Dine with Dari | Rufio

There’s something charming about red heads. Perhaps that they’re unique, fiery and often quite intriguing. Rufio – Latin for ‘Red Head’ has just joined the club. It’s the latest venture to join the balaclava hood, popping up on a second story rooftop on the popular Carlisle street.

Back in the day, the space occupied the much-loved Vietnamese Uncle (which, sadly permanently relocated to the CBD). The exotic newcomer has Latin fusion influences and is a little more sophisticated than its predecessor but still retains its relaxed rooftop flair perfect for those balmy summer nights.

Margarita fans rejoice with a choice of 6 different options, and seems only fitting to opt for spicy at this fiery Red Head’s joint.  The menu, entirely gluten free, starts with ‘Smalls’ like the Red snapper ceviche . It’s refreshing and light with a lovely creaminess from avocado, saltiness from the plantain (a root vegetable chip) and subtle welcome hints of a citrus chilli kick (there’s the Red Head speaking). Lobster tostada is where it’s at. A crunchy base, piled with gorgeous creamy crustacean loaded with the beautiful traditional Mexican flavours of coriander, tomatoes lime and chilli. If you’re willing to splurge, matched with a glass of chablis and one could happily just stop there and call it a night. 

Moving onto the larger dishes you could try the Pichana steak. It’s a bold voluptuous hunk of meat with a velvety pink insides. Paired with a rich truffle potato purée and herby Chimi Churi, a few mouthfuls of this robust dish will have your taste buds doing roller coaster circles. Thankfully Rufio has you covered with their awesome Argentinian Malbec to suck onto those big fat juicy tanins. Regretfully though, not much freshness on the menu to compliment the heavy dish, as the only side salad is a sad little corn boat. Whilst it looks sweet, hundreds of little yellow cobs sitting neatly inside a cos leaf, the lack of depth of flavour somewhat resembles your 2 year old’s dinner and may leave you wondering if it was poured straight from a supermarket can. (Where’s the Firey Red head in this dish?) .

Desserts aren’t overly complex but refreshing. A passion fruit coconut pannacotta appeases the vegans and espresso creme brûlée has a hard rock top to give you a subtle coffee hit to wake your night.

Bottom line. Red heads are intriguing. Sometimes miss the mark but often on point, Rufio is definitely one of them.

188 Carlisle St, St Kilda VIC 3182

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