Friday, December 17, 2010

Rubyos Restaurant, Newtown

Rubyos is another one of those Newtown restaurants that I've been walking past for years, but have never been to.  If you know Newtown at all you'll understand why this is the case. There are literally hundreds of restaurants in this suburb with new ones popping up on a regular basis.

So many restaurants, so little tummy room.

I've heard great things about this restaurant and have been wanting to go to Rubyos to try their Grazing Menu for quite some time.  I love the idea of sharing food with a group and getting to try a little bit of everything.  I usually suffer from food envy, so a Grazing Menu ensures I don't leave the table disappointed.

As I organise the team's Christmas lunch I thought this would be a good time to finally check this place out.  See how the admin staff of the world really hold all the power {insert evil laugh here}!

I actually thought I wouldn't get to take many photos of our lunch.  I didn't want to team to turf me out on the sidewalk for making them wait to eat - a hungry bunch of office workers at Christmas time are not to be kept from their food.  That said, the teamsters I was sharing the grazing plates with were uber patient as I snapped away...thanks guys!

Rubyos has two options of Grazing Menus for large groups.  I opted for the more expensive menu...seeing as work was paying!  But seriously, I went with "Menu 2" ($48.00 per person) as it had so many yummy tasting things on it that it was a no brainier really.

Enough talk, lets start eating...

Ocean trout pate with dilled champagne jelly, celery and horseradish remoulade and olive bread wafers.

Peking duck with rice flour pancakes, hoi sin sauce and traditional garnish.

Salad of slow cooked pork belly with baby spinach, shaved beetroot, green apple, and a raspberry vinaigrette.
Grilled tiger prawns infused with curry leaf and turmeric, with a jicama slaw, fragrant herbs, and a crunchy peanut and coriander pesto.
Malaysian style black pepper soft shell crab on a sweet and spicy pineapple chutney.

Crunchy carrot, chickpea and apricot felafel with a lemon, garlic and parsley pistou.

Seared kangaroo fillet sprinkled with macadamia dukkah, with a caramelised onion and potato cake and spiced black cherry relish.

Szechuan spiced lamb rump with wilted Chinese greens, a gingered soy glaze and wonton chip.
Crispy new york style crushed chats tossed through fresh herbs and seasoned salt.
Dishes that made me go "wow" were the Ocean Trout Pate; the Grilled Tiger Prawns and the Crispy New York Style Crushed Chats.

All of these dishes were bursting with flavour and were really something special. The crushed chats were deliciously salty (not good for the guy on our team with high blood pressure) and crisped to perfection. I suspect the tatters were deep fried at the end of the cooking process to make them so crunchy and delicious (not that I would know - I can barely cook a potato).

All of the team LOVED the prawns and Beati3 says the lamb was her absolute favourite as it was "cooked to perfection". I quite liked the Kangaroo as it wasn't as rare as Kangaroo I've encountered before (if you know me, you'll know that I like my meat charred to a crisp so I know for sure that it is D.O.A).

The only dish that really made me go “meh” was the crunchy carrot, chickpea and apricot felafel. The felafel was just too dry and as such needed much more of the pistou to help it go down easily. Possibly the odd croquette shape of the felafel didn't help the surface crunch : fluffy innards ratio (an equation we all know is vital to a great felafel).

General sentiments from the team were that we really needed to end the meal on a sweet note. For an extra $15 would could have added dessert and tea/coffee, but work wasn't going to come to the (Christmas) party on that as we would've been well over budget. Perhaps one less savoury dish on Menu 2 and a little something sweet at the end would be a good idea?

I think the staff at Rubyos deserve a special mention.

Liz, who I made the reservation with, was incredibly helpful and accommodating regarding the special dietary requirements of some of my teamsters. Out of all of the places I booked work functions with (over the 17 years I've been working in admin) this is possibly the only venue where I didn't have any issues with special meal requirements (though I did forget to tell them about "no sodium guy" - my bad). Usually I end up in the loos crying as they've served a vegan creamy curry with prawns and sandwiches to gluten-freers. Oh the stress!

Thanks Rubyos - you made my Christmas lunch totally stress free!

Rubyos Restaurant is at 18-20 King Street, Newtown.

Rubyos on Urbanspoon


  1. It was the best lunch I've ever had and considering I was one of the 'special dietary requirements people' Rubyos know their food! Thanks to Melba Toast for her masterful organisational skills, too.

  2. I loved the pate, prawns and crab, found the felafel too dry, but like Beati3 the lamb was my fave, although the potatoes were a close second, and something sweet would have been good. I went home and made a fruit salad for dinner.

  3. You organised the team's best Christmas party eva, Miss Piggy. You're an absolute star. And, yes, the lamb was to die for. I was so lucky people were all full up by then and I managed two and a half greedy portions. Yummo!

  4. Thanks for this post! I was considering going there for my b-day this year but decided it looked too fancy. I've read mixed reviews of this place in the past, somehow knowing the reviewer in person makes you trust a bit more. I'll definitely give it a try as soon as I get a good excuse!

  5. It was a bloody marvelous lunch - thanks so much for organising it!
    I loved the Prawns and the duck. I agree about the felafal - just a bit too dry and bland for me.

  6. Ooh looks good!! Especially interested in trying the grilled tiger prawns!

    Do you think that it's worth it without the banquet (singl-y)?

  7. Hi Teamsters - glad you all like the lunch! It was pretty yummy. I'll have to come up with something even better next year!

    Hi Gaby - I think Rubyos is worth a visit for a special occasion. The staff are really great and the food yummy. I like that it's something a bit more fancy in Newtown, where there are so many cheap cheap eats.

    Hi Tammi - I would go back and just order a few things off the menu (tiger prawns for sure), and not have a banquet. That said if you're going with group of 4 or more a banquet is good value as some of the items are about $20 each anyway.

  8. i've heard good things about this restaurant too. hope to try one day. the duck pancakes and soft shell crab was recommended :-)

  9. I totally understand about going past this place a million times and wondering what it's like. I've done that for the last five years. Now I'm wondering if they'd do this menu for two people. Looks very decent!

  10. Food looks great :) I love how you have incorporated a new food review with your work Xmas lunch. Genius!

  11. Always wanted to try this place - hum!

  12. Hi Simon - for me the duck pancakes and soft shell crab were good, but not a "wow" dish. Try the tiger yummy.

    John - they do this function menu for groups of 4 or more, but it doesn't hurt to ask if they'll do it for two. You can buy all of the dishes separately anyway and mix and match your own grazing menu.

    Hi Susan - I'm lucky my team didn't mind me taking photos for my blog.

    Shawn - we'll come with you!

  13. nice one! another place to add on to my to-go list. the soft shell crab looks delicious..

  14. you had me at slow cooked pork belly! however, the pate, the soft shell crab look amazing! will have to check this place out soon :)

  15. It is so much pressure to organise something like this- lovely that the staff made it easier for you! Well worth a visit by the looks!

  16. The soft shell crabs look great! An interesting place worth checking out.

  17. Hi Mel - the crab was good, but not everyone liked it, which was good as there were more for me!

    gastronomous - I'm glad I finally got to give this place a was well worth the wait. The pork belly was more shredded into the crackling which was sad.

    Gastronomy Gal - The staff were worth their weight in gold. Hope it's as easy next year!

    Ellie - thanks for your comment! The crab was lovely, but the prawns remain my favourite!


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