There has been a lot of hype about Rascal but the hatted chefs behind Newcastle’s newest burger joint prefer to think of it as a work in progress.
Rascal is co-owned and run by hotelier Ty Burford, Timothy Montgomery (ex-head chef at Bacchus), Thomas Robinson (ex-Bacchus, most recently head chef at Four In Hand) and Tim Perram (Hunter Valley Premium Meats).
Burford was keen to open “a burger place” a few years ago. He shared the idea with Perram but life, as it tends to do, got in the way. In 2016 Burford and Montgomery started talking about opening a restaurant together and fell in love with a vacant premises on King Street. It didn’t feel right for a restaurant, though, so the burger idea resurfaced and quickly evolved into a diner concept. Perram jumped on board, Robinson moved back to Newcastle and a dream became reality
“We tried to build on the strengths of everyone involved and create the offering around that. We wanted a great looking, fun, tasty venue that expressed a different side of our food personalities,” Robinson told Food & Wine.
Burford managed the business set-up and build, Perram sourced the beef and chicken, and Montgomery and Robinson worked on the menu. The American diner concept allowed for both creativity and diversity.
“I guess the space that we’ve created – burgers, chicken, anarchy – evolved from the idea that we weren’t going to be constrained by the norm,” Montgomery explained.
“We wanted to create something unique and set our own rules. So we have hatted chefs in the kitchen, we’re using ethically-produced local ingredients where possible, we use recyclable packaging and we aim to deliver a top-quality product that we can be creative with.”
It took “many months” and a lot of experimentation to decide on a menu.
“Thomas and I wanted to make sure every single element was exactly right – from the meat ratio to the bun and sauce recipes and the spice mix on the chicken,” Montgomery said.
“The current menu is a good starting point but really, the sky is the limit. The burger of the week provides a great opportunity to get creative but there’s so much more to come. We plan to constantly evolve the menu in the diner space. We’re just getting started.”