Rita’s Bar and Kitchen can be found within the Cat and Fiddle Hotel, Balmain. Inside the heritage style pub you’ll find the best of both worlds. There’s both the bar with tartan floors, beers on tap and gaming space as well as the Hampton’s style restaurant called Rita’s. Rita’s has a high glass cathedral style roof providing bright light to the venue, mosaic tiled bench tops and white chairs, and a vibrant wallpaper.
The restaurant provides a casual dining space and relaxed atmosphere, which makes Rita’s suitable for a catch up with friends, a date or even an outing for the whole family.
The menu also supports this, being so extensive that you can have a fine dining meal, shared plates or a pub classic. Options for kids too, and plenty of dishes to satisfy those with dietary requirements to cater to vegetarian, gluten free and dairy free diners.
The menu is innovative, with a Mediterranean influence and the presentation of the dishes is high class. Evidence of this can be seen especially through our first dish, the stunning Western Australian Octopus Carpaccio with fennel, skordalia, saffron aioli. A light starter, beautifully flavoured and it worked well in the terrine style arrangement.
We followed this with the roast beetroot tarte tatin, using orange beetroot in a honey glaze, sitting atop crispy pastry with goat’s cheese and pine nuts. Again, a superb dish in all regards, a little savoury and a little sweet for good measure.
Another one of the small dishes we enjoyed was their Balmain bug, certainly appropriate to have on the menu given the location. The bug was cooked in a herb butter sauce, making for a light and fluffy flesh, softly flavoured and easy to pull from the shell. It was topped with extra of the buttery sauce and smoked salmon pearls and bottarga.
From the larger plates, we opted to share the 450 g wood fired lamb shoulder, a good chunk of the lamb, served with the bone in and the meat was tender, falling softly from the bone and perfectly paired with chimichurri sauce. We recommend ordering a side, and our choice of the Zucchini, rocket and pecorino salad was perfect. Now it might sound like a basic dish, but whatever they did to this was amazing. Not normally a fan of rocket, the combination with the pecorino and lightly cooked zucchini was brilliant.
We were satisfied and full after all of this, shared between two, but there’s dessert on the menu too if you’re into your sweets, even an affogato.
Whilst you’re here, be sure to get a drink or two. Whether it be a beer, wine, cocktail or one of their many gins, there’s something to please everyone. Their French Martini was excellent, delicate flavours and topped with dehydrated raspberries, providing a nice touch. We then selected a Gin and tonic, opting for the Applewood Alpine gin, with notes of macadamia, vanilla and wattleseed, flavours that shone through.
The whole experience was topped off with a high level of service. Cameron was friendly and super knowledgeable on all aspects of the restaurant’s history, menu and drink list. He promptly took our order, continued to check in and provided for excellent hospitality.
We would like for thank all involved for a great dining experience and we highly recommend a visit.
In the Cat and Fiddle Hotel
456 Darling Street Balmain
Wednesday – Saturday : 5.30 pm – 9.00 pm Dinner
Friday – Sunday : 12.00 pm – 3.00 pm Lunch