I know recently I’ve been blogging about places that were okay, could be better, and absolutely horrible, but no worries, things are a changin’. Today, I will share with you my new favourite restaurant. Read that sentence back to yourself one. more. time. I hope you read it correctly because I said “my new favourite restaurant” NOT “my new favourite Hamilton restaurant”. Thats right, gather around foodies, I hope by now I’ve proven that you don’t have to drive to Toronto for a decent meal… and Rapscallion is one of those places proving me right!
Just a heads up, this place is absolutely tiny and reservations (yes, they take those! unheard of right?!) are absolutely recommended! But it’s not one of those snobby pretentious places where you have to book weeks in advance either. The space was so small I didn’t want to be a total douche and whip out my SLR so I stuck to just my iPhone, sans the flash i.e. sorry for the shady pictures.
There are no physical menus here, everything, including the wine list, are written on the walls & the windows. The dishes are small and if you truly want to enjoy your dining experience, our lovely server suggested ordering a few dishes and sharing them. And that’s exactly what we planned on doing!
The first dish to come out was The Whole Shebang ($18) which was a platter of charcuterie, house made baguette and pickled vegetables. I can’t remember the names of everything …but I know I loved it all! There was a great range of salty and spicy with both firm and more softer, melt in your mouth meats. I absolutely adored this platter and the pickled spicy beans and crispy beets were a fantastic contrast to the buttery meats. You also have a choice of getting just three out of the seven types of charcuterie for nine dollars. The charcuterie comes from Dolce Lucano in Woodbridge, who make it all themselves!
Next up: Roasted Bone Marrow ($12). One of the main reasons we enjoyed our meal so much was the simplicity of the plates combined with the rich flavours. This marrow is a great example. The dish was very minimalistic – a few slices of baguette, a dollop of Savvy Chef mustard, sea salt and parsley salad.
I started with a smearing of the mustard on the baguette, a few lashings of the marrow, a sprinkling of sea salt and a pinch of the parsley salad; five easy components combined to create a fantastic buttery bite of awesomeness! The marrow was a lot fattier than I would prefer but still delicious. I also really enjoy being able to built my own little bites of beauty!
By the way, the mustard from Savvy Chef has to be one of the best condiments I’ve ever had the pleasure of lashing onto a piece of bread, and it’s made locally by some dude in London! It was just sharp enough – without burning like a harsh dijon and sweet like a honey mustard. There was just so many layers of flavour it was amazing! You could throw this $%^& on anything and it would have been bomb dot com – my own hand included! You can buy Savvy Chef mustards at the Cheese Shop on Locke
This next one was probably our least favourite, the Alberta Calamari ($10) – crispy fried tripe with circles ranch sauce. The concept and the name was pretty awesome but the execution could have been better. I love tripe but it was completely lost under the cornmeal batter. This order was also a little on the overdone side, in fact, you could taste bits of burnt cornmeal. We really wanted to love this dish but were struggling to finish it. But the ranch sauce was nom nom worthy.
Everything came out of this tiny little kitchen in the corner of the restaurant. It was pretty neat to see your entire meal unfold in front of your eyes. Our server was also super sweet, polite and did a fantastic job of sending the dishes out in the perfect order .. starting with our lighter choices to some of the heavier items – even when we added more dishes half way through. Yes, we added more dishes to our order once we realized how yummy everything was!
One of our favourites of the night was the Foie Gras Torchon ($19) with braised grapes and brioche. We both loved the rich and buttery goodness of the foie and couldn’t get enough of this dish! I just wish we had more slices of brioche to go with the extra lashings of torchon.
Tongue & Cheek ($15) – braised veal cheek & confit tongue was the most highly anticipated dish of the night and probably one of our favourites. The veal tongue was perfectly cooked and the cheek was buttery and tender. I’m usually not a big fan of fennel and often find it too overpowering but I loved it here! The chunks of apple (or was it pear?) was a great flavour combination. It was sweet and savoury and you really thought you were slicing into a prime cut of meat and not just the ‘odds -n- ends‘
I’ve heard some buzz about this being “too pricey” and out of Hamilton’s league but in all honestly, the bill was a little over $100 for the both us, and it was definitely a well spent meal! It is so exciting to see a restaurant like Rapscallion in Hamilton. I truly think they’re doing something no one else is doing and it’s absolutely refreshing to see. I’m looking forward to my next meal here and visiting their Burlington restaurant, The Alex. Fair warning, if you love chain restaurants – you won’t love this place, and they’re okay with that- according to their website. This is definitely a restaurant for those who enjoy the love and labour it takes to put together beautiful dishes.
61 Young Street