For a restaurant situated right in the middle of Vivid Sydney at the Rocks, it was surprisingly easy to get a seat at Baroque at 6:30PM Friday night. The early dinner-birds get the best seats, after all (:
The majority of patrons were seated outside, on high stooled tables, sofas overlooking the Harbour and metal cafeteria-like benches. I was given a choice of high stools (which didn't have a view) or sofa (with Harbour view but with only a low coffee table...not a good place to eat dinner). Because my family hadn't arrived yet, opted to wait...and promptly watched both the sofa and high stool get snatched away by customers who appeared while I was waiting hahaha.
I ended up asking the host whether they had any indoor seats with a view of the Harbour - because I wanted everyone to see outside but had reservations. He obliged and found me a perfect 4-person seat by the window with views of the Harbour Bridge and a glimpse of the Harbour in the gap between buildings. Considering we were not at the waterfront, it was probably the best view in the house. It was a good thing I asked for an indoor seat, because it began to pour halfway through our meal!
The interior decor was pretty minimal, with some cute details. The cosy sofa built into the bay window at our table was fine but the chairs on the other side were a little flimsy-looking and looked a little like rustic school chairs. This was fine for me but I think maybe my parents were expecting something slightly more ornate, considering Baroque's branding.
We went during the Vivid Festival period so had a smaller Vivid menu to choose from.
We opted to have everything delivered together, which may not have been the best idea. Even though all the dishes were delivered after around a 15min wait, some parts (especially the fries) were a little more warm than piping hot. It was also hard to fit all the dishes on our smallish table.
This was the Fried Smokey Mozarella served with tomato relish. The bulk of the flavour lay in the really interesting sauce - a really saucy, barbeque flavour. This was one of the dishes that got a little cold because everyone was busy eating their mains.
This was the Slow Cooked BBQ Pork Neck for Two, which ended up being my 'main' dish (shared with everyone). The buns were so fluffy, warm and fresh and the aioli was gorgeous. Shoestring fries - as unhealthy as they are - are my special weakness.
The pork's distribution of fat and lean meat was a little uneven, so the left side was all lean meat (just a tad overcooked at the edges) and I got a pocket of fat on the lower right hand side. Other than that, it was cooked really well. The cabbage side was a little too acidic for my liking but a good counterpoint of flavour to the richness of the pork.
It was a very generous dish - it ended up really being pork neck for three that left me sufficiently satisfied (though, admittedly, the other two had their own mains).
I didn't get to taste the Braised Lamb Shoulder with potato puree and ratatouille but I did taste the mashed potatoes, which was amazingly smooth and buttery. It sounds super insignificant, but it was one of the highlights. I guess I was used to seeing ratatouillle from the Pixar film and was looking for the characteristic slices hahaha.
Baroque doesn't offer much by way of vegetarian options on their Vivid menu - there was this Celeriac Veloute with Salsa Verde and Croutons, a risotto and the smokey mozarella? The soup was very small for a $22 main and didn't come with any bread or accompanying carb/solid. It was a good thing we had the bread rolls from the pork dish to share or I don't think it would have been enough.
We ended up not opting to eat the dessert at Baroque because we planned to try another dessert place but they definitely looked beautifully made in their storefront display.The front of the store is open plan so we got a great view of the things going on in the kitchen.