When you find a hidden gem in an industrial street in Newstead, it’s like finding a diamond in the rough. Rogue Bar & Bistro is just that. An unexpected dining surprise.
On entering the space, it felt a little cold and devoid of personality. The decor is white and black and very simple. An open kitchen, which I love, faces out to the dining area. At first the staff didn’t seem particularly welcoming but as the evening went on they warmed up which was nice.
The menu is simple. Five share plates for entree, six main meal options and four desserts. The food is anything but simple, it’s sensational.
Dining with our friends P & T, to start, we ordered chicken wings with harissa and cabbage remoulade, squid with squid ink mayonnaise and red onion pickle and fish cakes with lime aioli. Everything in this line-up was a delight. The chicken wings, which I usually find annoying to eat, were moist and moreish, the squid, tender with a crunchy coating and the fish cakes tasty. It was a great start to the meal.
I’m not good at decision-making when it comes to menus. I usually umm and arrhh and change my mind several times, so I love a small, perfectly formed menu and Rogue does this beautifully. The mains are organised into the categories of game, bird, cow, pig, fish and vegetable.
I chose game (braised ox cheek tart with camomile carrot puree, baby carrots and roast shallots). It was rich and melt in your mouth with a lovely sticky sauce. The ox cheeks sat in a crisp tart case but I would have been equally as happy without this added extra.
Al chose fish (Cone Bay sea farmed barramundi with ratatouille, white anchovies, lemon beurre blanc and red pepper sauce). The fish was beautifully cooked and I had a tiny pang of food envy.
Mr P chose vegetable (gnocchi with crumbed poached egg, pumpkin puree, mushroom ragout and wilted spinach). The gnocchi was light and the addition of the crumbed poached egg was both interesting and according to Mr P very tasty.
Mr T chose pig (pork cheek rillette with quince puree, roasted pear and potato skin crisps). Sweet and tender, just as pig should be!
Being the piggies we are, we also had a helping of roast pumpkin with crispy basil and a pear, walnut, blue cheese and rocket salad along with two serves of beer battered fries with ailoi. We are talking seriously good fries!
Our choice of three desserts ($13 each) induced excited hand-clapping, from me, not my three male companions, although I didn’t hear any of them complaining as they eagerly tucked in. Chocolate and rosemary brulee with toasted marshmallows, biscotti and blueberry compote. Eton mess with strawberry jelly, passionfruit and pistachio praline and sticky date pudding with salted butterscotch sauce, vanilla ice-cream and hazelnut tuille. We couldn’t pick a winner but for originality the title has to go to the chocolate and rosemary brulee. Rich and dark with a hint of rosemary, it was silky and perfect with a piccolo of locally roasted Blue Sky Coffee. The fourth dessert option is cheese with sesame crumbed goats curd, beetroot puree, truffle honey and lavosh.
Like the menu, the wine list is also small but perfectly formed with everything available by the glass. Owner and chef, Daniel Myers (ex The Jetty) should be congratulated. Don’t under-estimate Rogue because of the location. It really is fabulous food and very good value for money, plus in the evening, street parking is a breeze compared to the chaos that is James Street. Open for breakfast and lunch, we’ll definitely be back to sample more.
14 Austin St, Newstead
Ph: 07 3257 0227
Closed on Monday.