Monday, November 22, 2010

Review of The Rustic Stone

Location: South Great George’s Street, Dublin
Price: ****
Service: ***

Mmm Rating:  3.5 (the food, except for the dessert was spot on: it was other factors which let down this restaurant)

Bucket List:  Nope

We had received a recommendation to try Rustic Stone, a fairly new restaurant operated by Dylan McGrath, who, as far as I know, ran MINT in Ranelagh. Not knowing anything about the place I began to ask around and a few people highlighted the novelty of cooking your own steak to how you like it, and how this is really cool. Personally I think it’s the laziest move I have seen in a long time by a restaurant; get people to pay you €30+ for a steak- and then let them cook it themselves- brilliant business model. We arrived last night (21st November) for dinner at 7pm. No early bird menus available at any time which is a bit disappointing (from our student-and-hence-watching-the-pennies point of view)

First Impressions:
When we arrived to the Venue, we commented on how packed the place was- with a real buzz of ‘hip and trendy’ about it. We were brought to our table and our coats were taken (nice touch). We were then handed the menu (singular, as there was a shortage…hmm). Several minutes later a second menu was made available. The unfortunate thing about using cardboard menus is that while they allow for all the cool graphics and logos they bend, fray and get dirty. Mine had some nice chocolate sauce on the front which I had to wipe in order to see the mains.  When I tried to order some blackcurrant squash to drink (designated driver), I was told in a very straightforward manner that they had no cordial of any kind as it was a healthy eating restaurant…Right.  Ever heard of sugar-free Robinsons/Mi Wadi??

Myself and Ev shared the LARGE bowl of chicken wings between us as a starter. We were brought out two side dishes, for the bones and a bowl of lemon-in-water to cleanse our hands afterwards.  After about 15 minutes they arrived in a very well presented bowl. The only issue was there were 6 wings in it. I was kind of hoping for a bit more than that seeing as it costs €10 for the LARGE bowl. Having said that they were delicious- the sesame seeds and coating were really great. We said that it was a nice change to get wings that were not too spicy or served with the bog standard blue cheese dunking sauce.

Overall, the wings were excellent.

The mains menu comprised mainly of steaks and some fish including Tuna and Halibut.  I have issues with the steaks: apart from the fact that they were overpriced (€30 approx) the chef makes you cook it yourself! This restaurant must be great for those couples who have nothing to talk about except how a stone can cook meat. Personally, I love to cook, but when I go to a restaurant I go to relax, to unwind and get inspiration for culinary dishes of my own. I watched a couple tonight who were literally so transfixed on cooking their €30 steaks that they didn’t speak to each other for 10 minutes! Not on in my book.

Anyways- I ordered The Hamburger: (Very special mince ground from a recipe of difference cuts, char grilled, served with herb mayonnaise and my own tomato and lemon chutney, crispy onions and Irish smoked cheddar in a brioche bun. Served with polenta chips)

Ev ordered The Glamburgers: (For those of you who take smaller bites, I have put all of the above in two buns of sesame seeds and smoked paprika alongside parmesan and black pepper. Served with  polenta chips)

Both the burgers were very tasty- and I would like to stress that the flavours were excellent in the food overall. Ev especially enjoyed her Glamburgers – the two different buns were delicious and it was refreshing to be able to experience a variety of flavours in the same dish, so that one doesn’t get bored, she said. I would have assumed from the menu however that The Hamburger would be more substantial than the Glamburgers, surprisingly it wasn’t. And they both came with four chips. Yes, you read that correctly, FOUR CHIPS!! I hate when restaurants to that.  When a dish says served with chips, I think it is generally assumed that you’d get a fair few... four was a bit ridiculous.

Overall burgers and chips were flavoursome and juicy. The only issue I would have was the portion size of the hamburger for the €17 price tag.

I’m not a big desserts fan and was happy to have a Cappuccino (which I only had to ask for twice). Ev got the Chocolate Soup with Chocolate Mousse: (For all the ladies I’ve made a wonderful chocolate soup and mousse but the best part of it is that it is completely sugar free, and finished with some roasted grated hazelnutWhen Ev saw the dessert menu, the attraction was instant: Chocolate Soup, oh well why not?!  One of the problems was that the chocolate sauce supplied in a jug was barely warm, let alone soup-hot.  Ev was expecting to be blown away by this amazing dessert which had all the taste of a regular dessert but none of the sugar - it was not to be, however.  The chocolate left an odd aftertaste and lacked the immediate buzz one experiences from sugar.  Ev noted that all she could think about was ‘Mockolate’, the chocolate substitute Monica has to road-test in an early episode of Friends!!  She later complained about feeling sick, and to be honest, I tried some myself and was not impressed with the taste of the sugar-free chocolate and cream dish. Very poor for a €10 dessert.  If they are that committed to their ‘healthy eating’ in this restaurant they should just not have a dessert menu instead of serving up dishes that insult the divine name of chocolate!!

Excellent buzz and warmth about the venue, decor was original and intimate. Table was very wobbly though and when we asked could we move, we were told “they are all the same, but I’ll try fix it for you”. The waitress did indeed prop up one corner, but did not solve the problem.

Service was slow to be honest. Starters came out quickly but then the empty bowl was on the table for a good 10 minutes before it was picked up. We were also asked could we hold on to our dirty forks for the mains as there was “a shortage”. The waitress then decided that there was no shortage and took them away replacing them with new ones. From then we had about another 20-25 minute wait for our mains. Dare I say the waitress was a bit too casual and unprofessional for our liking - at the end of the day we are eating in a nice restaurant spending good money and would appreciate a bit of energy and warmth from our waitress.

It could be so much more than 3.5- small, simple things are holding quality fresh flavours and creativity back. 

1 comment:

  1. After all the good reviews I heard about this restaurant I have to admit I was really let down. The only part of the meal I liked was the chicken wings..they were yummy. I got haddock for the main course which I did not enjoy because of the sauce they put with it which I had asked for on the side. Also the dessert was a big let down... I ordered the passion fruit sushi.... it just didn't taste of passion fruit at all.