There is a masculine feel to the dining room in Taste at Rustic with its black leather seating, dark wooden floors, red brick walls and sombre muted tones. The overall look suits the restaurant perfectly especially when juxtaposed against the lively atmosphere and the incredibly friendly personalities of the energetic waiting staff.
The menu in Taste at Rustic is the result of Dylan’s travels abroad, most notably in Asia and South America and is heavily influenced by Japanese cuisine. At first glance the menu is a little intimidating but the enthusiastic waiting staff take on board your preferences, offer guidance and make suggestions on which dishes to choose. Sipping on a Blackberry & Apple Crumble cocktail, a wonderful gin and gingerbread liqueur concoction, I felt emboldened to start ordering.
Each of the dishes on the menu is based on one of the five tastes – sweet, salt, bitter, umami and sour and whilst some of my choices were influenced by these categorisations, most were chosen because I was tempted by their description on the menu.
Starters/appetisers include a selection of warm (miso) broths, nigiri (hand-sculpted rice- based sushi) and maki (sushi rolls). These range in price from €2.50 to €4 for the broths and nigiri and diners are urged to select two or three each. The more substantial maki which consist of eight cut pieces are priced around the €12 mark.
Between us, my friend Eithne and I then chose three nigiri each. The nigiri surprised on a number of levels; firstly it was amazing how such complexity of flavour and range of textures could be packed into these mouthfuls and secondly how satisfying they were despite their diminutive proportions. Our choices were varied but were all singularly wonderful. Of special note was the John Dory with Lardo Crudo, Smoked Olive Oil and Smoked Salt which possessed an initial sweetness that gave way to a restrained saltiness. I loved the Sirloin of Wagyu with Black Olive Oil which was altogether different and satisfied in an almost comforting way. Also wonderful were Eithne’s Smoked Mackerel with Spring Onion and fresh chopped Ginger which was fully of zingy freshness and the perfectly cooked Native Prawn gently heated with Sweet Lobster Butter.
The pork belly was melt-in-the-mouth fare. Initially braised, it was finished on the Robata Grill which gave the pork a caramelised and slightly smoky flavour. This was such a satisfying dish.
Whilst I was working my magic with the
stock pot, Eithne was having loads of fun grilling her Dexter Sirloin on the Robata Grill provided. The meat which had
been brushed in reduced onion stock was unbelievably tender and succulent to
eat. The steak was topped with dried and fermented bonito flakes which somehow
intensified the meaty flavour of the beef when they were eaten together. This
was such a simple dish, but really clever.
To accompany our mains, we ordered Beignets of Short Ribs and Wasabi Potato. Both were outstanding and complemented our two different beef dishes perfectly.
I’m a bit of a dessert gal but I will admit that I normally struggle with desserts in Asian and Japanese restaurants as they often don’t appeal to me. In Taste of Rustic desserts, which are priced at around €7/€8 each, do not disappoint and must be tried. I ordered the Doughnut Sticks which were cooked in coconut oil and sprinkled with black salt. They came served with a most unusual but surprisingly light Sake Ice-Cream and a Miso Dipping Sauce. Oh yes! The plaited doughnuts were so soft and light and made me feel oh SO good!
Taste at Rustic has a great wine list and also serves a well-chosen selection of sakes. We decided to go for the Junmai Ginjo Katsuyama ‘Lei’ sake which was beautifully smooth and quite astonishingly complemented both our beef mains and our sweet desserts.
My meal in Taste at Rustic was one of the most exciting and fun dining experiences that I have had in ages. This is knock-your-socks off sexy food that is seductive and exciting and leaves you wanting more!
Taste at Rustic
17 South Great George’s Street
Telephone: 01 7079596
This review first appeared in Thetaste.ie
This review first appeared in Thetaste.ie