I haven’t been out to eat in the city of Newcastle (Australia) in a few years, and to be perfectly honest I wasn’t expecting much. But, what I got was a taste experience that took me from Turkey to Greece. Rustica on Kent Street in Newcastle’s CBD is a taste bud experience.
The menu is designed to share and the portions of the large plates are huge. There’s a greek saying “mageirepses gia olokliro chorio” which basically means you’ve cooked enough for an entire village. And that is exactly what we got when we ordered the ‘kleftico’ for two. But before I get to that let’s start with the entree.
Before we even ordered we were served some baguette with olive oil and balsamic to dip in. For starters, we ordered The Turkish share plate that had pickles, olives, flatbread, red pepper hummus, carrot labneh and fetta & herb cigars. Yummy is an understatement although the fetta and herb cigars were not my favourite everything else on the plate was divine.
Move over Turkish share plate and hello crispy zucchini flowers fried in a spiced chickpea batter, eggplant tabouleh and sumac yoghurt. Add to that the crispy fried local calamari with golden spice, Turkish black pepper mayonnaise and green pickle. The calamari was cooked well and the spice gave it a bit of a kick in flavour.
For the main we had the slow-braised ‘Kleftico’ lamb shoulder with oregano potatoes, sautéed greens, candied walnuts and lemon. This was mouthwatering goodness. The only downside to this dish was that there was so much of it (if you consider that a downside). The lamb was tender and fell off the bone, the potatoes were crispy-skinned and soft on the inside and the sauteed greens were to perfection.
Ok, so all that was great! Here’s the heart-stopper. I ordered the Belgian chocolate fondant, vanilla bean ice cream with raspberry crumb and my taste buds were in culinary heaven. Now, I’m not a sweet tooth and for me to make a statement that big about a dessert goes to say something. The consistency of all the elements on the plate was PERFECT! ( Matt Preston voice on). Simply heaven.
My advice to anyone who is heading to Newcastle or lives there and hasn’t tried Rustica is do so. If you can try to book a table with water views to make it all that more special.
If you’ve been let me know your thoughts! If you haven’t, bon appetite.
Address: 1 King St, Newcastle, NSW 2300