Monday, 21 April 2014

Rockwell and Sons

288 Smith St 
Fitzroy, VIC 

Sometimes it takes me way too long to visit a restaurant on my ‘must eat’ list, even if it’s a place that I’m super keen about. And most of the time it’s my own fault – I decide what I want to eat 4 days in advance, so big surprise when that day comes around and I don’t feel like whatever it was I had decided on anymore. Even though I would probably feel like it once I have the menu in front of me. This has been a constant source of frustration for Chris, poor bloke. 

That’s how things went with Rockwell and Sons, but finally, finally, we’re there on a Friday night to celebrate my newly obtained driver’s license. Being an American restaurant that was also part-bar, the guy to gal ratio was skewed far towards the Y chromosome. Still, once you get a bit further into the minimally furnished restaurant, it turns out that it’s just as good for a family dinner or a date. Just not the first date; not unless you’re ok with the other person seeing you with grease dripping down your chin. 

Smoked Lamb Ribs ($14)

I had a good idea of what I wanted to order, but our waiter rattled off a few specials, gave us a couple suggestions, and what he came up with sounded like a much better way to go. Our first share dish of Smoked Lamb Ribs ($14) were hot and smoky like they had been taken off a campfire, transitioning faster than I believed possible from crisp exterior to succulent centre. The buttery, unctuous meat was kept just on the right side of cloying with a sharp, sweet Kentucky BBQ sauce. 

Tomato Salad ($12)

It’s usually a bad thing when the salad is the highlight of the meal, but not in this case. Our waiter recommended the Tomato Salad ($12) as the best he’s ever had, and it was indeed so delicious it made my knees weak. The ripe segments of heirloom tomato swam in a light and tangy buttermilk dressing, and were then lavishly decorated with the caramelised aroma of black garlic oil and crunchy fried shallots. I swear an angel was born every time I took a bite.

Fried Chicken ($12, 2pcs)

After the lamb ribs, the Fried Chicken ($12, 2pcs) was almost light. Tender and enrobed with spindly buttermilk batter, it was very tasty (albeit unremarkable) dipped into the tart buttermilk dressing and a slick of chilli oil.  

Double Patty Smash Burger ($11)

And of course, the dish everyone gets – the Double Patty Smash Burger ($11). Not that I’ve had McDonalds for over half a decade, but this is essentially a gourmet Big Mac. Minus the salad. Picking it up, I thought the sweet buttered brioche bun was going to disintegrate between my fingers, but it held up remarkably well, sandwiching each mouthful of medium-rare beef, creamy Kraft cheese, and the pickle-infused special sauce. If there’s a burger out there that could possibly be more decadent than the Huxtaburger, I have found it. I’m definitely lovin’ it.

There was only one dessert on the menu and it was ice cream, so we decided to cross the road and get our sweet fix at Gelato Messina instead. And that is but one of the many reasons that will lure me back to Rockwell and Sons. Our dinner was about as affordable and indulgent as a meal could get, and the service was top notch to boot. I can’t wait to come back for the crispy duck wings and chicken liver parfait.

Rating: 16/20 – rock well and rock on.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit. 

Rockwell and Sons on Urbanspoon

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