The eye trails from the trio of sourdough bread on the table, to the restaurant’s long gabion wall. The round buns, slightly larger than tennis balls, might well be an edible tribute to the hundreds of pumice-like volcanic rocks stacked floor-to-ceiling in the feature wall that gives a rustic feel to the contemporary setting.
The name and decor of Rocks Urban Grill and Bar takes a cue from Roxan Villareal, who used to run San Marco at The Lighthouse. Part of the Emmanuel Stroobant Group, the restaurant reopened in mid-January after closing last July. It’s at its same spot on the second level of The Sail @ Marina Bay, which offers great views of the bay that only gets more spectacular when night falls.
There’s a new crew in the kitchen, but little else has changed, save for minor edits to some dishes such as dicing instead of mincing the Wagyu beef in the signature steak tartare. This means a little more work chewing, to slowly bring out the creamy sweetness of the raw beef that’s balanced by the sharpness of capers, mustard and onions served on the side, along with sea salt flakes, to be mixed in to taste. Another popular starter is the scallop carpaccio—sweet, musky and briny, served with dollops of truffle sauce and a handful of frisee.
Sides for sharing, salads and pastas take their places on the menu alongside grilled meats and seafood, which are paired with homemade sauces such as Béarnaise and red wine. Rocks offers bistro dining, but with the culinary and service standards of white-tablecloth restaurants.
Particularly popular here are the wood-fired pizzas, which the restaurant finds itself regularly delivering to offices around the area. A hot favourite is the mushroom and smoked bacon-studded Limestone. The doughy thin-crust pizza with a gooey egg centre atop a soft base of tomato sauce and mozzarella is my idea of soul food.
I also enjoyed the lamb chops, which were simply marinated with garlic, thyme and rosemary overnight. Done medium rare unless you request otherwise, the lamb is sous vide to keep it pink and succulent inside, then grilled for a smoky finish that complements the sweet flavours.
There’s also a decent selection of vegetarian dishes to choose from, be it a grilled eggplant starter or a four-cheese tomato-base pizza.
The menu is complemented by a comprehensive drinks list that includes New and Old World wines, cocktails and beers, well priced to attract an after-hours crowd from the financial district to its bar at the front of the restaurant.
If you prefer a sugar buzz over an alcoholic one, round off your meal with classic dessert like bread and butter pudding (served with toffee ice cream), pavlova, creme brulee, or cheesecake. The signature chocolate fondant is a crumbly cake of ground almond and gooey warm chocolate, served with a scoop of light vanilla ice cream.
Rocks Urban Grill & Bar | 2 Marina Blvd, Singapore 018987 | 6438 4404