22 Jun Rubicon, Essendon
A short walk from Essendon station, this site has long been an Italian restaurant, but rebranded to Rubicon a year ago under the guidance of chef Michael Ibrahim and owner Teddy Hakim.
We come in to try the new menu, and begin with some sharing platters. The Tasting Platter for Two comes with lightly fried calamari, chargrilled baby octopus, crispy halloumi and a rocket salad. The chargrilled baby octopus is a little sour and fishy, but the calamari are tender. The Antipasto Platter is laden with cured meats, olives, and marinated zucchini, artichoke, and eggplant. Although the rice grains of the arancini are indistinguishable, they’re nice and crispy on the outside, and have a light cheese flavour. Crumbed slices of halloumi are popular around the table; just as well they’re present on both platters.
The 13″ woodfired pizzas have thin and crispy bases, apart from where the more liquid ingredients soaked in. The Pulled Beef Pizza has a San Marzano tomato base, and is topped with tender beef, mozzarella cheese, spinach, fresh tomatoes and yoghurt sauce. The Marinara Pizza has fresh seafood consisting of tiger prawns, Hervey Bay scallops, mussels, pippies and calamari. Mozzarella, garlic oil, oregano, and fresh basil are the co-stars.
Chicken Parmigiana Mexicana is an interesting dish with tomato salsa, jalapenos, crunchy nachos, mozzarella and sour cream. Despite the thickness of the crumbed chicken, it’s perfectly cooked and juicy. The Herb Crusted Barramundi is nice and flakey, and has a good level of seasoning in the crust. It’s accompanied by potato purée and a spicy chilli, lemon and Napoli salsa.
The highlight for me is the tomato-based baby goat with vegetables and rich and hearty sauce. Slow cooked over 14 hours, the goat is tender, and served simply with roasted pumpkin, mashed potato and baked bacon.
While it may not be super fancy, Rubicon serves up some tasty fare.
Disclaimer: I was invited to Rubicon as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own, and are based on my experience at the time
Rubicon Bar & Restaurant
861 Mt Alexander Rd
Essendon, VIC, 3040
(03) 9375 7333