The new Rustic Cellar
13 February 2015
Rustic Stone is one of Dublin’s most well-loved restaurants. It’s distinctively different, designing a menu that takes more than flavour into account, but paying heed to nutrition as well. After four years, Rustic Stone is making some subtle changes, which can only make us wonder what’s in store for the George’s Street eatery.
Dylan McGrath talks of recent updates to Rustic Stone’s wine list, the personal touch he added and gracefully deflects curiosities about his new projects.
After four years, Rustic Stone’s wine list has suddenly seen some big changes. What were the main considerations you had initially when it was being built?
When Rustic Stone first opened, we had the intention to make it affordable and exciting throughout. Over the years and in Mint I’d worked with some top sommeliers where the pairing of wine and food was an art. At the fine dining level, that fit. In our vision for Rustic Stone, it didn’t. I was much more interested in having a wine list that was priced at a certain point and was the best wine that we felt we could give our customers for that price point.
So it wasn’t necessarily about pairing the wine with the food?
No, it wasnt. Rustic Stone’s menu is very broad, and we wanted the wine list to match that aspect of it. At the same time, we wanted to loosen the boundaries in Rustic Stone, to make the restaurant approachable and fun. So we chose wines that could pair with all different flavours and could match with lots of different dishes on the list. It wasn’t about marrying one wine with one dish, but about providing a big selection of both.
And now, four years later, what are some of the things you were most interested in changing about Rustic Stone?
Rustic stone has evolved into a restaurant with such a broad spectrum of customers and over time we’ve really seen that mix. But regardless of who is sitting at the table, I want to serve the best possible produce or wine for the price point that people can afford. It must always be a place that everyone can go to. We didn’t feel the need to change everything that was there, but we did want to get some new flavours at every price range and we felt it was time to introduce a Private Cellar list.
Was there something that you felt was missing from it?
It wasn’t that something was missing, it’s that Rustic is changing with the times. With the additions of all these new wines we’re just giving the list a bit of a face lift and revisiting the flavours we offer.
What is your favourite combination- a dish and a wine to match it?
Personally, I prefer wines that are a bit sweeter. I love the organic Riesling we do, and funny enough I like it with polenta chips.
Will this list be the same as or similar to the one you’ll have in the new restaurant?
Not necessarily. We’re inventing different concepts, and that’s going to require different wines. There might be some cross over, of course, but ultimately I think we’re looking at something new.
There’s going to be quite a bit of sake in the new restaurant, something that I’ve discovered recently and have really grown a passion for.
It’s clear that any face lift Rustic Stone appears to be getting is not one that will change idea that the restaurant was founded on. Showing off a passion for flavour at an affordable price still holds true, and with the new additions to their wine list, we can only wonder what the chefs are doing behind the scenes too. Dylan isn’t quick to hint, but we’re guessing he’ll be eager to show us sooner rather than later.