SHE's had a taste of Rockpool...without the price tag!

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SHE loves eating out - and eating at great restaurants is a real treat. Unfortunately it's not always possible to enjoy a top notch restaurant without a hefty price tag. SHE was delighted to discover the Bar and Grill at Rockpool in Melbourne's Crown Casino complex. More specifically - the Bar within the restaurant. Unlike the very grownup restaurant, bookings aren't accepted in the Bar - the secret is arriving early. SHE was given a recommendation to arrive around 6pm, apparently this is the key to snapping up one of the 10 or so tables. And that advice was spot on. At a little after 6pm on a Friday night, SHE was amongst the first to arrive and be shown to a table. SHE thinks Rockpool is the kind of place you could settle into very easily: comfortable leather chairs, muted lighting, excellent service every step of the way. Choosing a bar table doesn't mean compromising on the service or indeed the menu. Order from the full restaurant menu or choose from the more compact bar menu; the choice is yours. No matter where you sit or dine here, no-one's looking down their noses at you. On a Friday night after a long week, a burger and a few wines were definitely in order.

And what a burger it is: Wagyu beef with bacon, gruyere cheese, and zuni pickle; at $24 it was an absolute bargain. A side of crispy, moreish onion rings were the perfect accompaniment. SHE and her buddy enjoyed a very reasonably priced bottle of Pinot Grigio from King Valley in Victoria - surprisingly affordable and very easy to drink. SHE loved the helpful advice of our waiter Hamish - SHE overheard him offer the diners at the next table the option to choose different burgers (either the fish or wagyu and have them cut in half to share). A nice touch for a restaurant that easily commands $55+ for a fine piece of steak. And when our burgers arrived, the waiter suggested the best way to eat it was to cut it in half and pick it up with our hands. Permission to forget the knife and fork... priceless!

If you're watching the dollars  or want to impress someone with your inside knowledge, SHE thinks this is really one of Melbourne's great options. And SHE thanks the talented Neil Perry, and the wonderful staff, for making Rockpool accessible to everyone - no matter what your budget.