Being a huge fan of oysters and prosecco, what more could you really want out of a night than a free-flowing bubbles and oysters reception followed by a 4-course meal pop-up held at one of London’s top restaurants?
2017 will be bring a new year, new resolutions and best of all, brand new restaurants. Sydney Rocks will be one of those. Aiming to open by the summer season in London, this restaurant will specialise in oysters and burgers. Taking surf and turf to the next level, think a modern version of Lady and the Tramp and Jack meets Rose. Two worlds of food collide and create the best combination ever!
Before the big opening next year, the team behind Sydney Rocks have been holding supper clubs hosted in restaurants around London to give the public a little taste of what is to come and to hear our feedback before the doors are open.
The supper club we attended was held at M Restaurant – Threadneedle Street which was the perfect choice. The decor and atmosphere of the restaurant with the dark lighting and modern slick furniture fitted the pop-up theme and we immediately knew it was going to be a great night as soon as we walked through the doors.
The evening started with a free-flowing prosecco and oyster bar, which was of course a great start! The oysters were on display and we were able to watch the chef prepare these on the counter once we had picked which type of oyster and topping we wanted.
The staff were incredibly helpful, explaining the difference between each oyster option and letting us know which toppings matched each best. It is safe to say we had a fair share of each type – we had to make sure we tried all the options of course! Our favourite was the gillardeau oyster – which actually came from France, topped with the ponzu and tobiko caviar. This combo was the best in my opinion, so tasty and the texture of the oyster was meatier than the other 2 we tried.
Once we were (almost) oyster-ed out, we were invited over to our table for our 4-course set meal. We started off with MORE oysters but this time with a difference. These came as a pair and were grilled with 2 different toppings.The first of the duo was topped with tomato, basil, feta and ouzo and the second topped with garlic butter, parmesan and paprika. Both as incredible as the other and really lovely to try an oyster that was hot instead of chilled as this is something I had never had before but definitely want again.
Moving away from the oysters and onto the second course which in all honesty I was least excited for as I am not usually a fan of octopus or fennel. However this dish ended up being the stand out one of the night for me and something I actually have not stopped thinking about since! The grilled octopus was served with little smokey chorizo bits and an orange, pomegranate and fennel salad. The texture of octopus for me is usually too rubbery and hard to eat but Sydney Rocks pushed that right out the window. This octopus was soft and melted in our mouths as soon as we took out first bite. The char-grilled flavour mixed with the sourness of the salad and the smokiness of the chorizo was the perfect amalgamation. It was like a flavour party in my mouth that I did not want to end. It left me thinking I would definitely go back to Sydney Rocks just for this dish alone. Luckily when the dish had ended this only meant one thing – our mains.
The main course was The Signature burger – and I can see why! 21 day 8oz grass-fed free-range beef, topped with porchetta, truffle champagne gruyere emulsion, tomato confit and bourbon onion jam. The description of the dish was a bit of a mouthful and so was the burger. Being such a big burger fan I usually have my rules while eating these, the first one being never cut them in half. Burgers are made to be messy and those around me are usually pre-warned this is not going to look pretty. I think it’s best just to get stuck in there and handy to know burgers eaten this way should not be done on any first dates. The Sydney Rocks burger however was a different story and made me break my own burger rules. There was no way this layer-upon-layer monster was getting picked up and eaten whole and I’m afraid I must admit, this one had to be cut in half.
Luckily, this actually gave me more of an ‘insight’ to all the different components of the burger. From the medium rare cooked beef to the melted truffle cheese and the incredible bourbon onion jam this burger was definitely up there in terms of the best burgers around. The Signature burger came with a side of double-cooked rosemary and truffle chips. These were great and not as over-powering as these 2 toppings can sometimes be. The only thing I would say about these was the fact we just wanted more as it was quite a small portion compared to the size of the burger – but that’s just the greedy tummy talking.
As full as we were after this surf and turf style meal, of course we had a little extra room for the dessert. This consisted of pocket-sized donuts with a vanilla coconut custard dip and a milkshake shot, topped with a toasted marshmallow. This was an interesting dessert with 2 separate elements, one I loved and one I would have changed. The texture of the donuts were not as expected as they were on the harder, crunchier side rather than doughy and soft like normal doughnuts. They were almost little biscuits rather than donuts, which still tasted great but just was not what we were expecting from the description. The cold, fresh milkshake shot with the gooey toasted marshmallow was however, amazing and the perfect end to such an outstanding evening.
At the end of the meal, we were asked for our feedback which I thought was a great touch to the night. The staff were genuinely interested to hear what we had to say and it was lovely to hear the story behind the foundation of Sydney Rocks. Their restaurant will be coming to London in 2017. For an amazing mixture of oysters, burgers and a few other treats on the side… watch this space!