Thursday, 27 November 2008

Rockin' at Rockwall

Rockwall last night for dinner was interesting. Yes, that word again. Depending on the reasons you go out for a meal you’ll either like or not like it.

Being the new kid on the block, they were naturally chockers last night, many of their patrons being faces I knew from different places and times in my life.

I would liken their food to next doors – Ball and Chain - without the salad bar.

Quite a few have already commented to me about the (lack of) service, but given that they are in fact new, and still establishing customs internally, I would prefer to give them the benefit of the doubt there. I don’t think we waited any longer than is normal for somewhere with that amount of busy-ness last night.

We both chose a steak, with your standard optional extra choice of pepper/brandy, mushroom or Dianne sauce. We ordered a side of chips as well. Fillet steak is priced at $34. How does one describe a stock standard steak? One doesn’t.

There has been a lot of hype surrounding the opening of this restaurant, including tales of Ron Barassi having money invested in it (which may well be so, given that one of the menu items is named for him), and the fact that it is another Gary Baker production.

The fitout of the former Mummalukas is good. With the clutter and tiredness of Mummalukas gone, it’s easy to see the potential was there for a more minimalist and modern look.

I’d say go there and judge for yourself if you’re curious.

And finally – my night was absolutely made when I received a text message from my close friend and workmate Sam Cawthorn, who travelled yesterday afternoon from Launceston to Hobart to attend the presentations at Meadowbank for Tasmanian of the Year. Sam’s text read – “I won”! Sam has been named Tasmania’s Young Australian of the Year.
Well done, and my most sincere love and congratulations to you Sam. I expect nothing less! Now get back to completing that Annual Performance Report!
Posted on by Rita


Anonymous said...

I'm not a big fan of Ball&Chain... but I don't eat steak! The non-steak options there don't excite me much, though I do like the salad bar.

The menu I found on their website ( seems much more interesting than B&C for things other than steak. It also gives the impression that it's trying to be a bit classier. I haven't seen it yet though.

Susannah said...

Hi Rita

I'm inclined to agree with your comment about the steak. I had the 'steak barassi' on Monday night, and while it was quite good, it wasn't sensational (it didn't really challenge my memories of Steak Astor, which I recall being more lucious, with the blue cheese being a bit more melty). Two of my companions chose the duck with roasted vegetables, which looked lovely, and by all reports tasted good too. The male diners in the party were also pleased with the sizes of the servings (one of them had grumbled about the prospect of dinner at a trendy venue, where they would get a spoonful of food on the middle of a very large white plate, decorated with pureed something or other and a few flower petals - nouvelle cuisine still has a lot to answer for!).

Next time I go I think I will avoid the steak and go for something a bit more interesting (there was certainly more than steak on the menu). The Turkish delight pannacotta was wonderful - very light use of gelatine, so it was very creamy and soft, with a lovely undertone of turkish delight and a garnish of turkish fairy floss and a dusting of fine pistachio nut.

The decor was pleasant, with good spacing between tables. I did mention that the service was a bit so-so, but I do think that this was just initial teething problems. The attitude of the waitstaff was certainly excellent, and I am sure once the feel of the place has settled in, then the actual service delivery will match the motivation of the staff to meet customers' needs.

Anonymous said...

I haven't been to Rockwall yet but congratulations! to Sam Cawthorn, I couldn't think of anyone more deserving or more inspiring to receive the award.


sir grumpy said...

One thing I hate more than awards is people crowing about awards.
Yes, I'm a grumpy old bastard, but the motivation behind award-seeking still mystifies me.
If you do it for yourself, why get an award?
If you do it for the community and others, isn't that reward enough?
But if you do it for the recognition and awards then it is hypocritical, glory-seeking and often points to a shallowness and arrogance.
I'm not saying this about your known recipient, Rita. I wouldn't know them from a bar of soap or what they won the award for.
Right, I'm ready for the acid...pour it on....

earmuffs said...

Yes Sir G, all those Nobel winners are glory seeking, arrogant & shallow.
Professor Ian Frazer, a past Australian of the year for his work as an immunologist was surely a self seeking glory monger.
My own father in law, an AOR recipient for his years of work in charity was just being shallow.
Why shouldn't these people be proud of their achievements & why shouldn't they be allowed a moment to stand tall?
You really do come across as very small minded & bigoted sometimes & I do know that you are often stirring & if this is an example , then fair enough, again you got a response, your oxygen it seems.
But are you seriously prejudiced against the efforts of someone who has been given an award for doing so? How parsimonious, mean spirited & sanctimonious of you.

sir grumpy said...

I do my bit Earmuffs, I just don't seek an award. The efforts of those people are good. well done. Why aren't the ordinary people awarded and allowed to stand tall? Just for being.
No,everything must become a competition and it is this trait in us that leads to conflict. Sorry, I have to disagree with the fame/award mentality.
There are lots of deserving people who do great things for us but that is reward in itself.
I don't know Frazer. He's made a good living no doubt, so why does he need a gong?
For me, society pushing us into competition for glory is something we have to shake off.
Can you at least see where I'm coming from?
I'm no communist but I believe in a middle-ground where we don't have to use carrots on a stick to get advancement.
Some Nobel prizewinners have been a worry too. Don't nominate me. (Oh, you weren't going to).
It's like all those sporstpeople. get a fortune and fame and glory and wouldn't give you the time of day.
So, with all due respect, I have to disagree. But it's only my opinion. I don't think I'll win an Oscar for it.

