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Review - Redforno Pizzeria & Bar

Tucked in behind the Redfern cop shop in a shared pedestrian zone that forms part of the thoroughfare to Redfern Station, Redforno Pizzeria & Bar is likely a venue you’ve walked right by. If you take notice of nothing else in this review, put it in your head that next time you’re in the neighbourhood, you should stop in.

While the front of the store, which includes al fresco tables, seems geared towards eating on the run, it widens out at the rear into a small but nicely furnished dining room. Rustic wood cabinets sit along a store-long counter, effectively creating pleasantly private dining spaces for solo diners, keen to consume a personal pizza on the way home from work.

From the gourmet pizza range, the star-shaped crust of the Romagnola ($23) will endear itself to those who like crunch. Minimal toppings – mozzarella fior di latte, a smear of truffle cream, and cherry tomatoes, are topped with neat rolls of rocket-stuffed prosciutto, applied raw so they eat like quality antipasto on a pizza base. It eats better than I’m describing it, but only by virtue of Chef Giuseppe Barillari’s commitment to top-notch produce.

This commitment is also evident in the Redforno Salad ($13) teaming plentiful crisp walnuts with rocket, herbs, cream cheese, and thin slices of juicy pear, drizzled with a balsamic reduction. I could eat this salad for days.

Pizza is a beer food for me, and seeing one I hadn’t tried on their short list, meant Baladin Isaac ($10) was the order of the day. This Italian white beer is fruity on the nose, with apricot and chamomile, with a refreshing, semi-sweet finish, so it lends itself well to savoury pizza.

Now I’m generally not a fan of chicken on pizza – all too often it’s either dry or flavourless. However when quality chicken is used economically, and teamed with mozzarella fior di latte, capsicum, olives and Pomodoro di San Marzano D.O.P. on the Aussie Chicken ($22), it can change my mind. Of course Barillari is presenting it on an easy-to-digest semolina base, with the Italian plum tomatoes from the San Marzano region (considered international best practice for pizza) so that certainly helped it get over the line.

While the Pizza with Nutella Art with Surprise ($25) was a gooey, strawberry-centred, chocolate-drizzled calzone bridge too far for me personally, I did enjoy distributing the fifth slice to a solo diner turning green with envy at a neighbouring table. I assured him he was saving our group of four from ourselves, as we each glutted on our own individual gelato scoop and blueberry-topped, Nutella-filled pizza pocket.

The Ompty crew tell me that - perhaps by virtue of their railway location - Redforno Pizzeria & Bar also do a roaring trade in breakfast. After this surprising meal, I’m determined to get back there and find out more…

Redforno Pizzeria & Bar
Shop 1/157 Redfern Street, Redfern
Ph: (02) 8068 5597

Redforno Pizzeria & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Travel - Junk Toowoomba

In Toowoomba – or TBar as it’s affectionately known – locals don’t seem to mind queuing. This is lucky considering the current popularity of the Walton Stores development, which brings together business, retail and dining, in a trendy precinct in the heart of the city.

Entering from Ruthven Street, you can follow a mural that should feel familiar to any Sydneysiders, as it features the instantly recognizable work of prolific Sydney-based street artist Phibs. On this project, he worked alongside a top-notch crew that included Beastman, Numskull, Gimiks Born and Toowoomba’s own Twolaks.

Their eye-catching work, featuring a cleverly reduced colour palate, now forms both the entranceway, and the backdrop, to a vibrant eating hub.

With three outlets - Two Birds, Hello Harry and Junk Toowoomba - all facing onto a grassy courtyard with a large outdoor video screen, your only problem might be choosing between them.

Encouragingly though, they’ve all taken a porous approach to seating; meaning as long as at least someone in your party is dining from the restaurant you’re sitting in, the rest of your party are free to order from wherever they like.

