, and is well seasoned. I enjoy the melting slice of American cheese and the barbecue sauce. It’s flavoursome, but still maintains the essence of what a good burger is.

The buns are soft and buttery, but keep their structure as we chow down. I’m also loving the sharp white onion ring and tart house made pickle. It all adds to the ‘iron-y’ taste of the meat, which believe it or not, is present. All those talks of how the animal’s diet makes a difference is definitely true.

Next up is the David Blackmore full blood wagyu burger ($22-25 depending on the toppings) which is about as decadent as it gets! The meat is fatty and buttery; melting in my mouth. The use of gruyere cheese adds to the flavour profile, and I enjoy the tomato chilli relish and bacon.

We also get to try the Minderoo with Jalapeño chilli sauce, which is a really interesting variation on the original. It’s got some definite heat to it! But I thought the flavours again were well thought out and executed just as strongly. This is the kind of burger you’ll remember happily.

We also are treated to some ideal burger sides like the hand cut fat chips ($12.00) and onion rings ($9.00). The onion rings were my favourite – generous, crunchy and a good sweet and salty ratio. They hit the spot while we chow down on our final burgers – the fried chicken breast burger with coleslaw, gruyere and spicy mayonnaise, and the fried chickpea and tofu burger. 
I was pretty full as you can imagine! But can easily say the Minderoo, closely followed by the wagyu were my favourites. The latter is very rich though so you need to be able to handle fatty meats to eat a whole burger of this I would think. Not that that’s a challenge I wouldn’t mind taking!

Because all great meals end in dessert, we were kindly treated to some of Rockpool’s signature dessert items to share. The creme caramel ($21.00) was the silkiest I’ve ever tried, with it’s glossy caramel coating and barely set centre.

For me, Catherine’s passionfruit pavlova ($21.00) was the standout and took me back to my first ever experience dining at Rockpool. The pavlova is extremely impressive and the nicest I’ve tried by far – soft, dreamy marshmallow centre with a satisfying crisp outer. The quenelles of cream and fresh, tart passionfruit complete the dish and make it the ideal sweet ending.

The Bahibe chocolate mousse dacquoise with honeycomb, orange and aged balsamic ($23.00) was a classy and modern take on the chocolate orange flavour combination. It was smooth and velvety, with the contrasting crunchy of honeycomb.

We’re also treated to some petit fours – passionfruit marshmallows ($8.00), salted butter caramels ($8.00) and caramel popcorn. I love marshmallows and these were dreamy; sweet and oh so light. The exact opposite of those decadent salted butter caramels which are chewy, salty and hit the spot. I wish they sold little take away boxes of these, I’d be munching on them all day!

So as you can imagine I had a pretty fantastic lunch at Rockpool, and it was a real privilege to get to meet Chef Neil Perry, and hear all about his love of food – and his work with Minderoo beef, which is only available at Rockpool right now.

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Eddie
    29 June 2015 at 1:05 pm

    Wow you're so lucky: thats very cool to meet Neil! Burger Project is just plain awesome

  • Reply
    Queen of Bad Timing
    3 July 2015 at 3:09 pm

    I am definitely planning on stopping by Burger Project next time I'm in Sydney! It was a really fun meal 🙂

  • Reply
    WenY
    12 July 2015 at 7:23 am

    So much drool all in one place~! Definitely trying out the Burger Project in Sydney :D!

  • Reply
    Queen of Bad Timing
    21 July 2015 at 12:08 pm

    I know! It's high on my list for next trip over east. So many places, never enough time!

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