Rusticos Tapas & Bar

OPENING HOURS:Tues 4-9pm|Wed,Thurs&Sun 12-9pm|Fri&Sat 12-10pm
ADDRESS:61 Rockingham Beach Road, Rockingham
PHONE:(08) 9528 4114 

On Friday night, a group of six friends, including myself, headed out to Rusticos Tapas Restaurant and Bar in Rockingham, to celebrate the end of another school term. We placed our reservation a week prior and thank goodness we did as this place was packed! Situated along Rockingham Beach Road and with views to the ocean, I can imagine that this is the place to be in Summer. Although, with it’s warm and dimly lit ambience, it was equally inviting even in the middle of winter! We were placed at an outside table with a heater close by and the clear plastic shades were pulled shut so as to keep us comfortable.

IMG_0323We decided on Rusticos as it came highly recommended and had good online reviews. However, I am sorry to say, that I left disappointed!
The service wasn’t too bad, although nothing to write home about. The staff were friendly on our arrival and we were shown to our seat promptly. As we were seated we were given the menus before being asked for our drinks order and our waitress then explained the specials of the day. Unfortunately the menu wasn’t very specific and our waitress did not recommend how many tapas plates would be needed to six people and then when I did ask, it was very brief and didn’t provide much help! We also had to ask for water for the table and then throughout the night continue to ask for it to be replaced when it became empty! 

IMG_0324 We ordered two serves of breads and two varieties of dips as entree. We ordered the sundries tomato & feta pesto dip and the apple balsamic and oil combination. When the two serves of bread arrived at the table, we were only given the balsamic combo and were told the dip was still to come. IMG_0325Unfortunately by the time the sun dried tomato pesto came, we were out of bread and had to order more, which wasn’t too bad until we go the bill and found out that the three small serves of bread we ordered came to $18. I guess this relates to the service again too. The bread was $7 a serve so instead of charging us for 3 serves ($21), they charged us $3 per head ($18) for is the price for endless bread- but they didn’t tell us that! So throughout the night, we could have had endless serves of bread for the same price, which would have come in very handy with the creamy garlic prawns and other plates!

We each ordered a tapas of choice and then put them in the middle of the table for us to all share. The waitress told us that although some serves were only recommended for 4 people, we could pay an additional price to have 6 serves, so this is what we did so we could taste test more dishes!

IMG_0327IMG_0326The first dish to arrive at the table was the incredibly small pot of Creamy Garlic Prawns ($21). We each took one prawn each (as there wasn’t enough for two each) and a spoonful of sauce. Although there was no complaints about the taste, the serving size was very disappointing for the price. Certainly not the best garlic prawns I’ve tasted, but far from the worst.

IMG_0328The second dish to be served was the Local Octopus with Anchovies and battered Jalapeños ($21). The pickled octopus and squid were served on top of a bed of mixed leaves, cherry tomatoes and slices of quartered orange, lemon and lime. The aioli dressing was light and refreshing and the jalapeños were fried beautifully so that they were still juicy and not too hot. Although I was greedy for more octopus, the serving was much better than the prawns and the taste was sensational.

Next out was the Crispy Skin Barramundi ($24), which we all agreed was the dish of the night! It was served with very little garnish, just creamed leek yet it didn’t matter as it was cooked to absolute perfection. I could have eaten another few servings of this as it was deliciously light and melted in my mouth! I love barramundi at the best of times and this was no exception. The two dishes after were the Braised Beef Cheeks ($24) and the Petit Minons ($24). I cannot comment about these as I didn’t try as I don’t eat red meat! My friends seemed to enjoy them and the presentation was incredible.

IMG_0336The final tapas plate to come out was the one that I chose, the Mushroom Risotto Balls ($22). I chose this as it was not usually offered on the menu, but a specialty for the night. The risotto balls were generous in size and were beautifully presented, served with rocket leaves and a tomato puree. I was happy with my choice due to it being a little bit more substantial.

Overall, the food could not be faulted. Each tapas plate was beautifully presented and tasted incredible. We thought that for the prices, the servings were too small and not value for money. The bill came to $120 per couple (including a couple of drinks each) we left feeling unsatisfied and still hungry. Although I would like to give Rusticos another try in the future, I wouldn’t recommend it for those who like to eat or have a never-ending appetite!

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