We joined the queue for Junk Toowoomba, right behind the local constabulary, and marvelled at how good-natured everyone was as they waited patiently to order. This Toowoomba store is a second outlet for Chef Tony Kelly (ex-Stokehouse), who also operates a store a couple of hundred kilometres away in Maroochydore. They’re both trotting out an inexpensive menu obviously influenced by hawker-style Asian cooking, but not bound to any notions of authenticity.

Despite the queues to order, dishes emerge quite quickly from the youthful kitchen team, who easily slam out dishes for over a hundred diners at lunch time in their third week of trading. Across two visits, I try two different types of bao. My favourite was the trio of Chicken Katsu Bao ($12/3 pieces) teaming crisp Southern-style friend chicken breast with gentle house-made kimchi and an interesting Bull-Dog style sauce (Japanese tonkatsu sauce) inside super-soft steamed buns.

They edged out a pair of Pork Gyoza Steamed Bao ($15/2) made using pan-fried patties of pork gyoza filling, fried wonton skins (for crunch), red cabbage and pickled cucumber, united by a black vinegar dressing.

If I had only stopped at the Crispy Pork Belly ($20) I would probably have given this restaurant a higher rating. This dish is a well-presented and clever mishmash of popular Malay and Vietnamese favourites. It takes everything I love about creamy laksa, drizzles it over a green papaya salad crowned with crisp pork belly cooked with kaffir lime and palm sugar caramel.

Washed down with a Spiked Bubble Tea ($11) it’s a perfect representation of this site the pan-Asian mash-up. The drinks employ Taiwanese bubbles (in either strawberry or passionfruit) which are added to tea mixes (either lychee green tea, or mango black tea) with your white spirit of choice (either gin or vodka). The mango black tea with vodka and passionfruit bubbles is my winner.

However on my second visit I returned for a lack-lustre Junk Mixed Plate ($20) - a kind of avant garde bento box that lacked flavour, across an insipid chicken curry, a cold noodle salad, edamame in brown butter and Junk spice, and over-sweet calamari.


Together with Gangnam Fries ($10), teaming a pretty average frozen chip with nacho cheese, too delicate kimchi, spring onions and a heaping of nori, these dishes made me wonder if I’d just chosen wisely last time? That said, the chips did grow on me once I got stuck into a Monteith’s Pointers Pale Ale ($10/Schooner) so perhaps it’s just best viewed as drinking food?

Even if their success varies from dish to dish, it's hard to ignore that the enthusiastic response from Toowoomba locals, who have clearly been itching for pan-Asian hawker food to hit their city's laneways and streets.

Junk Toowoomba
5/476 Ruthven Street, Toowoomba
Ph: (0474) 744 425

Junk Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Travel - Ground Up Espresso Bar

If you’re staring at your smart phone and following the rather impressive First Coat experience into the back alleys and laneways of Toowoomba – and you should – you’re likely to stumble upon Ground Up Espresso Bar.

It sits on Searles Walk between a bright purple piece by New Zealand artist, Askew One, on the Duggan Street end, and an equally impressive tropically inspired mural at the Ruthven Street end by Sydney-based commercial artist, JUMBOist.

They won my business by stocking The Baker’s Duck pastries that I completely lost my mind over last week. Word on Ruthven Street is, they’re delivered every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, meaning there are now four days a week you can get your hands on these beauties.

There’s only a small indoor space, so pull up a pew in the laneway to tuck into a generous Eggs Benedict ($17.50) that certainly looked the part. It's dished up on an old-school enamel plate, but sadly lacked a little in the flavour department, even with using lightly pan-fried leg ham.

So Eggs on Toast ($20) – which should actually be called eggs near toast if we’re going to get technical – with bacon, tasty field mushrooms and a little pot of tomato chutney, won the day.

They’re serving up Toby’s Estate Coffee, which isn’t usually robust enough for my taste, but it scrubbed up fine in an Iced Coffee ($5), in a handled glass jar (naturally).

