Rockpool Dining Group prepares for first restaurant launches

13 December, 2016 by
Danielle Bowling

Rockpool Dining group, which was formed when Rockpool Group was acquired by Urban Purveyor Group (UPG), will this week launch two new venues – the first since the acquisition was announced.

Sak Jr will open at Melbourne’s St Collins Lane on Friday 16 December, celebrating the occasion with meal giveaways on 16 and 19 December.

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Adding to its build-your-own bowl offering, Sak Jr will debut a range of new dishes and ‘grab & go’ items by Rockpool Dining Group head of culinary, Neil Perry.

Drawing inspiration from a recent trip to Japan, Perry has worked with Sak Jr chefs to create new lunch-time offerings, including sashimi salads, noodle salads and poke.

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A new dinner menu includes Japanese fried chicken, or JFC, with a choice of three dressings; a selection of bao buns; and abura, or oil noodles, featuring a choice of pork, chicken or tofu with either ramen or udon noodles and topped with pickled bamboo, spring onions, nori wakame, soft cooked egg and shirazu.

Urban Craft Brewing Co’s Japanese-style craft beers will be served on tap at the St Collins Lane venue, and house wines and sak by the glass will also be on offer.

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“Abura is a cult dish in Tokyo at the moment. It’s a soupless, oil noodle dish, so perfect for our summer and really delicious. A bowl of this, with a couple of beers, is great dinner combination,” Perry said.

Also opening on 16 December is Brisbane’s first Fratelli Famous Pizzeria, located on Eagle Street Pier.

Fratelli Famous is the fast casual spin-off of the popular Sydney and Melbourne Italian eatery Fratelli Fresh, which UPG acquired earlier this year.

Like with Sake Jr, Fratelli Famous will be offering give-aways as part of the opening celebrations, with 500 free build-your-own pizzas on offer from midday on Friday.

Rockpool Dining Group has identified Queensland as the largest growth market for the business, and it plans to double its size in the state over the next 24 months.

Fratelli Famous Eagle Street Pier is located on the ground floor of the waterfront precinct. The 62-seat pizzeria features a large al fresco area and a spacious dining room.

Customers build their own pizza by choosing one of three bases: sourdough, classic Napolitana, or gluten-friendly; selecting from a number of sauces, seasoning and cheeses; and unlimited toppings.

A custom-designed Wood Stone dual wood and gas-fired oven cooks the hand-stretched pizzas in under two minutes, as seen below in a recent  Kitchen Tour video published by Hospitality. The ovens are an Australian first, and were first seen at the Fratelli Famous Pizzerias in Sydney’s Westfield and World Square shopping centres, opening in August and October respectively.

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Nine signature pizzas are available and the menu also includes a breakfast pizza, dessert pizzas, build-your-own salads, and house-made gelatos.

A range of Italian craft beers brewed by Urban Craft Brewing Co, as well as house-made acqua frettas and sodas will be available.

Before the acquisition of Rockpool Group was announced, Thomas Pash, CEO of UPG, spoke with Hospitality magazine about his plans to create Australia’s first billion dollar restaurant group. Investing in the fast casual space is a key part of the group’s strategy with brands like Sake Jr, Fratelli Famous and the Bavarian Bier Caf each expected to boast up to 100 sites each by 2021.