From the moment that we sat down right up to when we left, Rubiras at Swallows (Station Street – Port Melbourne) was a delight! Even as we walked out the door, in a final and fitting farewell, the guy behind the bar said, “thanks for coming, we hope you had a great night, please come back again.” Rest assured – we will – and quite soon!
We were there at the suggestion of the birthday girl; who was our host and as we settled in it became obvious that this would be no ordinary “pub meal”. The blackboard menu, which included the daily specials, was informative and offered something for everyone, with seafood the feature, but plenty of options available if fish was not your fancy.
In the end all of the information that we needed came from our waiter. Put simply he was brilliant; he was attentive, informative, and friendly, and he made our night. First up he suggested that we should share two or three entrees: “don’t worry about the number of pieces” he said, “we will make sure there are four of everything so you will all get a taste.” Then he listened to our thoughts and involved himself in the discussion and finally made his suggestions, all of which we accepted.
We started with Hervey Bay scallops, steamed and served on the half shell, with an Asian inspired light sauce; they were perfectly cooked and superbly flavoured, and we followed that with whitebait fritters, four individual plates each with what looked like a small, fluffy omelette in the centre; simple but elegant they almost melted in your mouth. Our third and final entree was the chilli tiger prawns, and we each enjoyed one superbly presented medium/large tiger prawn served with the best chilli sauce that this prawn eater has ever tasted. It was a thick and spicy with a tang that lingered but did not burn, and it pervaded the prawn without overbearing it; in short it was perfection on a plate.
The main courses were equally good; three of us had picked from the market-fresh fish list, which offered six different options and five different cooking methods. Our waiter was quick to offer his opinion on what was the preferred method for each fish. The seafood linguini, chosen by our host, looked sensational with plenty of seafood on show and it was pronounced just great. The fish dishes were served with “rustic chips” and homemade tartar sauce to which we added a side salad of Spinach and Pinenuts to share from the list of side dishes available. Each of the fish dishes was given a big thumbs up; my Cajun inspired blackened Hapuka was succulent, tender and and a delight to eat, the chips were crunchy outside and soft in the centre and the salad crisp, clean and tasty.
We finished by sharing a couple of deserts, Rhubarb and Apple Crumble and the Cheesecake of the day, between the four of us, along with a glass of the complimentary “sticky” that accompanies each desert choice, and a coffee. I ordered my evening machiatto – my test of a good coffee and a good barista – and it arrived hot, strong and full of taste with three distinct and superb layers looking just like a good machiatto should look.
Rubiras is not cheap, although you could get away for less than we spent which was just under $100.00 per head for our food, a pre-dinner drink, a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and a couple of glasses of Pinot Noir from the Bellarine Peninsula. What Rubiras delivers is value for money, quality food and super service, all of which makes for a great dining experience.