Sumptuous dining on the Rocks

When Neil Perry is on hand to cook up a storm, there's good reason to do lunch at Sydney's harbour-side Rockpool restaurant.

Australia's favourite food blogger, Not Quite Nigella, heads to Sydney's Rockpool for some lunch cooked by celebrity chef Neil Perry.

When is a pop up lunch, a different definition of a pop up lunch? It is when the pop up lunch actually involves a celebrity chef popping up at one of his restaurants to cook rather than a temporary structure set up as a restaurant to serve food, however fleeting that may be. I’m on my way to check out Rockpool’s newest offering, a pop up lunch where chef Neil Perry "pops up” at the Rockpool in the Rocks to cook lunch with their head chef Phil Wood.

Rockpool in the Rocks has been, for the last three years, a dinner only venue and opening up for lunch, particularly in the people thick area of The Rocks during Christmas, seems like a popular idea.

The idea today is that Neil cooks one course and then Phil another, and the restaurant is full today. Buxom Wench and I are sitting at the sweet spot, right in front of the pass watching them cook and then watching staff collecting plate after plate of food to give to eager diners. The price for three courses is $75 excluding beverages.

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Spring Bay mussels with salt striped trumpeter, charred bread and rouille

With soft, plump Spring Bay mussels with no sign of chewiness, tender tendrils of octopus and firm cubes of salt striped trumpeter the seafood was served with a rich, thick tomato based reduction. My undoing was the charred bread with that intoxicating aroma of char and the rouille, like a mayonnaise made with potato was spicy and creamy.

Roasted Thirlmere chicken with Blue Mountains vegetables, garlic sauce and potato puree

The roasted chicken was well seasoned, the chicken breast slices so tender and I think that Buxom Wench and I both contemplated licking the plate. The vegetables ranged from tiny, itsy bitsy carrots to ones that weren’t longer than a finger. There was also a delectably thick pommes puree and a slice of chicken which was spongy and soft.

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South Australian strawberry shortcake

Buxom Wench and I were smitten with this immediately – there was a layer of buttery shortbread biscuit, expertly cut large strawberries and then a diced strawberry salad and cubes of shortbread adorning this as well as a buttermilk sorbet.

After the food comes out, Neil makes his round and talks to the various patrons who seem eager to talk food with him-including Buxom Wench and I who have questions for him about the strawberries!

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