On Saturday, I went out for some lunch to Rustique, in Richmond. (That’s Richmond in North Yorkshire, not London, btw.) Although my original plans were to have a small bite to eat, something along the lines of sandwich + salad, 3 courses from the set menu for £13.95 was just too good to pass up. The most impressive thing about this menu, for me, was the amount of dishes on it that I would be perfectly happy to eat. While I’m not very picky, and have no dietary restrictions, I don’t like goat’s cheese, or fruit in savoury food. You’d be surprised how often this eliminates over half of the dishes from the menu, yet here I had a really hard time choosing between almost everything.
I eventually decided on chicken liver pate with red onion marmalade to start, and salmon croquettes for my main. The pate was incredibly rich and creamy, served with good sturdy bread. I’m not sure I would describe the red onion as a marmalade, but I guess this is another fancy restaurant word. It tasted great, so I won’t complain about it. I have a real thing for well dressed leaves: a bad salad can completely let the meal down, whereas a fresh, bright salad with a delicious dressing can elevate it to a whole other level. This was a good salad: nothing wilted, nothing too bitter, with a delicious creamy mustard dressing.
When the main courses came, I was in heaven. Skinny chips! French fries! Another trendy food thing that I hate is chunky chips. While I like my chips well on the skinnier side, I would say that most people I know like medium, fish-and-chip-shop type chips. Where has this obsession with chunky chips come from? The worst ones I’ve encountered were big and lumpy, almost square, and tasted exactly like a roast potato. There’s nothing wrong with a roast potato, but I don’t want it on the side of my panini. Nor do I want them on the side of my fishcakes, so I was glad to find a mass of skinny, salty, crispy fries on my plate. You can’t go too wrong with a fishcake, and these had gone very right, with a crunchy exterior and a flaky, flavoursome interior. The creme fraiche sauce, studded with capers and cornichons, was the perfect accompaniment.
I had no intention of ordering a dessert. That is, until the waiter came over and placed the dessert menu in front of me. Then I couldn’t say no to the chocolate pot served with creme fraiche and shortbread. I don’t have a huge sweet tooth but when I have a chocolate craving, it needs sorting out, and this was just what I needed. At first bite, the creme fraiche tasted a bit odd, but by the time I finished it had grown on me. I won’t be dipping my Snickers bars into it, but I can see why it was there.
The service was good: all the waiters who came to our table were very polite and friendly. The restaurant itself is pretty impressive, with a glass roof suggesting the idea that you are perhaps dining outside in rural France, rather than cold and blustery Yorkshire. Three courses from the set menu were £13.95, which I would say is pretty good value considering the quality and quantity of the food. My overall opinion is that I’m already planning my next visit. I’m already salivating thinking of garlic mushrooms and slow roasted duck.