Waterfront Restaurant @ The Rocks

seafood platter

Waterfront is impossible to miss – it’s built with a distinctive replica of a square-rigged colonial sailing ship mast at the external dining area. This is a full scale replica so it looks like a ship actually ran aground. I thought it was built around a real ship but one of the waitresses told me it’s a replica – another one of which is inside the main dining area.

waterfront ship

The location is on prime Sydney real estate – look outside and you’ll see breathtaking views of Sydney Habour – right from the Opera House to Harbour Bridge. The Sydney Opera House is all lit up since I went during Vivid Sydney – will write about the complete experience soon.

vivid sydney opera house

This restaurant is owned by Dockside Group and there’s actually five (5) interconnected restaurants, cafes and bars inside. I walked around the nautical themed interior of Waterfront, got a little lost, and actually exited from another bar and had to double back to my seating area.

I mentioned that I had the second best seafood platter in Sydney at Vues on the Bay in Port Stephens – this is the best one.

Hot & cold seafood platter for two (AUD 195)
A succulent selection of crayfish, blue swimmer crab, tiger prawns, Balmain bugs, oysters, mussels, baby calamari, market fresh fish & smoked salmon served with fries, mixed leaf salad & tartare sauce

hot seafood platter

The crayfish has been poached and then shocked in ice water. It’s served cold, just the way I like it. BTW, I use the terms interchangeably coz crayfish in Australia actually refers to spiny lobsters in a lot of places – like this one! It’s one of the larger specimens I’ve seen and each person has ½ lobster. I managed to eat 2 lobsters coz some of the people in our group has shellfish allergies and others didn’t really like crayfish that much (heresy!).

It’s really the best crayfish I’ve ever had and that’s coz the lobster was so fresh it tasted sweet and succulent! I just couldn’t have enough.

On the other hand, the Balmain bug (it’s a type of slipper lobster, which is different from a Moreton Bay Bug) tasted positively stale. It seems like it has been caught for a long time, defrosted, then cooked in the same way. I was *not* impressed.

crayfish

However, the seafood platter has way more hits than misses – the blue crab was delicious, the oysters and mussels divine, and I really liked the baby calamari. The “market fresh fish” (they use Murray Cod, Golden Perch and Australian Bass – the Barramundi is cooked as a separate a la carte item) was absolutely delicious! It was Murray Cod that day and it’s made into long, thin cigar shaped pieces which were breaded and fried to perfection. It’s definitely my favorite out of the hot platter.

flourless chocolate cake

Dessert was a bit of a letdown though. I didn’t quite like the Flourless Chocolate Cake – and judging from the rest of the group, I wasn’t the only one. The cake itself was dry and hard and the best thing about the plate is the quenelle of vanilla bean ice cream.

waterfront sydney

I had a few glasses of local Pinot Noir to go with dinner and it complemented everything nicely. I dove in so fast that I didn’t even think about getting the best pictures. All I wanted to do was to get at the sweet poached and ice shocked lobster meat! I would say that the delectable crayfish and deep fried battered Murray Cod was so good that it made the little misses seem like nitpicking.

waterfront the rocks

Waterfront restaurant serves up good seafood and although it may look like a tourist trap on the outside, there are actually a lot of locals who eat here due to the ambience. I would recommend it if you like romantic dinners by the harbour. We were seated outside, but since it was a chilly autumn night, the place was buttoned up with see-through canvas for heating but I bet it’ll be perfect in summer.

replica ship

It can be a little bit pricey though (and there’s also a AUD 5 surcharge on weekends), but I guess that’s due to the location – you’re paying for the wonderful view of Sydney Harbour during dinner too, which isn’t a bad thing.

waterfront restaurant

Waterfront @ The Rocks
17-27, Circular Quay West
Sydney, New South Wales

A selection of Hors d’oeuvre

chocolate cubes

This is one of the most awesome chocolates I’ve ever had – it’s made of over 80% cocoa, very dark and bittersweet, with a dusting to finish it.

chocolate cocoa

I think a whole bunch of us in Singapore had way too much of these. I know I certainly did, totally ruined my appetite for dinner.

hors d oeuvre

This is pretty good too – it’s a layered chocolate cake and almost impossible to dissect but let me attempt to describe it – it contains layer after layer of moist and fluffy pastry covered with chocolate. I was impressed, it was so light it felt like I was eating mostly air.