Suitably re-fueled, you should continue uncovering Toowoomba's First Coat graffiti trail - after all, there's an Alex Lehours piece just around the corner...

Ground Up Espresso Bar
Searles Walk, 501 Ruthven Street, Toowoomba
Ph: none provided

Ground Up Espresso Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Review - Bon Japanese Restaurant

Recognised the second I entered Bon Japanese Restaurant, I was surprised to find it wasn’t for being a food writer for the last ten years, but for the frequency of my lunchtime visits to Katsu Yachiyo.

After selling this restaurant they owned and operated (since 2013) back in February, this friendly husband and wife duo, Takumi and Miki Marui, have brought their talents to Canterbury. At Bon Japanese Restaurant, which they opened at the end of July, they are delivering a well-priced and homely Japanese menu that captures much of what I loved about their Surry Hills spot.

This includes little surprises – like a creamy pot of potato salad – which add a warmth and generosity to your dining experience. They even welcome BYO wine (or sake) on a Saturday night.

Moro Cu Carrot ($5) is just the sort of every-day Japanese crudités dish you can expect to find on the menu here. It teams perfectly round batons of daikon and carrot, and crunchy cucumber sticks, with a chunky miso dip with rice grains called moromi miso.

It’s so healthy you can afford to indulge in a crumbed, deep-fried Cream Croquette ($8) made with crab meat.

Working the same turf, Fry Hotate ($9) serves up perfectly toothsome, crumbed, deep-fried scallops with a duo of Japanese BBQ and creamy house-made tartare sauces.

It's hard not to feel like you're getting a bargain when you're delivered eleven pieces of Small Assorted Sashimi ($15/11 pieces) for fifteen bucks, especially when the quality - particularly the creamy coil of shiso-rolled squid - is excellent across the board.

A slightly loose rice mix made the Moreton Bay Bug Tempura Roll ($14) a little challenging for those of us who didn’t grow up using chopsticks.

I have no such complaints about the lightly seared Aburi Scampi ($12/2 pieces), presented on one of the blue ceramic fish-design plates I most associate with this couple.

Almost sliding into the earthenware plate design, Caramelised Miso Cod ($14) - a grilled, miso-marinated fillet of black cod - is certainly no retiring violet when it comes to flavour. Served with a pile of pickled ginger it's a lovely way to cap off your meal.

Dining in right at the end of September, I was lucky enough to also squeeze in a warming bowl of Oden ($12), a traditional Japanese winter favourite. It’s a light, dashi broth filled with different fish cakes, daikon (white radish), boiled egg, and konnyaku (potato cake) that you won’t find in very many Japanese restaurants in Sydney – in fact I’ve only had it twice myself.

With the wider menu extending to hotpots, ramen, udon and Japanese curry, there are plenty of reasons to make this your Japanese local if you live in the Canterbury area, not least of which being Miki's heartfelt service.

Bon Japanese Restaurant
163 Canterbury Road, Canterbury
Ph: (02) 9718 7139

Bon Japanese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Travel - The Baker's Duck

Solid internet research on breakfast in Toowoomba led us to The Baker’s Duck. The small café-come-bakery sits on a residential street, just west of the inland city's main business district. Building upon their successful market stalls, The Baker’s Duck team began opening to the public earlier this year for just a six-hour Saturday morning window starting at 7am.

Locals patiently queue for their weekly artisan sourdough fix, some grabbing a Journeymen Filter Coffee ($4) or a well-balanced Sour Cherry Kombucha ($5/glass) to wash down a breakfast pastry while they’re there. It's supplemented by a very simple breakfast menu involving sourdough and muesli that you can eat at their communal table under Scando-chic bottled lights.

As we queue for our turn to ogle the impressive pastry range, we take in the artfully arranged book collection that sets out their philosophy in a nutshell: The Art of Simple Food; Scandinavian Baking; The Kinfolk Table… I’m half prepared for their baked goods to be more style over substance, but the wafting aroma of good bread keeps me keen to find out.

