Bar of the Month

If you’re looking for a cheeky new wine bar with a serious food offering, read on…

What happens when the ex-head chef of Doot Doot Doot (at the Jackalope Hotel situated in the Mornington Peninsula wine region in Victoria) moves back to Melbourne city and decides he wants to open a neighbourhood wine bar? You get Brunswick’s latest edition – Rascal. Having also worked at the hatted Sepia and Flying Fish, Elliott Pinn brings his impressive skills and creativity to the kitchen. With exciting flavour pairings and unique creations, the menu truly is a breath of fresh air, and the drinks list presents a cool variety across every category.

The mercurial food menu is a rotating, seasonal mix of complementing dishes designed to be shared. You simply can’t miss items like their fried chicken with caviar and hot sauce; crab toast with seaweed butter and furikake; and the celeriac with brown butter, cabbage and sorrel. For something sweet try the caramelized pear yuba with white miso. Wow! And for those who can’t decide, Rascal offers a $65 “Rascal Menu” option that is worth every penny.

With over 120 wines, more than 50 different beers and 60-plus spirits, the drinks list is broad to say the least. The wine menu has been curated with old and new world wines represented, as are minimal intervention and funky expressions that will delight adventurous drinkers. Using his experience working at The Standard Highline in NYC, co-owner James Gullan has created the Rascal cocktail list which shines a light on Euro-style low-ABV classics – think highballs such as port and tonic, vermouth and soda, plus modern riffs on classics.

The venue was renovated by co-owners Harrison Peace, Simon Henderson and John Ryan (The Vale Bar and Eatery, Glamorama) – who also designed the space. With communal seating, small intimate nooks and an open plan bar, the 70-seat venue lends itself to all occasions, whether it be an intimate date night, dinner with friends or an after-work unwind drink and snack. Standout elements in the 150-year-old building include the hand-built wine rack under the stairs that houses Rascal’s premium wine collection, the solid hand-cut textured grey granite bar top, and the bespoke mural by Melbourne based artist Minna Leunig that uses her signature creatures adorning the back wall.

“Rascal feels like home for us – relaxed, a bit cheeky and somewhere that we love to go to eat and drink. We want it to become a loveable new neighbourhood destination that is raising the bar day in and day out,” says Elliott.  We couldn’t agree more – enter once and Rascal will have you returning time and time and again.

341 Sydney Road, Brunswick, Vic
OPENING HOURS: Wednesday-Friday – 5pm til late; Saturday – 12pm til late; Sunday 12pm to 4pm

INSTAGRAM: @rascal.brunswick

For the full article grab the January 2020 issue of MAXIM Australia from newsagents and convenience locations. Subscribe here.

Daniel Ricciardo

The Silent Assain