lobster shots

Lobster shooters. I liked this one too – awesomely concocted pieces of lobsters with the accompanying sauces and garnishes in one ready-to-drink (eat?) shot.

liquor chocolates

This were the chocolates that had liquor in it – it’s infused with Bailey’s Irish Cream. I preferred the original high cocoa content chocolate cubes instead but a lot of others liked these. :)

Lobster and clam pasta with mango and bacon wrapped French beans

lobster and clam pasta with mango

This was originally planned as a yee sang cooking session which somehow mutated into a lobster fest. We were at Cold Storage searching for fish when I saw this awesome looking lobster for RM 59.88. It’s bright, colorful and knobby in all the right places. I stood there marveling at the crustacean instead of looking for fish. I was still staring longingly at it when Eiling came out of the pork section.

lobster

Thus, we decided to forgo the fish and went for lobster instead. I was concerned this wouldn’t fit into my pot and contemplated going for Cambodian lobsters instead. Cambodian lobsters are much smaller than regular lobsters, and doesn’t look like it has a lot of meat in it. There’s a live lobster in the fresh seafood area too, for RM 78 but that monster is definitely too big for my pot.

lobster going into pot

Besides, it’s regular red instead of this wonderfully hued lobster. =D

ingredients

Anyway, when there’s Eiling, there’s always wine – she brought along a bottle of Piper-Heidsieck Champagne Brut and a bottle of Cadet d’Oc by Baron Philippe de Rothchild. This is what we used to cook the CNY (?) meal:

Lobster
Clams (la la)
Streaky bacon
French beans
John West anchovy fillets
San Remo spaghetti
Garlic and parsley infused olive oil
McCormick Season All Salt
Ripe mango

spaghetti

We started off by cooking the spaghetti until it was al dente with lots of McCormick’s Season All Salt. This is drained and left aside while the other dishes were prepared.

french beans

The bacon wrapped French beans is a concoction of Eiling – she shows how it’s done here. The beans are sliced into hors d’oeuvres sized pieces before being dipped in boiling water. Don’t overcook the veggies or it’ll lose the crunchiness!

rolling bacon

It is then rolled in a raw bacon slice.

bacon rolled

This is how we roll in KL. ;)

bacon rolls

The bacon rolls are then fried with olive oil on low heat until it cooks. It is important not to overcook it, you don’t want crispy bacon, but something nice and chewy that drips with mouth watering lard.

cooking bacon

Next up: Lobster!

lobster pot

Okay, this motherfucker is a bit of a challenge to put into my pot so I cooked it tail first with the head sticking out. The water is seasoned with LOTS of salt so it would impart some into the lobster (or so my rationale goes).

lobster cooking

The lobster needs to be boiled for about 30 minutes or so – we turned it over to let the head cook and found out that after cooking, it is possible to stuff the entire lobster into the pot!

mango

Take a break and dice the mango at this point. Choose one that is firm, yet sweet and juicy.

clams

The clams go in last since they’re quite easy to cook. Make sure your lovely crustacean is cooked before you chuck in the clams. I have no idea how long you should cook it, we just guesstimated and it worked out very well!

You should reheat the pasta at this point – we used the broth from the lobster and the clams to reheat it, and it really imparts some flavor into the spaghetti!

aglio olio

Now it’s time to make the aglio olio sauce for the spaghetti. Remember the frying pan you used to cook the bacon wrapped beans in? That’s perfect as a base due to the flavors imparted by the streaky bacon. Just add in the infused olive oil and pour in a bit of the anchovy fillet grease and you’re set!

fried lala

Dump the clams into the aglio olio sauce, fry it for a bit and pour the mixture onto your pasta!

serve

Don’t forget your anchovies to add a bit of zing (salt) into your spaghetti!

anchovies

Eiling was a bit doubtful about the addition of mangos into the dish but I managed to convince her that it’ll taste great. It did!

lobster and clam pasta with mango final

I really loved the lobster – it came out just nice, and the flesh is sweet and juicy. Digging into the lobster’s head and eating the stuff inside is pure heaven.

french beans rolled in bacon

The bacon rolled French beans were great – the beans are crunchy and fresh while the bacon was done just right. The mango cubes worked very well too, providing a sweet and juicy burst of nectar which goes very well with the lobster and clam pasta.

lobster tail

There’s a saying that all the meat in lobster is in the tail and I agree…but all the taste is in the head of the lobster!

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