Our dropped jaws at the rapidly emptying counter meant we needed to explain having come all the way from Sydney for our first The Baker’s Duck experience. The friendly counter-hand exclaimed: "But there are plenty of good bakeries in Sydney!"

She’s sorely underselling just how good this Toowoomba bakery is.

A Snakebite ($5.50) rolling flaky butter puff pastry around jalapeño bacon and provolone is quite simply, the best breakfast pastry I’ve ever stuffed in my gob. Juicy currants help to elevate their Moroccan Lamb Sausage Roll ($7.50) into something that knocks out even those Bourke Street Bakery masterpieces.

I’m also impressed by both the Cardamom Scroll’s ($4.50) texture, and by the clever way it swaps out cinnamon for fragrant, aromatic cardamom.

Our selection of six pastries sets us back a mere $31, and they're all winners. The Double Choc Brownie ($4.50) has just the right balance of bite and chew, with an indulgent chocolate flavour that wasn’t too rich, though the Strawberry Cheesecake Danish ($5.50) strikes me as even better. It’s topped with a dab of lightly cheesy Neufchatel cream cheese, blueberries and vividly red strawberries that explode with flavour. It’s enough to make me want to return to Toowoomba every Saturday morning.

The Baker's Duck
Shed 1, 55 Bellevue Street, Toowoomba
Ph: none provided

The Baker"s Duck Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Review - Encasa Restaurant Lane Cove

It seems like the residents of Lane Cove have been waiting for Encasa, with it turning away tables on the buzzing Thursday night I visited. It’s a mere month after Maria Barona and Francisco Rodriguez, who also own the popular CBD restaurant and sister deli by the same name, opened this restaurant in their home suburb.

It’s also (thus far) been a four-month wait for the pair to see their liquor license, with Premier Mike Baird’s ‘cutting red-tape’ promise clearly not extending beyond declaring open season on our state’s native wildlife. Kissing my sangria goodbye, I follow a clever staff recommendation to an independent bottle shop, in preference to patronising the suburb’s many chains.

The Lane Cove menu plucks some dishes from the longstanding Haymarket restaurant, and some from the popular deli, whilst also granting them the ability to try new things. Modifying the popular Haymarket Albondigas ($15) would likely cause a riot, but here they’ve switched out the big beef balls for smaller pork and beef meatballs; exchanging the almond sauce for Mama’s tomato. Under a dusting of cheese, you’ll find these balls have a big beefy taste, with a long, fragrant palate length.

Take your queue from the ruddy cheeks of the meat-wielding maiden and enjoy the rude health of someone who eats a lot of meat by dabbling in everyone’s favourite – creamy ham and cheese Croquetas ($12/4).

Or up the ante with Carrilleras Al Vino Tinto ($18), which takes an exceptionally tender beef cheek cooked in red wine, and presents it with two contrasting cauliflower techniques – pureed and pickled.

For those who love the sea, canned pickled seafood is something the Spaniards handle exceptionally well. Navajas ($21), or razor clams, prove to be no exception; presented on a board with sweet pickled red onion and zucchini.

Gambas Al Ajillo ($16) will also scratch your nautical itch, with peeled king prawns arriving in a spitting and sizzling pool of garlic oil. You’re going to need warm De La Casa ($1/each) – sourdough bread rolls – to make the most of this flavourful bounty.

This time I round out my meal with Bravas ($11.50) – golden-fried diced potatoes smothered in spicy tomato sauce and mayonnaise.  I’ve earmarking one of the regional Spanish pasta or rice (turns out paella ain’t an all-of-Spain dish) dishes for my next visit to what one Lane Cove resident tells me is already the suburb’s top spot.

Encasa Restaurant Lane Cove
132 Longueville Road, Lane Cove
Ph: (02) 9418 8577

Encasa Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Review - Little Hutong

Little Hutong has the feeling of a grand folly. Ostensibly named for a back alley in Beijing, it’s actually a sly nod to the gentrification of these traditional houses in the back streets into something befitting Chinese hipsters, attracting countless tourists in search of the ‘authentic Beijing’.

