The Rook, Sydney

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The Rook, located in the Sydney CBD specialises in lobster, burgers and liquor – one simply cannot argue with that! My good friend Edrea and a group of colleagues thought we’d give this one a try next on our mega list of places to visit and eat at around town. Although located on York Street you would never actually know it existed. It’s on the rooftop of a big building which is pretty much not visible from the street level. Once you get over that fact and make it up the lift and indoors, it’s a pretty hip venue. We arrived there early dinner wise (around 5.30pm) but the place did fill up quite fast after that. So anything after 6.00pm I would recommend a reservation for.

Our waitress came round after we were seated and handed out the dinner menu and drinks menu. A cool selection of – you guessed is – lobster, burgers and liquor. There are starters (lettuce cups with different fillings, arancini and croquettes), chicken, wagyu and a lone haloumi burger, standalone lobster and other lobster indulgences, and desserts (deep fried mars bar, cheesecake). Cocktails start from $18 and there are many-a other alcohol options to choose from. We all mostly decided on burgers (all served with truffle fries) and a scattering of cocktails for the night.

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Wagyu burger with cheddar and beetroot ($20)

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The meals came out fairly prompt. Edrea’s wagyu burger with cheddar and beetroot ($20) was juicy with generous fillings and the wagyu was cooked pink in the middle. She said the beetroot appeared to be house pickled and didn’t have that sort of canned sharpness as you’d traditionally expect. The bun was also nice and soft but not so soft that it disintegrated. The truffle fries could’ve been marginally crunchier but were nice overall and had a strong (and somewhat lingering) truffle flavour. Her Pineapple Express cocktail ($20) consisting of Tanqueray gin, pineapple juice, soda, Yellow Charteuse and peppercorn syrup was not too sweet, had a nice peppercorn flavour, and used fresh pineapple. The rosemary sprig added a strong, but nice flavour, but she overall would’ve preferred the pineapple to be more prominent. All that said though, Edrea wasn’t sure if she would spend $20 on it again.

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Orange County ($19) and Pineapple Express ($20)

The other cocktail ordered for the night was Shareeza’s Orange County ($19). This one had in it Bulleit Bourbon, passionfruit, and orange and elderflower liquer. Sweet, passionfruity, and bourbony. She said it was a bit small for $19 and was left wanting more!

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Lobster roll ($25)

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As a bit of a change from the burgers that we all had, Dakota had the lobster roll ($25). It looked quite large on arrival and appeared to be full of delicious, juicy lobster. A little disappointingly, however, the lobster roll actually contained a few more ingredients – potato and bacon in the mix as well, so it was mostly potato at the end, which was a little bit of a let down for her.

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Haloumi burger with peppers and spinach ($20)

My burger (the vegetarian option on the menu although not labelled as such) had a nice combination of haloumi, peppers and baby spinach ($20). Initially I wasn’t sure what ‘peppers’ meant – soft and sweety capsicum? or death by chilli jalapeno peppers? or worse? Needless to say I forgot to ask before I ordered! The flavours of the burger worked well together. The peppers were actually marinated red capsicum which provided a lovely sweetness. The haloumi I found could have been a little bit more salty, and unusually had a spongey/springy kind of vibe like eating a chicken burger (thinking Oporto here). The scattering of baby spinach added some nice greenery. The actual bun worked quite well – soft, not crusty. The chunky fries were lovely, generous and large although I thought they could’ve been a touch crispier. The mayo sauce was fabulous – thick and flavoursome. Overall, a really great burger experience, but I was expecting something a tad bigger/taller for $20, particularly since Jamie Oliver’s burger is $19.50 and it is, well, a Jamie burger. Or maybe like this ginormous burger that Big Bear and I tried at the Hazelhurst Gallery and Café.

Deep fried mars bar with vanilla bean ice cream ($14)

Deep fried mars bar with vanilla bean ice cream ($14)

Gabriel and Dakota ordered the deep fried mars bar with vanilla bean ice cream to share ($14). The crispy batter encasing the mars bar contrasted well with the gooesy mars bar inside. The extras on the plate – vanilla ice cream, meringue, nuts, soaked cherries, caramel and chocolate bits – helped to break up the richness of the mars bar, but also enhanced the flavour when it was eaten with the mars bar. It’s also recommended to share this dessert as most people probably couldn’t eat all of it unless it was the only thing you were eating!

I would visit this place again if I needed a good burger or if someone else wanted to pay for my cocktails and let me enjoy them free of charge.

Palatable level of hipsterdom for the after-work crowd with lobster, burgers and liquor a-plenty

The Rook

Address: Level 7, 56-58 York Street, Sydney 2000

Phone: 02 9262 2505

Lunch: Wednesday – Friday

Dinner: Weeknights from 4.00pm, Saturday from 6.00pm

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