The newly opened Rye & Soda on Belmont Street morphs throughout the day with a changing offering for breakfast, lunch, coffee or cocktails. From 3 till 10pm the bar restaurant space offers a globally-inspired menu of small plates, which go well beyond a traditional tapas selection. With three dozen options, from raw plates to desserts and cheese platters, there’s something to please everyone. The menu is genuinely interesting and innovative, without being too challenging. It’s the perfect mix of food to nibble and share, though substantial appetites will be more than satisfied by a couple of extra choices from the menu.
We sat by the panoramic window overlooking the Academy courtyard, an ideal spot for people-watching. There’s also seating outside for warmer days. After perusing the cocktail menu, I decided to research an Edwardian Garden – a delightfully heady concoction of gin, apple and lime, topped with cucumber, mint and basil soda. The menu is packed with mouth-watering choices including guinea fowl cannelloni, papillotte of wild coley and sweet treats such as a lake of forest berries or a baked rice pudding. Each dish is beautifully prepared and presented. I was torn between the salmon gravlax served with apricot poche and tzatziki and the sweet-cured fillet mignon tataki. The gravlax triumphed and was supplemented with cider chorizo, patatas bravas… and a portion of frites.
You can always judge a place by the quality of their fries – Rye & Soda excelled themselves with a thinly cut chip, which I decided were too good to share. With such a global influence on the menu, it should be no surprise that Rye & Soda’s wine list also draws on some lesser-known territories. The team has unearthed treasures like Cavendish English Sparkling Wine and Kaya Kapadokia from Turkey, making Rye & Soda ideal for a convivial evening over shared food and gossip. Just don’t expect any of my fries.