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