The Rogue Bar and Bistro has gained itself a following, despite being in the more industrial bit of Newstead. Without doubt this will change as more and more apartments spring up in the area. It sits in what looks like a converted house, with a rather modern front in shades of black, white, and grey.
We were greeted soon after we arrived. There was a clear sign indicating that customers should wait to be seated. The waitstaff, after establishing whether we had made a booking (we hadn’t), gave us an estimated wait time, asked if we still wanted to wait for a table, then took our details when we confirmed that we did. The wait time turned out to be not too much longer than anticipated.
There is a covered area in the front, with astroturf, including up the side of the bar or counter seating, and black furniture. It brings a hint of the outdoors (even if artificial) indoors, and softens the otherwise potentially cold minimalist look. Black opaque mesh drop cloths serve as protection from the sun, and some (though not always quite sufficiently) from the wind. The side facing the road has the name of the restaurant on it, and serves as signage. There are also some standing heaters strategically positioned for cooler weather.
There is more seating inside, with white walls and ceiling, and similarly light sand-coloured tiled floors. The black ceiling fans add smart contrast, and match the black furniture. The kitchen and pass runs along one side, so you can spy on dishes you could order as they appear under the copper-domed heat lamps.
Easy listening pop and instrumental music played in the background. At least in the outside area, the openness meant that voices were dispersed rather than trapped and echoing, so there wasn’t a cacophony despite it being just about entirely full.
The menu was brought to the table in a leather-look folder. This held breakfast options across two facing pages. On weekends, they do breakfast service from 8am to 12pm, and are closed after that, so if you turn up after midday hoping for a feed, you’ll be sadly disappointed. They have a separate menu for dinner, which is available from Wednesday to Saturday. There is some seasonal variation to the dishes available. From what was available on this visit, we picked the Mince Pot and the Mushrooms.
Coffees were first to arrive. The flat white had good texture and flavour.
The iced latte was nicely nutty.
A long macchiato subsequently ordered was also thought to be well done.
The Mince pot was listed on the menu as having poached eggs, avocado salsa, creme fraiche, and sourdough. The mince was served in a pot (hence the name) on a wooden board, with the stack of buttered, toasted sourdough slices, the avocado salsa, and the poached egg sitting on a smear of the creme fraiche at the other end. The mince mix had tomatoey and cumin flavours, with a spicy kick. It was saucy rather than dry, which was good for dipping the bread in. The menu had said “eggs”, and we could only see one egg on the dish. It turned out that there was an egg hidden in the middle of the mince pot. It had a runny yolk when cut open, which melded with the rest of the mince. Altogether though, the dish was a little one dimensional. The creme fraiche didn’t add much variety of flavour, and the avocado salsa was on the mild side, and not quite enough to give it balancing freshness.
The Mushrooms came with truffled scrambled eggs, pancetta crumb, onion jam, and sourdough. The mushrooms were juicy, and a touch savoury. The eggs had a properly truffly flavour instead of just the suggestion of it. The bits of pancetta were crispy and played the part of bacon in the dish. There was tanginess from bits of goat’s cheese. There was sweetness from the onion jam. The bread had a little crunch on the outside and soft on the inside. There were certainly more flavour variations in this dish, and it turned out tastier than the Mince pot.
The food was a little less amazing this time compared to a previous visit, where everyone at the table loved their food, which included dishes like the very pretty pancake stack, and a moreish Croque Madame (deliciously melted, gooey cheese, shaved ham off the bone, and fried asparagus..).
Wait staff were polite and organised. It was more a reserved, quiet service style than a familiar one, but definitely efficient and professional.
The Rogue Bar and Bistro does delicious food, though some dishes are more delicious than others. It is worth a return visit, and the locals certainly do so. As mentioned though, make sure you get there before noon.
Price point: Breakfast items $16 to $20 for anything more substantial than granola or fruit toast.
Address: 14 Austin Street, Newstead
Phone: 07 3257 0227
Website: Rogue Bar and Bistro