The Evolution Of Rustic Stone

10 September 2018


The Evolution of the Rustic Stone

The Rustic Stone by Dylan McGrath


Post by Edwina Elizabeth O'Connor from for Rustic Stone


Did you know that the meaning of the proverb 'a rolling stone gathers no moss' has a much different meaning in Japan than it does here in the west? In western society, referring to someone as a 'rolling stone' means the person in question doesn't settle in one place, or one job, and that by doing so they don't "accumulate wealth or status, or responsibilities or commitments". Take from that what you will, an insult or an aspiration. 

In Japan, the continuous moving of job to job and lack of experience is not high on the aspiration list. And so ‘Korogaru ishi ni koke musazu’, means the opposite because in Japan, moss is considered a beautiful plant - a plant that refines gardens, ancient buildings and temples. So with this in mind, when the proverb is used it means that one should stick with it and that perseverance pays off - basically grow some moss! 

Dylan McGrath is an amalgamation of both meanings. On one hand, he doesn't settle, he keeps moving, but on the other hand, it's in the same direction, and that's upwards. Since 2010 and the opening of Rustic Stone on South Great George's Street, Dylan has stuck with it and his perseverance has certainly paid off - creating and developing restaurant experiences offering unique and mouth-watering dishes renowned within Dublin City and beyond - and with Japanese influence too. No. 17 South Great George's Street does gather moss - and the Rustic Stone, Taste at Rustic and Bonsai Bar define its beauty. 


The Rustic Stone - Established August 2010 

They say 'What's meant for you, won't pass you by' - do you think that's the case with buildings? I know a lot can happen in ten years, and that certainly is the case with No. 17 South Great George's Street in Dublin 2. Ten years ago it was the home of the Cornerstone Grill, a restaurant serving American style cuisine - it received its fair share of positive reviews. Nine years ago, it became Soho, a restaurant serving Irish and European cuisine, however it wasn't until August 2010 that No.17 found its true calling, and that was in the shape of Michelin Star Chef Dylan McGrath and his new restaurant the Rustic Stone. 

A passionate concept was brought to life when the Rustic Stone opened its doors on August 24th, 2010. Dylan had not only created a menu bursting with creativeness, flavour and options, but had also entwined in each dish its health and dietary factors. Along with affordability and the restaurant's no fuss but sleek interior, a new kind of dining experience was now available in what was soon to become Dublin's Creative Quarter. And there's no doubt that the Rustic Stone helped pave this creative way. 

The restaurant became an instant hit with food critics and writers. Words such as 'clever', 'brilliance' and 'interesting' became the norm, you can read examples  here. However, it was the Rustic Stone's new, returning and loyal customers that shaped the restaurant from the start of its journey into what we see eight years later. The menu was tightened, keeping hot favourites such as the On the Stone; "Rump of Beef with Basil and Pine Nuts" and cold ones such as the "Crab Mayonnaise on Toast with Torn Herbs and Wheatgrass" The success and popularity of the initial Rustic Stone menu, gave breathing space to create a new 'Raw Menu' - where little or no heat is applied to ingredients to create dishes and drinks that encourage revitalisation. No.17 was thriving, but as a Rustic Stone gathers no moss it was time for the next venture - and Dylan only had to go up a couple of flights of stairs to reach it. Taste at Bonsai was born.


Taste at Bonsai - Established June 2015 

You'll find Taste upstairs from the Rustic Stone, on the third floor. It's a beautiful space of original red brick - the building is part of the original South City Market that was built in the early 1880's. It's pitted leather-upholstered furniture; copper fixtures and trimmings, rustic mirrored ceiling, open plan kitchen and Sushi Bar make for an experience in itself.  

Heavily influenced by the gastronomic flavours and tastes of Japan and the cooking techniques of Japan, Spain and South America, Dylan explores The Five Tastes; Sweet, Bitter, Sour, Salt and Unami through the menus available. With accolades such as a listing in the Michelin Guide, a restaurant resource Dylan is accustomed to, Best Restaurant, Best Restaurant Drinks and Chef of the Year - all within its first year of opening - Taste at Rustic was a huge success, and is still a hot favourite today, three years later. Customers and critics alike wanted to understand flavours, and wanted to understand taste - and that's exactly what Dylan provided from his Sashimi to his Sake. And speaking of Japanese drinks where would one like to imagine themselves while sipping on a finely tuned Japanese inspired cocktail, a 'glamour-tinged' Japanese Bar perhaps? Say no more... 


Bonsai Bar - Established Dec 2017 

Do I dare mention the moss proverb again? I think by now you've got the picture. Seven years after opening the doors of the Rustic Stone, Dylan in his creativeness and perseverance for life experience through the senses opened the Bonsai Bar. A fully seated bar, with a touch of sophistication and an elegantly presented menu of Light and Bar Bites fit for a fine-dining enthusiast, but with a hold on the purse strings was open for business. "Deep Fried Whole Prawns with scallop mousse, tarragon, sansho pepper", "Maki of Akami Tuna with sushi rice, crisp roasted nori, avocado and sesame", "Broccoli Tempura with kimchi mayonnaise, aged parmesan and roasted turnip stock" are just examples of the culinary art one can expect to enjoy. 

And to drink? It is a Bar after all. Created by Dylan with the help of two Japanese mixologists, the Bonsai Bar Cocktail Menu includes cocktails with ingredients that range from Shiitake infused vodka to premium Japanese whiskey. Created to compliment each light or bar bite enjoyed while you while away the evening in that little piece of Japan in the heart of Dublin. 



Congratulation Dylan McGrath, your brigade, and your team - Happy Eighth Birthday.






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