61 Young Street, Hamilton
Parking: Street, Green P
Good for: Date night
Rapscallion has been on my list since they opened. I kept putting it off until I could get a large enough group to go that I could try everything possible on the menu. Now that we are getting closer to our move date though, I knew we needed to get there regardless of whether anyone could join us. Rapscallion is part of The Other Bird family. They also own Two Black Sheep, Black Sheep Snack Bar, The Mule and Burro. We got to take a quick look at their boutique hotel in Paris when we were there this weekend.
Let’s start with the vibe. It’s small plates and great for couples or a meet up with friends. It is pricey and the quality of the food reflects this. For two glasses of wine, 4 plates and dessert we came to around $100 before tip. It is also often booked up so if you want a more casual after dinner/after work drinks vibe then I would check out Two Black Sheep across the street. If you’re adventurous and have exceedingly well behaved children, you could bring them, but I would say leave them at home and book a babysitter.
In terms of atmosphere and decor, it’s a cozy place and you don’t realize you are right by a busy road. Decor is one area I did feel they could put a little work into. It doesn’t look like they have painted or updated the decor at all since they opened and I think cleaning up a couple of things would add a LOT to the atmosphere. That being said, later in the evening when it’s darker and their peak time of service that wear and tear may not be as visible. I LOVED their bathroom decor though, very cute.
On to the food! To start, I knew going in that this was rich European style gourmet food. That is not my favourite kind of food, I am more “let’s try the new Ethiopian place” or “OMG new vegan cafe!”. I can appreciate when a place does good food however and this visit was purely for my kind and patient husband who LOVES rich meats, cheeses and pastas. He quietly puts up with far too many visits to raw vegan cafes with me in the summer.
We both started with two glasses of red wine. They have a great wine selection and although they don’t have a cocktail menu, they will make you any classic cocktail. We ordered 4 plates and dessert with the first to come out being the kimchi shrimp.
This was my least favourite dish and we didn’t finish it. The shrimp was OK, kind of chewy and there was far too much kimchi. I can’t believe I am saying that since I love kimchi, but I don’t want to eat an entire bowl of it. It did have an interesting black bean sauce in it which I enjoyed, but I would give this dish a miss in the future.
Next was our absolute favourite, the rabbit gnocchi. This was so creamy with pillows of cloudy goodness. The sauce was perfectly balanced with sweetness and a savoury mustard. Everything was cooked to perfection. I normally don’t get gnocchi when we go out since it’s often chewy or tastes bland. This was exactly how gnocchi should taste. Definitely a hit. We couldn’t stop ourselves from eating the sauce dredges after we finished the gnocchi!
We finished up with the lemon asparagus and lamb dish. Both amazing. The asparagus was crisp, perfectly cooked and well seasoned. The lamb was served with potatoes, cheese and bacon bits in a creamy sauce.
We finished with their housemade chocolate bar which was topped with caramel and mango puree as well as bacon bits. I could have done without the mango puree and bacon bits, but this was also really wonderful. Rich and sweet without being overpowering or sickly sweet.
Overall, this was a great meal. The food was well cooked, the menu is clearly well thought out and the service was excellent. They were so patient with us as we decided on our menu and answered every silly question I had. I also really appreciated how attentive they were in terms of picking up plates, timing the dishes and ensuring we had enough water, wine, etc. I was really impressed. Plus they were playing great 90s-00s music while we there. Much booth dancing ensued. So if you (like me) have not yet checked out the Rapscallion you should definitely try it out.
Overall: Overall rating: 4.5/5