The Rockpool Files

Behind Neil Perry’s Blue Water Grill pop-up

Blue Water Grill was born in 1986. Located in Bondi, it was my version of a seafood brasserie, I guess, that integrated the Asian flavours that I loved. Many of the dishes were precursors to those that became famous at Rockpool, which subsequently opened in 1989.

My vision has always been to use the freshest seafood caught and harvested in a sustainable manner and to work as directly as possible with the fisherman. Also, to take responsibility to dry fillet and cook with care.

This whole philosophy started in 1986 when John Susman and I started bringing seafood direct from the fisheries to Blue Water Grill.  After this John started Flying Squid Brothers to supply the new seafood restaurant Rockpool. When John left the wholesale business I started working with Mark Eather of Jolly Roger Seafood; John had only exported his catch before our relationship began.

Consequently, I feel that those early years of Blue Water Grill really paved the way for how seafood is treated in the very best seafood restaurants we have in Australia today.

I’m having a flashback thirty-odd years and creating a Blue Water Grill pop up, which has found temporary digs at Eleven Bridge, Rockpool Dining Group’s dedicated event street at 11 Bridge Street in Sydney’s CBD.  From Monday, 19 November to Saturday, 24 November we’ll be serving retro Blue Water Grill classics for lunch and dinner, daily.

I’ve dug out the original menus and summoned up the old flavours – all we need to do is chuck some sand on the floor and it is Blue Water Grill circa 1986 revisited.

The menu is a retrospective look at the dishes I loved from that time. As in the Blue Water Grill days, they are dependent on the premium quality and freshness of the seafood that we are able to use.

To that end I would like to thank Corners Inlet fisherman Bruce Collis, Ben Collison Reef Fish, Walkers Seafood, Rick at Kolega Fisheries for his Spencer Gulf prawns, Mark Allsop at Australia’s Oyster Coast, Manny Simitzis of Australian Live Seafood for his pipis, and our good friends from over the ditch Leigh Fishery, who will all supply our pop-up as they supply Rockpool Bar & Grill, Spice Temple and Rosetta daily.

I hope you also enjoy the retro prices for Australia’s best seafood.

Words: Neil Perry
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