Rustix Gourmet – East Ham
Audentes Fortuna Juvat – Fortune favours the bold…
… particularly when you get invited to review a place that’s only been open for three days.
Having said that though, there’s no doubting both the attention to detail and the level of thought that’s gone into Rustix Gourmet’s overall design, for it is indeed Rustix by name and rustic by nature.
The theme of the restaurant is undoubtedly wild west in nature, with a variety of wood species adorning both floors juxtaposed with rugged brickwork and plastering.
The seating downstairs may be less spacious, but is far more intimate with a lively and vibrant atmosphere during rush hour. With a busy little drinks bar, wall-mounted metal tissue boxes, and a strikingly effective wall mural of the globe, we’d recommend you descending those rustically designed wooden stairs and settling yourselves in the basement area.
Not only is its design and layout aesthetically pleasing, but even makes use of a psychological technique devised by expert menu engineers, called “covert currency”, which drops the pound sign to de-monetise and, thus, take emphasis away from the cost of the items on offer.
Even the kitchen, located on the ground floor, is huge with lots going on.
Don’t they look the part? Alas, they weren’t quite there.
The Strawberry Lemonade was the best of this trio of mocktails, and would have been far better than it actually was had the insipid mint leaves and sparkling lemonade properly combined to counter the sweetness of the fresh strawberries.
As for the Virgin Mojito, then it entirely failed to balance those classic Virgin Mojito flavours. It was simply too sweet with the mint barely discernable.
Attractively garnished with pomegranates, the Rustix Mojito had a more intense flavour than its Virgin cousin. However, we felt that this too was a little too sweet and needed the mint to come through far more than it actually did.
Another mistake was the use of those dreaded thin straws. It’s true that you’ll be saving money with them; but, surely not at the risk of annoying your customers who’ll be left dealing with the constant blockages resulting from the crushed ice!
Not a bad attempt!
In terms of consistency, then it was fairly thick (some may prefer their shakes thicker). Fairly sweet with the taste of peanuts in the background (Snickers?). And while we also picked up on the distinct taste of Ferrero Rocher, we felt that there was a little too much chocolate overload.
This came with a kick A. tartar sauce that was zingy and creamy.
As to the prawns, then they had a magnificent golden, crispy and herby exterior. Nonetheless, these, we felt, were a touch over done.
These on the other hand, were mildly marinated and far better cooked; perfect in fact.
Underwhelming chops that were slightly on the chewy side.
Lightly marinaded, these came with a surprising assortment of steamed vegetables, including broccoli and carrots, and greens.
The Buffalo Wings were well spiced (medium) and thoroughly well marinated with the sweetness coming through well enough to create a finger-lickingly delicious combo.
Sadly though, the wings themselves were on the dry side.
Nope; these just didn’t work for any of us. In spite of the wings smelling of curry, the taste simply didn’t materialise.
And again the wings were dry. Don’t bother!
These were again well marinated, yet nothing special.
Instead of the flesh flaking off relatively easily as would be the case with a properly cooked wing, these were like the above – tough and dry.
And an interesting selection of in-house sauces too.
The Pepper sauce we believed was a little too watery with a hint of pepper to it.
The Chilli had a sweet background, and a good texture with a little bite to it.
The BBQ Jerk was heads and shoulders above the competition though with a deep depth of flavour, lovely smooth consistency, i.e. not too thick, and a solid kick of heat without being too overpowering. Authentic!
The Mushroom sauce was again watery, and thus mild, with pieces of mushroom for texture.
It’s a good idea sorely let down by both the execution of it and a confusing choice over the preparation of the chicken.
As you can see from the cross-section, the chicken has evidently been flattened down with a meat hammer culminating in a rather dense, firm and compact texture, which was a pity given how beautifully crispy the exterior was.
As for the beef patty, then despite being delivered just about medium, as requested, it was still rather dry and chewy in places.
But, the mildly spicy salsa base, of which the burger could have done more of, was good and ensured a mild sweetness and heat that married well with the melted cheese and red onion ring.
Asked for medium-well and medium-well we got.
Having said that, however, we’re compelled to say that all three Lions picked up on an unpleasant odour emanating from this particular patty that would either arise from mince with a high fat content, which would explain why the two burgers were slightly chewy, or the mince not being as fresh as it should have been. We’ll assume the latter.
The buns for both burgers on the other hand were soft and held together well.
Oh dear! When a steak’s placed before you with a thick layer of gravy that should have been presented in a jug, you know it’s probably a good case for subterfuge!
But, not even the slightly oversalted gravy could resurrect this thin, unattractive piece from the dead.
Seriously though, if you haven’t sourced good quality meat for a steak, why serve it at all when all it’ll do is cheapen the worth of a menu.
As they say: less is more!
Oh dear oh dear! This pie was wrong on so many levels not least because it was entirely unseasoned.
But what really took the biscuit was the filling lurking neath that ultra-oily cheese topping: the non-fresh meat positively smelled to the point that our tasting of it was restricted to the tips of our forks.
And for what it’s worth, there also wasn’t enough mash!
‘Less is more’, as in, “The less said…”
The tomato-based meat was fairly dry with no chilli to it, or anything for that matter, and the cheese a little too runny.
With a stingy sprinkling of jalapenos, the best part about this were the bogstandard nanchos – and that’s not saying much.
They are what they are – standard fries.
Confusing these, for they looked crunchy, but weren’t. Unimpressive!
And this Rustix on a Stix definitely threw us (no pun intended). It certainly looked the part, but what appeared to be crunchy, turned out to be soft potato curled about a stick.
In fact, it seemed to us as though this had either been left resting for a while before being served, or the potato just wasn’t very fresh. Whatever the case, it didn’t do it for us.
- CHILD SEATING
But ultimately, even these good traits weren't enough to mask the fact that not enough effort had been invested in its most important commodity: the execution of the food. What we were presented with in the end exposed the naked reality that Rustix Gourmet had most certainly only been open a few days.
Although we commend them for their attempt at producing a relatively original menu, including the Rustix on a Stix, the Curry Chicken Wings, and the Starvin Marvin Burger, it was the execution and/or the ingredients, that let these, and some other dishes we tried, down quite badly.
What's more, there were one or two dishes that perhaps shouldn't have been on the menu in the first place. The glaring example being the T-Bone steak, which was not only of poor quality, but ill-conceived.
Of course, the good news is that these are very early days for them, and the mistakes we encountered easily rectifiable. Otherwise, the rest of the dishes were good, though nothing outstanding.
Having said all that though, we're very hopeful that, given their obvious attention to detail, it'll only be a matter of time before these shortcomings are ironed out.
(Prices are correct at time of publication and may be subject to change.)
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