Sometimes your best dish can become your worst enemy. At Rockwell and Sons, the latest raw brick, bare-bulbed venture to hit Smith Street, Manu Potoi (ex-Attica), and Casey Wall (ex-Cutler and Co) may want you to be all about their share plates – forage-friendly salads of shaved kohlrabi, radishes, and chickweed; crumbed and deep-fried burrata (cream-filled mozzarella!) – but everyone’s lining up for the 'double patty smash burger' and there’s not a damn thing they can do about it.
Not that a fat bowl of sweet clams swimming in a bacon and jalapeno spiked broth is a bad idea, it’s just that their meat sandwich runs rings around the big gear. Two juicy patties of prime beef layered with Kraft cheese singles (pity the apprentice peeling the plastic off during prep – although better that than washing clams), little gherkins and tomato-mayo sauce in a butter brushed brioche bun. Fist-sized, salad free and $10, it’s a win for high-cal enthusiasts.
They’re doing quite the hot dog too. A thin, lean and spicy merguez sausage in a chilli'n'garlic harissa-lined brioche roll with squiggles of extra-smoky eggplant purée. The flecks of preserved lemon don’t
come through, but it’s Morocco in a bun regardless.
Ambience wise it’s an undeniable step-up from smashing burgers on the curb (Huxtaburger). Potoi runs a formal floor and the booze list is a lesson in Great International Beers of Now.
So while we wouldn’t rush back for the likes of the sweetbreads (battered and deep-fried, the spongy little organs have taken on essence of fryer, and the pairing with yoghurt, sesame-infused honey and bland roasted heirloom carrots is a bit odd) you just can’t can't argue with hand cut chips and vinegar aioli, Norway's brilliant Nøgne Ø beers and Hite in a can. Fact.