This motif cleverly reflects the evolving history of the surrounding suburb – once a sanitation camp for those exposed to smallpox; later, best known for having a polluted beach; to the present-day as a highly sought-after locale where modern architecture elegantly intertwines with heritage listing and the median house-price soars over a million bucks.

When we set up this place, we were adamant it would not be to make the largest profit,” explains personable owner, Robert Fong, who has lived in the local area for many years. Together with his architect wife, Aliza Teo, who is responsible for the restaurant’s interior design including the lovely Nonya-style tile wall – they control every aspect of this space.

Even what’s billed as a South East Asian hawker menu, is heavily influenced by Fong’s globetrotting travels, using recipes and ideas he has gathered from a range of restaurants, including Nobu.

Fong, who is also a wine buff, emptied his private cellar after first being introduced to natural wines in Switzerland. You’ll see his preference for minimal intervention, low sulfite wines in gems like the 2013 ‘Mosselini Vineyard’ Taturry Chardonnay ($65) from the Mornington Peninsula. It’s made using Burgundian winemaking techniques, and an elegant drinker that suits the eclectic mix of cuisines.

There’s plenty to explore from the menu’s small bites section, starting with sashimi-grade Yellowfin tuna, dusted green with parsley and sesame seeds, then presented on crisp rice crackers with wasabi mayo. in a dish called Surfing Wasabi Tuna ($17.80).

Salted duck egg yolk and pickles help to elevate Crispy Soft Shell Crab ($17.80) presented san choy bao-style on lettuce leaf cups.

While you might find the Smoked Eggplant Furikake ($8) errs a little on the too heavily-smoked side, you’d be hard-pressed to dislike anything about well-priced Mantou Sliders ($4/each).

They’re customisable with your choice of panko-crumbed fish, or Korean fried chicken, with the chook winning my seal of approval.

Also working the fried food turf are compelling Kyushu Chicken Namban Nuggets ($9), dusted in Korean pepper and served with a crazy sauce duo pitting soy-mirin against creamy house-made tartare. Smother your crunchy nugget in both, before adorning it with a house-made pickle, and you'll find it works surprisingly well.

Fong demonstrates he also knows when not to meddle, in both the beautifully rendered Crispy Pork Belly ($9) slices, and the standout beef rendang.

We take our curry in a Roti Canai Set ($13.50) that includes a better-than-most roti. Gently tear the flaky bread apart with your fingers and drag sections through the dry beef curry. My only complaint is that I ran out of this dish too soon - meaning their larger Beef Rendang ($22) is the dish most likely to lure me back to Little Bay's grand folly some time soon.

Little Hutong
Shop 4, 2-8 Pine Avenue, Little Bay
Ph: (02) 8020 0779

Little Hutong Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

This Week's Food News - FoodByUs

When I’m at a market, my eyes light up when I see a collection of handmade things in jars, ideally labeled by hand in spidery blue script. I’m a big fan of home cooking, and some of my favourite condiments, jams and pickles have been fringe items that are too labour-intensive or small-run to be commercially feasible. My eyes are always searching for the next cumquat jam, crab apple jelly, or curried cucumber pickle. So my interest was definitely piqued by FoodByUs, which is basically a kind of electronic bridge between tiny artisan food producers who might sell by market stall, and their next level, which might involve some sort of permanent store.

Cleverly, the FoodByUs website focuses most heavily upon items that will travel well – like doughnuts, cupcakes and pies. They also have a strong showing in categories that might be hard to find – like vegan offerings, and products that are gluten-free. I was pleased to see producers on there that I was already familiar with, like Sydney bagel king, Michael Shafran from Brooklyn Boy Bagels. “In a nutshell, I chose them because their platform was the best I've seen (and I've seen a lot of platforms) and their fees and delivery structure are reasonable. Lots of guys are out there charging 30% per delivery, which is most of the margin you get in a food business, which isn't sustainable,” Michael explained.

