Rude Boy

Licensed $   Hat icon   Glass icon
130 Elizabeth Street; Licensed
03) 6236 9816
Open: Open Tuesday to Saturday from 3.00pm to late.

Amazing. Cool. Awesome – according to the cocktail-drinking Face Book generation. Allow me instead to simply say fabulous. A fabulous concept. Fabulous that the authorities approved it and a fabulous addition to the city’s nightlife.

The initiative of Alexia Kallis, Rude Boy opened as Hobart’s first Caribbean-themed eatery and bar three weeks ago. With a salmon pink, pressed tin ceiling, a smudged, faded blue wall, a bright green awning, tropical palms and parrot wallpaper, a twittering caged bird in the loo and wonderful streetscape murals, Kallis has nailed the colours and atmosphere of Old Havana spot on. There are a couple of so-called cigar rooms with lounges out back and a private dining area upstairs for which they have plans to further develop. The only ingredient yet to be finalized is the appropriate music.

Then, among a mind-boggling top shelf selection of spirits, there are 110 different rums accompanied by a fascinating little booklet, The Rum Journal, compiled and illustrated by Pheobe, one of the delightful waitress, which “takes you on a journey through the dark and stormy history of the Caribbean’s signature spirit – rum” Whether you want to call it Kil-Devil, Nelson’s Blood, Pirate’s Drink, Tafia or Demon water, she writes that “rum has had a long relationship with maritime myths, pirates and plantations, sugar and servitude, rebellion and revolution”.

Order a Cuba Libre and mixologist Rohan Massie – the best in town according to a friend who knows his way around such things – will ask you which of the 110 rums you prefer. I had no idea, but he mixed a beauty anyhow as he did my wife’s margarita.

In addition to the rums and other spirits, there is a wide range of house cocktails on tap based on different fruits they cold press upstairs and then reduce to syrups which they hold in 15 litre kegs. They also produce their own apple and coconut, peach, ginger, passion fruit, pineapple and pink grapefruit sodas to which you can add spiced rum, white rum, 3YO rum, vanilla rum or Jamacian rum. The choices seem endless and they will even sell you a ‘growler’ – in my day known as a flagon – of any of the house-made cocktail mixes to take home.

And if rum and cocktails are not your thing there are 15 wines available by the glass or bottle and a dozen different beers and ciders plus a few of each on tap.

So much for the booze.

From chef Courtney Drew’s ‘To share or not..’ small-serve menu, we started with a generous pile of crisp and seasoned, deep fried school prawns with a grapefruit aioli dip, the sort of thing you could happily nibble on for ages whatever you’re drinking. Next came wonderful fresh, especially large, fat oysters topped with coconut, lime, salted pineapple and jalapeño salsa – which sounds a strange mix but was delicious.

Then something totally new to Hobart, chicken ribs butchered with a fat knob of juicy flesh at one end, similar to a chicken cutlet but meatier.. Since I understand no butcher does them here, the ribs come from Melbourne, are then crumbed and aromatically spiced, deep fried and served with a wedge of lime and a very tasty mango chilli dipping sauce. A hot hit in the mouth, they were again ideal drinking food.

We tried both of the two larger dishes, one of colourful and tangy pork frijoles y arros and the other a very spicy Jamaican jerk chicken. There are also a choice of five different sides, three Sandwiches de Cuba and a rum and pineapple dessert with rum, macerated pineapple, lime ice cream and fruit confetti as well as a dessert of drunken fruit and a ‘stack’.

Packed, as on our first visit, the place has wonderful energy and vibe. Quieter the second time around, the booze and food provide their own vibe. It’s all good stuff and good fun.

(em>Prawns $15, oysters $4 each, chicken ribs 8 x $12, 14 x $19, sandwiches $15/17, pork frijoles $20, desserts $12

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