I lived in York whilst I was at university and absolutely loved the city. The only problem was, the city is very small and the restaurants can become tiresome. There really wasn’t any restaurants that would have been worth writing about.
In my last month living in York – before I moved to London – I visited Rustique and fell in love. It was a tiny French bistro hidden away behind some of the main attractions of York and on a weekday at lunch, was empty.
I recently went back to visit the city and I just had to dine at Rustique. If my memories served me correctly, I knew I wouldn’t be let down. To my delight, they’ve recently expanded and opened a brand new restaurant, bigger, lighter and more central than before and have also expanded out of the city to the nearby town of Richmond.
It seems my initial impression of Rustique has made its way to the masses.
I loved Rustique’s original French decor, when I first dined many years ago and was glad they kept the same theme in their new restaurant.
The ambience, with its warm, cosy and friendly atmosphere is also reflected by its food. For those unfamiliar with French dining, the set menu is one of the best things about Rustique and is reasonably priced at £12.95 for 2 courses or £14.95 for three. We opted for the latter.
My friend opted for fritot de brie (or breaded brie). I had a little taste and was surprised at how wonderfully the crispy outer crust and the soft, delicately creamy brie matched the smooth yet sharp berry compote.
I on the other end, decided to have the chicken liver pate which although simple, still managed to blow me away. The French bread was soft, warm and tasted like it has been freshly baked and along with the pate, melted in my mouth. To cut the earthyness of the pate, the dish was served alongside onion marmalade which had a sweet yet sharp taste. It’s the best pâté I’ve had in a long time – if not ever.
My friend for her main course ordered French Toulouse sausage on mash – a French version of sausage & mash (if you like). The sausages were of high quality and had a slight smokyness and the mash was soft and buttery.
The slow cooked pork shank stood out from the menu and I was certainly not disappointed when it landed in front of me. The pork shank was a very generous size especially for a set menu – I almost gasped at the sheer size of it! Not only was the dish spectacular in its appearance, but the knife sliced through the succulent pork easily. The mash was again soft and buttery and the mustard enhanced the flavour of the dish but the stand out ingredient that brought the dish together, was the cider sauce.
I greedily ate the dish as fast as possible.
After my eyes popped out of my head at how delicious everything tasted, my crème brûlée landed in front of me. Crème brûlée is one of my favourite dishes however it can so easily be spoiled; case in point, mine was burnt and tasted bitter. Such a shame as I’ve previously had crème brûlée at Rustique and it certainly wasn’t burnt.
Rustique will always have a special place in my heart and the set menu prices will save you a lot of money. For £15 you’re getting a lot for your money, not just the portion sizes but also high quality food that tastes beautiful. It’s just a shame that my crème brûlée was burnt but other than the dessert, the dishes were next to perfect. If you’re ever in the area I urge you to try Rustique as you certainly won’t find better nearby.
(If only restaurants such as Loch Fyne would take note on how to do a set menu correctly…)
– Rustique, York