There is something truly rustic about Rustic Eatery in Dhanmondi. The restaurant's wooden seating arrangement paired with wooden serving dishes and mason jar lights hanging from the ceiling bears witness to its name.
Situated at a nook at Dhanmondi 9/a, Rustic Eatery has been around for roughly two years and serves delicious food without burning a hole in your pocket. Starting from refreshing drinks to heavily loaded meals, this restaurant has a menu that can meet the cravings of anyone - irrespective of how much cash they have on themselves.
I walked into Rustic Eatery one evening last week because my cousin had coaxed me into believing that this restaurant has the best cream of mushroom soup in Dhaka. Still a little sceptic about her claims, I decided to try out the soup for myself along with some of their other best-sellers.
Needless to say, the first thing I ordered was their Cream of Mushroom soup which costs Tk255. As the steaming bowl of soup was set in front of me, the strong aroma of mushrooms sauteed in butter immediately set me off, but in a good way.
The aroma of this thick and cream-rich soup, with a hearty amount of chopped up mushrooms, managed to leave an impression on me at the first glance - even before I had tasted it, as I had to give it a minute for the steam to settle.
While the soup let off a bit of its steam, I decided to go back to the menu to see what to order for the main meal. And while I was surveying the menu, my eyes fixated itself on Calamari Spaghetti, priced at Tk355, with freshly prepared tomato puree and lime zest.
I love seafood but I also wanted to taste some of Rustic Eatery's chicken-based dishes, purely so I could gloat on the fact later that I always enjoy seafood more than meat. So I called the waiter again and placed my orders for the spaghetti and Half a Chicken (Type A), which is 500 grams of chicken slathered in white sauce with a side of barbeque rice and caramelized mushrooms, costing Tk475.
The soup arrived fairly quickly but the waiting time for the mains was taking my hunger a notch higher. Luckily, the ambience of Rustic Eatery is homely enough for the awaiting guests to not feel bored or ill at ease. And if you have your favourite company by your side, waiting 30 to 40 minutes does not seem as tedious, at Rustic Eatery at least.
By now my bowl of soup had cooled down enough for me to taste the first spoonful and as soon as it entered my mouth, I knew why my cousin was so keen on having me taste this dish. Having the taste buds for soups and cream-based soups in general, I let all of my scepticism go over my cousin's claims.
Rustic Eatery's Cream of Mushroom soup is undoubtedly one of the best soups I have ever tasted in Dhaka. It tasted like everything I could gather from the aroma - buttery, savoury and sweet from the cream. The chopped up mushrooms with every spoonful of the soup took it to a whole new level. Anyone with a heart full of love for mushrooms and a thick soup will indulge on this with admiration.
To me, Rustic Eatery's Cream of Mushroom soup was a perfect start to my meal. This soup deserves a solid 9/10, minus one mark for the lack of heat or pepperiness to the soup.
Around 30 minutes later, my plate of Calamari Spaghetti had arrived and as soon as the plate was placed in front of me, the butter-rich aroma of seafood engulfed me with the realization that seafood, indeed, is nature's priceless gift to mankind.
This seafood pasta dish is an insanely fresh-tasting plate of food that has a generous amount of calamari in it. The freshness from the lime and lemon zest complemented the sweetness of the tomato puree beautifully.
As I took the first bite, the slick and flavoursome strands of al-dente spaghetti launched a dynamite of seafood savouriness in my mouth. The coupling of tomatoes, limes and calamari was beyond me, and it would have remained this way if I had not tasted this dish.
Words will fall short if I begin to describe it. All I would say is this pasta dish is highly recommended for anyone who loves seafood and carbs as much as I do. Rustic Eatery's calamari pasta deserves a rating of 8.5/10 and a pat on the back of the chef who came up with this dish.
While I lapped up my plate of spaghetti, it took me a while to realize that my other order of Half a Chicken (Type A) had arrived at the table. On the first glance, the presentation of the dish looked impeccable. The huge chunk of chicken was served on one side of the plate while the other complementing items sat on the other half of the plate - setting off the rusticity of the wooden serving dish with its off-white hues.
By now, I was extremely full and satisfied with what I had already eaten but curiosity, and gluttony, got the best of me and I had to dig in into the luscious-looking chicken and the bowl of fluffy fried rice beside it.
Cutting into the chicken was effortless - something I had not anticipated given the chicken's proportions. As I imagined, the chicken was juicy and the signature sauce went well with the charred meat. The caramelized mushrooms with onions on the side tasted sweet and savoury, and a tad bit charred - which, I guess, came from the caramelization of the onions.
The rice that came with Half a Chicken (Type A) can only be described as something average. We have all tasted similar fried rice at many restaurants and Rustic Eatery's one was no exception. Nonetheless, the rice went fairly nicely with the chicken and mushrooms. Overall, Half a Chicken (Type A) can be rated a 7 out of 10.
As I finished a heartwarming meal and filled myself up with food a bit too much, I wanted one last drink to wash down all the protein and carbs with. So without thinking too much, I decided to order a chilled glass of Lemon Mint, priced at Tk135.
The drink arrived almost instantly and by the looks of it, I could tell that the waiter passed on my request to make my drink "even chilled than it is" to the chef - as I could see chunks of smashed up pieces of ice through the bright green lemonade.
I was glad that I chose this drink, not because I order this almost at every restaurant that offers a mint lemonade, but because this drink was a much needed sip of ice-cold freshness to offset the heaviness of the soup, spaghetti and half a chicken. The Lemon Mint deserves 8/10 rating.
Overall, I had an excellent experience at Rustic Eatery while devouring some of the best gastronomic and restaurant experience Dhaka has to offer. If you had plans to visit Rustic Eatery, now is your chance and let us know which dish you liked the best.