Goodbye Rockpool est.1989, hello Eleven Bridge – Review
Eleven Bridge Sydney
11 Bridge Street, Sydney Australia 2000
Chef: Neil Perry
Cuisine: Modern Australian
When a last minute decision results in a table at the newly flipped Eleven Bridge (formerly Rockpool est. 1989), you know the Foodie Gods are shining upon you. This late night rendezvous was a return visit to this location after a heady degustation for a business dinner complete with wine match, which was not for the faint-hearted.
This flip was a conscious determination from Neil Perry to distinguish between Rockpool est.1989 and the eponymous Rockpool Bar & Grill. Perry has taken his 66 hats, conducted an exorcism and stamped his ground (and address) onto the sandstone columns of 11 Bridge Street, Sydney.
We slipped in to the barely lit dining room and were expertly seated mid-room. The crisp white linen enveloped the table in stark contrast to a familiar miniature lamp that gave only a hint of illumination to see my dining companion. The dark walls remain as does the wispy smoke installation which was always beautifully moody. This attempt at distinction is interesting as Eleven Bridge still oscillates closely to the fine dining genre with barely a glimpse of anything down scale, including the prices.
The ‘modern Australian’ a la carte menu (no degustation) is a traditional entrée, main and dessert structure with seasonal changes and a balanced offering of vegetarian, seafood, white and red meats. Whilst the marketing says ‘Modern Australian cuisine’, it is more like a melting pot of French, Asian, Italian and some native ingredients – maybe this is modern Australia?
The stand out dishes were the ‘hand rolled strozzapreti with Moreton Bay bug and crustacean butter’ ($45), the ‘Chinese roast pigeon with native tamarind, shark’s fin melon, hot sweet and sour sauce’ ($72) and the ‘Tea smoked lamb pastrami with lap chuong, eggplant and black bean sauce’ ($59).
The name may have changed but the quality of the service and food remains the same. The environment is still ideal for a romantic date, important business lunch or special occasion as long as you are happy to pay the prices. Do not be fooled by the promotion of a complete renovation, the purpose of the change was important – to establish Eleven Bridge with its own unique identity. It is still fine dining, it is still excellent and I’m happy to say it will stand out for many more years to come.