Perth-based film, literature and script writing student.
Published December 5th 2012
Try the tastiest tapas south of the river
Rustico Tapas Bar is where you'll find the best tapas and drinks this side of the river.
The bar can be found on Rockingham Beach Road, opposite the park on the foreshore. The beach is just on the other side of the road and there is plenty of parking available. The alfresco area is great to sit outside on a sunny day, and the cosy interior is perfect for the cooler nights.
Now I'll be honest - the first few times I went to Rustico, I didn't even eat. If you had asked me what tapas were, I wouldn't have been able to tell you. The main things that had attracted me to the bar were the cocktails ($10 on Tuesday nights), the cider, and the Sangria. All of which are great.
They have a huge selection of cider, beer, wine, and cocktails.
Then I tried the food. At that point I wished I had a time machine so I could travel back to my earlier visits and slap my ignorant past self. Their tapas range is, in a word, incredible. For those of you who aren't sure what tapas are, in a nutshell they are small portions of food which are shared within a group. Each plate of tapas from Rustico comes with around four servings.
For people who love to share food, tapas is the way to eat, and Rustico is the place for you. On my last visit I tried the special, which was arancini balls, the pork belly (pictured above) and the lamb truffles - my personal favourite.
I went with my parents the other night, so there were three of us. As well as those three mains which we shared, we also ordered bread with tomato pesto dip and a side of walnut and pear salad. Everything was delicious and although the portions look small, we were comfortably full by the end. It's great to be able to try a bit of everything. Although I will admit we caved and also had the tasting plate of four mini-desserts.
The tapas dishes range from $11 to $24, with the average being about $19. If you go with a group I suggest picking a tapas dish each and getting bread and a side salad or patatas bravas, and if you're worried that might not be enough, you could also get a pizza to share around. The braised lamb pizza is the best one, in my opinion.
There seems to be a perception by some that tapas are expensive, but with all the food we had that night plus a few rounds of drinks, our bill still came to less that $50 each. For such good quality food, I think that's quite reasonable.
The service and atmosphere of the place is relaxing and enjoyable- cute little lanterns are strung around everywhere, and the staff are warm and helpful. But if you like your service fast, come early, before 7pm. The little restaurant fills up by that time and it will take longer to get a staff member's attention. We arrived at 6.15pm and our first orders came out lighting-quick, but when we ordered dessert at 7.30pm, we were waiting for much longer, both to order and to receive our food.
Even so, dessert, which was chocolate mousse, cheesecake, beetroot cake (not pictured) and lemon tart, was worth the wait.