After spending some time on the FoodByUs website trawling through various tasty options, from South American alfajores and empanadas, to Mexican pan de muerto - Day of the Dead ‘Altar Bread’, I finally settled upon Broomfield’s Pie Co.. Their Tasting Menu ($35) of four seasonal pie selections from UK-trained piemaker, Ryan Broomfield, caught my eye for an unusual ham and black pudding pie varietal. Sadly the menu hadn't been updated, and Ryan had already moved onto his Spring menu, but he replied quickly through the platform, offering me both an explanation, alternative selections and a tantilising promise: “the puddings are from my local butcher in Freshwater. I will let you know when I do them again.

Luckily for me, Ryan's Lamb, Ale, Lemon and Pea Pie ($10) was a thing of beauty. It encased a generous amount of Cowra spring lamb shoulder braised in Coopers ale with roasted onion, garlic cream, barley, preserved lemons, peas and thyme in a stiff-sided, butter pastry pie firm enough to pick up and eat with my fingers. The four pies arrived to our door well-packaged, with simple heating instructions (bake for 15-20 minutes in an oven pre-heated to 180 degrees Celcius) for an additional five-dollar delivery fee. What I liked most about this seller was his use of fellow market stall holders' products in his pies, like Prickle Hill sugar plums and Worcestershire sauce. You’ll also find Aussie-grown Love Beets baby beetroot in his Feta Beets & Asparagus ($10) pie; and Eden Smokehouse's hot smoked salmon in his creamy Fish Pie ($10). Of course using such high quality ingredients do make these pies a little pricy.

From a consumer's perspective, if  you struggle to find time on Saturday mornings to trawl farmers’ markets, you may find FoodByUs worthwhile, because it does gives you the chance to access artisan food makers with food delivered directly to your door. In terms of food safety, FoodByUs Marketing Director Leonardo Wilhelm assured me that all makers “have to provide proof that they have notified their local council and sign a contract that they are responsible to make sure they follow food regulations.” And while this only a new platform with little customer feedback to date, as it grows, repeated negative reviews will likely see any low quality makers removed pretty quick.

Level 7, Suite 704, 97-99 Bathurst Street, Sydney
Ph: (02) 8315 3163


Event - Classico Moderno Preview

Throwing doors open tomorrow in Darlinghurst, is Classico Moderno. It’s the lovechild of Chef Bryan Gerlini, who recently jumped the Inner West ship from Capriccio Osteria, to try his hand solo, in the heart of the city. Drawing upon his experience with Pasi Petanen and his ultra-successful extended short-run restaurant, Café Paci, Gerlini has designed this as a limited-time venture; though the end-date is yet to be determined.

Gerlini will be showcasing his home region, Emilia-Romagna, in Northern Italy. Regional Italian food is not much of a departure for the space, which once housed La Pesa Trattoria, who familiarised Sydney with the dishes of Milan, including ossobuco gremolata on saffron-tinted risotto alla milanese.

The regular menu will centre upon three different Degustation Menus ($65/each). The first will present the land dishes of Emilia; the second, the coast dishes of Romagna; while the third will present vegetarian offerings of the valley, Pianura. At a preview earlier in the week, guests were treated to a cross-section of dishes from across the whole region, starting with the cotechino and lentil sliders that first caught my eye at Capriccio. This time, they are further enhanced with an earthy smear of truffle mayo.

You’ll also find snacks like, cannolo alla mortadella, pistachio-rolled balsamic vinegar cannoli tubes filled with oozing, pink mortadella mousse, or even better piadina.

Native to the Romagna region, these simple, grilled, Italian flatbreads are usually stuffed with cheeses, vegetables and cold cuts, and eaten on the run.

