It’s quite a transformation from Terzini and Marchetti’s ambitious design brief, where canvas houses illustrated by artist Anthony Lister would be raised and lowered by a series of pulleys to create private dining rooms within the cavernous old tire factory. Now it’s all rough-hewn wood, forest-green patterned curtains to soften and divide the room and exposed high ceilings.
Out the front, the little deli offers stop-and-drop snacks like sandwiches, cakes and cocktails. They even do brekky till 11am, serving Botanica cold-pressed juices, Bircher muesli and a ‘fast filled pretzel’. We’ll be going back for one of those.
The menu is sort of grouped into entrées, mains and desserts, but sort of not. On one hand, there’s a fairly entrée-sized dish of beetroots from Boetz’s farm in the Hawkesbury cooked with their leaves and tossed in olive oil, all covered in a light showering of sieved boiled egg. But on the other, there’s the twice-cooked pork hock. We ask our waitress about this one – apparently it’s big enough to serve two as a main and at $29, is more expensive than some of the dishes further down on the menu. We go for the smoked mackerel fillets and horseradish cream, and even this goes back to the kitchen half-finished in deference to the next course.
That next course for us is the pork schnitzel, lots of little pieces heavily breaded and deep-fried till they're quite stiff. The dish isn't the light and puffy treat we’re hoping for, though we do like the way it comes in a big pile served in an earthenware dish with a bunch of lemon quarters. Corned veal brisket is rich and salty sitting in a kind of sour cream and malt sauce, covered in a mass of kale. We wouldn’t go back for it. The strudel for two, though, is a stick-your-fork-in-repeatedly combination of raisins and toasted almonds captured in thin layers of buttery pastry.
Service is definitely friendly and everyone on the floor is eager to please. They even suggest a good schnitzel wine (it’s beer). There's definitely a feeling, however, that Rushcutters needs some time to settle in and do some fine tuning. For now, where's that pretzel?