Rita said...

Sir G - Sam (aged in his mid-20's)had a horrific car accident 2 years ago whilst doing his job. He lost his right arm in the accident and now has much reduced use of one leg (which under normal circumstances he would have lost, along with the arm). He spent many months in rehabilitation, then when up and about again, realised how close to death he had come, and started to do motivational speaking to young people to make them aware of cause and effect. He has been a true role model to many young people, as well as being a great person with a wicked sense of humour which is obvious when he does his motivational speaking. He is my northern counterpart in work, as we both do the same role - Sam covers the north of the state and I cover the south.
I don't know who nominated him but as much as anyone deserves an award, Sam does. He has a wife and 3 kids and loves them unreservedly, and is truly grateful for what he has overcome, so is harnessing this knowledge for others.

I understand what you mean about why shouldn't anyone and everyone get awards. But many people may feel like it would be nice for someone to actually acknowledge them and what they've achieved, and say Thank You in this way, hence awards like this.
I say give them to those who deserve them, and let the rest of us get on with it quietly. It really is between you yourself and your own conscience as to what you contribute to the world, isn't it?

sir grumpy but fair said...

He sounds like a cracking person, Rita and worth his weight in gold.
Good on him.
But my caveat is not with this instance it is the whole award culture.
If I encountered this person Im sure I would be full of admiration and only too willing to help if called upon.
As I said, I know nothing of the people involved but awards just don't do it for me.
Maybe it's because there are too many of them that I have this opinion now.
Your mate is an example of a deserving case.
But when I see sports star awards, TV and film awards, Soapie awards and God knows what else, I can't help but feel it diminishes us all. Often a manufacturer will give out an award just to promote their product.
I am not a hard-heart.

Anonymous said...

Rita said: "He lost his right arm in the accident..."

How does he text?

Left as anon because I'm kind of ashamed.

earmuffs said...

Yes but you didn't Sir G.
You made a broad brush statement that was prejudiced against people who wone an award merely because they had.
I agree with you that it is a sad malady in our society that seems to need to celebrate the shallow, be they film stars, sports people or the cult of celebrity.
I just dont think you need to be so broad brush as you might unfairly judge the people who even you, might think deserve a gong.

Rita said...

Anon 7.36 - with his left hand of course - he IS Gen Y after all! We've done the 'armless jokes many times, too! He is the master of all gadgets, and always has the latest, whether it's car or iPhone or whatever! He has a website too. Google: Be Motivated and you should find him.
Sir G - nothing much I can add there.

sir grumpy said...

I'm a broad person, Earmuffs....broad minded, broad in girth, I like broads, born and broad in Britain, broad and butter, give my regards to broadway.....I could go on, broadly go where no man has gone before....I'll shut up.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps one is a bit complacent with ones steak. He haw.
You know if you were to take a group of chefs and put them down at a table and ask them to draw on all of their styles and experience and ask them to design a menu; they would all include a steak or two. The methods would vary, but all would tell you its the backbone of most menus. The public want it, they expect it.
You know one of the things not mentioned in menu design is generation and demographic. Take an 18 year old out for his dinner, 90% of them boys are gonna hit a steak. hell their still at it 30 years later, and their fathers look on with pride. The mid 20's woman and the salad, the 30's looking for the neat and different etc etc blah blah.
Look I like a good steak, Ball and chains ok, Astor was good (better atmos at astor) but if Rockwall can do a good one then great.
What I would love to see is a decent real ale pub in the Huon (or wherever) called "Cow" flame grilled slow cooked chargrilled barbequed any way you want it 10 types of cow, sirloins T bones, porterhouses, eye Rib Parvae cut Wagyou Angus yearling aged etc. A place to go if you want some seriously seared moo.
Hell I would travel. Hope this makes sense.

Anonymous said...

Sorry above was cartouche

Rita said...

I too would have to come into that demographic of being a steak lover Cartouche. I generally order a steak if out, and it's on the menu. So I'm there, travelling with you, to go eat steak at Cow!

Anonymous said...

Moo too.


the silver fairy said...

for one who is a self anointed knight ...

Stephen said...

I dined at Monty's last week and when the waitress came over and explained the menu modifications (out-of-stocks/fish'o'day etc), she also listed the breed and farm from which each cut came.

Knowing the location and breed is too much for me - suddenly I can imagine Daisy the Angus standing in a paddock on a sunny day sometime last week wondering whether that nice farmer Giles is coming over just to give her a scratch behind the ear.

I had the (safely anonymous) duck.

I'm a city kid so all I want to know about the creature I'm eating is that it had a nice life, has several children who are now all grown up, and that it fell dead on the butcher's table after being struck by lightening.

Call me a hypocrite, but there you go.

Stephen said...

Oh, by the way, the Monty's meal was wonderful.

Does anywhere else in Hobart have such a great range of cheeses? They have one particular waitress who clearly loves cheese and has a reliable opinion on each one - really refreshing to see.