At Classico Moderno, Gerlini has teamed them with prosciutto, stracchino and rocket, making the perfect post-work drinking snack (aperitivo) teamed with a sparkling 2014 Monte Della Vigne 'Lambrusco'.

Not generally a fan of sparkling reds, I was surprisingly quite taken with this wine, which effectively resurrected the maligned Lambrusco using intense strawberry fruit flavours with a twist of something tart.

From the coastal Romagna region, Seppia e Piselli takes a peasant dish usually eaten by fishermen using offcuts and ink, after the best squid is sold off at market.

Offering up two different preparations of squid upon a vividly green lake of pea puree, Gerlini has elevated this dish into a textural mix of land and sea. It'll likely have you reaching for crisp foccacia sticks to scrape up every last remnant.

With perfect bite, carnaroli rice is well-employed in a creamy butternut pumpkin Risotto alla Ferrerese. It’s well complemented by crisp pumpkin seeds and a tangy drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar, though the amaretti biscuit crumb is overkill.

Degustation menus here include all the trimmings, like a pre-dessert of strawberry granita. However if you’re not beholden to long menus, there will also be a three-course option ($45/head) where you choose your own adventure from any of the degustation menus. And if you're a fan of the English trifle, you should probably make sure your selections include Romagna’s Zuppa Inglese - a dessert that pits the nutmeg and clove notes of Alchermes liqueur-soaked sponge cake against chocolate and vanilla custard.

Classico Moderno
172-174 Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst
Ph: (02) 9331 4358

Classico Moderno Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Review - Rubyos Restaurant

Just up the road from 1989, you’ll find yourself bang smack in the middle of the nineties with Rubyos’ Four-Course Grazing Brunch ($25/head). It’s a refreshing change from Newtown’s sourdough, single origin, cold-drip, dukkah and quinoa excesses. There are no beards, no tattoos, just an honest breakfast the way it used to be - well, except they’ve made a Sunday morning event of it, by delivering it to you across four well-sized courses with an alcoholic drink!

Owner Badrul Haider, who took over this business twenty months ago, explains the classic choices were deliberate:  “because we're only doing breakfast one day a week - Sundays between 9am-12pm.

We settle into the spacious, nicely decorated dining room with our respective breakfast cocktails - a Mimosa for her, and a Bellini for him - marvelling that they’re included in the price. We're also impressed that there isn't an Edison bulb in sight - no mean feat in Newtown.

Feeling a little shabby, we each add on a well-made Vittoria Coffee ($4) in our preferred incarnations (for her, a latte, and him, a flat white).

Our first dish – a mini breakfast bruschetta – lands bearing smashed avocado (I did say 90s), tomato and crisp bacon (or haloumi), under an avalanche of well-dressed (balsamic/mustard) rocket. It’s bright and healthy, and suits the cocktails, with the moderately sweet Mimosa scrubbing up slightly better than the acid-on-acid hit of the Bellini.

You’ll want coffee in hand for your eggs Benedict, serving up as a single poached egg under Hollandaise, with your choice of ham, smoked salmon or spinach. We both stick with tradition and take the ham, finding it a pleasingly savoury treat before we hit the sweet.

A buttermilk hotcake stack is suddenly made manageable by delivering you a pancake each under a nicely tart blueberry and rhubarb compote. It’s capped off with a vanilla bean-flecked ball of ice cream, and maple syrup to apply as you see fit.

Your final course is a freshly cut seasonal fruit platter to share, accentuated by creamy yoghurt drizzled with honey.

While it’s not going to win awards for originality, what I liked about this grazing brunch was that it wasn’t an insane amount of food, and it was banged out quickly enough to leave you with plenty of your Sunday left to enjoy. My only gripe would be staff not offering to change share plates between courses. Overall it feels like good value for your spend, and would particularly suit people who struggle when choosing between savoury and sweet at breakfast time.

Rubyos Restaurant
18-20 King Street, Newtown
Ph: (02) 9557 2669

Rubyos Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato