Tucked away in the hustle and bustle of Sydney Road is a new dining experience perfect for a first date or for those appreciative of exquisite food & wine. Excellent service combined with a modern menu blend beautifully in this new restaurant called Rascal.
Rascal has an art deco theme, large vaulted arches with exposed brick and plant life – a mash of old and new that fits that Brunswick vibe so loved by Melbourne. The building was originally a tent market then pub called the Cumberland Inn during the gold rush era.
A candlelit table sets the evening, where warm sourdough with cultured olives and mixed-house olives whet your appetite as you peruse a menu. We find it quite difficult to decide on which dish to start with, eventiually placing our trust with the chef and the multi-course Chef’s menu option (we want to experience the best of what Rascal had designed).
Some of the dishes we loved:
Carrots with goats curd, mead and crushed macademia – the perfect amuse-bouche.
Kingfish ceviche – served with blueberry dashi, kohlrabi and freshly grated horseradish – a perfect palate cleanser that’s just acidic enough (thanks for the dashi) and yet tantalising. The hero is the kingfish but is definitely enhanced by its companions.
The moistest fried chicken in existence. The green chilli sauce (made with nasturtiums and fermented green chilli) was a bit too much for this white girl but complimented the chicken perfectly.
Asparagus is served with house-made nduja (Rascal makes all its own charcuterie in house), almond butter, pickled onion and roasted almonds. I’m not an asparagus person but I loved this dish.
Lamb neck rolled on a Hibachi grill is fresh, fall off the bone, melt in your mouth and accompanied by a smoked potato puree.
Desert; light, tangy and fruity. The dish was a cominbation of rhubarb, strawberry gum custard, blackberry and beet juice sorbet with meringue wafers. It completed the dining experience with a sense of finality as well as a sweetness to remember after the visit without the bloating.
We spoke with Elliot Pinn, the head chef (formerly of Doot Doot Doot and Sepia), to hear the story of how Rascal came to be. Their intention was a fun, high quality and but not pricey food experience. There are 5 partners in the business, John, Simon, Harrison, James & Elliot – who all bring a wealth of hospitality experience to this venue.
Rascal used a fascinating combination of foods that worked across the board – every dish had a range of unique flavours that meshed together in synchrony that delighted the pallet and confirmed the mind.
Dining at Rascal is not just a meal, but an experience that encourages you to enjoy and savour the food that is presented to you.
5 stars from the Just Melbourne team.
341 Sydney Road, Brunswick
(03) 9114 2817
Wed to Fri 5pm–11pm