*Special Thanks to Robbie (@itd_be_rude_not_to) and the lovely staff at Rubyos for organizing this event. Special mentions to Stella for the beautiful cakes @es.zcakedesigns
Rubyos is a beautifully lit restaurant located just before the busy streets of King Street.
Adding a touch of refinement and finesse, you almost forget you’re in the pub grub and quick eats hub of Newtown.
The first thing we marvelled at was the beautiful natural light that shines in through the windows. The second thing we noticed was the space; seemingly an intimate restaurant, it still seemed quite robust for a large group. Our group of thirty diners were accommodated very comfortably.
The menu describes itself as ‘modern Australian’ and as the plates came out, each dish perfectly embodied the title.
|Salad of Tumeric Poached Chicken|
The first salad that arrived was absolutely beautiful. Pops of colour and visible textures shone through the simple plate. It was exciting to taste this salad, bursting full of colour.
The bitter rocket contrasted the generous soft poached chicken. The tumeric flavour rescued the chicken from being bland. Amongst the savoury flavours we were pleasantly surprised by the bursts of sweetness from the rockmelon and the crunchy texture of the slivered almonds that truly made this a fantastic salad.
|Smoked Salmon Pinwheels|
Looking very much like Rubyos’ modern approach to a sushi roll arrived four delicate pinwheels of smoked salmon and crab. This dish was like love at first sight (and bite!). It was everything I wanted. I am a big sucker for smoked salmon as it is and in combination with crab – a big tick in my boxes! I loved the crunch and earthy smokiness that the seaweed brought to the dish cutting through the rich creamy crab and briny salmon.
I certainly could’ve inhaled the whole plate just on my own. The only thing I would’ve wanted was thicker cuts of smoked salmon. Overall, it was just a beautiful and simple dish.
|Mexican Crab and Fish Cakes|
Personally, I can’t say I’ve had fish cakes too many times in my life to know a good one from a bad one.
However this ever-popular combination was served with dollops of smooth creamy avocado and a crispy batter.
The fish cake itself was moist and slightly spongy in texture and the exterior was crunchy but not over cooked. The Mexican salsa added a nice tang and combined with the avocado made for a very nice sauce to add moisture to the fish cake.
|Brown Teff & Polenta Fingers w/ Hummus|
This particular dish didn’t quite arrive as we expected. Perhaps it might be my overexposure to the frequent and mundane serving styles of polenta (either deep fried or in a mash ).
On the first bite the polenta fingers were soft and warm and the pairing with the nutty and salty hummus made for a surprising experience.
Personally the lemon curd atop the polenta wasn’t my cup of tea and there seemed to be a lack of textural difference from the polenta fingers and the hummus. The dish was slightly overshadowed by the beautiful dishes that preceeded it but certainly provided a well-needed break between the heavy dishes.
Everyone loves haloumi; it’s salty, spongy and just all round delicious.
This time the haloumi was served in what I initially thought looked like a bruschetta, however this dish actually resembled features of a watermelon and feta salad.
Using watermelon and coriander with the slightest amount of Spanish onion, the toppings counter balanced the intensity of the salty haloumi. It was a refreshing and flavourful combination, each element making the other shine more.
Easily one of the favourites amongst our table.
|Curried Cauliflower Arancini|
The cauliflower arancini was an interesting take on the traditionally Italian cuisine. Rather than filling the little balls with risotto, the balls were filled with a curried cauliflower combination.
The spinach gravy that the balls rested on added a deeper flavour to intensify the spices from the arancini balls. The flavour profile reminds me of dahl, possibly from the split peas present within the gravy.
This dish was certainly comforting and was a creative way to present such repeated flavours in a new way.
|Baked Atlantic Salmon|
Another beautifully presented dish hit the table with gorgeous aromatics. Salmon is relatively forgiving when it comes to cooking but can potentially be quite dry or bland if not given particular care.
I was quite excited about this dish as the salmon was rubbed with a Thai green curry marinade and drizzled with a tamarind sauce; both strong and interesting flavours.
To my delight the salmon was perfectly cooked – just flakey and soft and pink on the inside.
The Thai curry didn’t overpower the dish but injected it with some beautiful herbs and the tamarind sauce added that hit of sour flavour that the dish needed.
The salmon sat atop a bed of mango rice but unfortunately the mango wasn’t too prominent. However, I think it worked in their favour as the mango may have been a flavour profile too far. The rice soaked in all that extra flavour and made for a delicious dish.
|Harissa Baked Chicken with Couscous and Whipped Feta|
The baked chicken took on a huge flavour profile of the harissa rub that coated the outside of the chicken. The harissa gave the chicken a lovely smoky taste which was muted by the much-needed feta sauce. The couscous made for a base for the elements to soak up any residual flavour and help mute the intensity of the chicken.
Personally, I felt that the only let down was that the chicken was a little dry, possibly by the use of chicken breast. I would’ve loved this dish if it were chicken thigh fillet.
Although the fetta was a little less whipped and a more like a sauce, I felt it still worked in favour of the dish being infused with the chicken rub. It left you with a harissa/feta mixture that was absolutely beautiful with the couscous.
|Passionfruit Creme Brulee|
|Blackberry Parfait & Meringue Stack|
|Chef’s Special Dessert Platter|
And so the conclusion of the savoury courses was finalized with an onslaught of desserts.
Amongst the creme brulee and meringue stack came an additional platter that also showcased the trio of sorbets; chocolate baklava and rosewater panna cotta.
Rosewater Panna Cotta
Rose water adds a subtle twist in Rubyos panna cotta, tying a hint of the Middle East to this Italian dessert. The panna cotta had a silken, creamy texture which we enjoyed.
Trio of Sorbet
Blood orange, berry and mango
A very refreshing dessert option – we can see this becoming a popular pick in the lead up to summer.
The blood orange had a nice tarty citrus flavour.
We found the berry largely hovered around strawberry flavour, which was enjoyable. However the clear winner for us was the mango. The gelato had an undeniable mango flavour and we found ourselves coming back to taste a few times!
This sweet and dense chocolate tart would be perfect for anyone looking to close the meal on a sweet note. We didn’t really pick up on the baklava flavours though.
Adding to the dessert, Stella showcased two of her beautiful cakes from Es.Z Cake Designs.
Stella’s cakes are available through Get Foodi in case you went on a frantic google search like me.
She’s also showcasing her works on Instagram if you’re design curious as well.
The cakes she showcased were rose & lychee, and black sesame & earl gray.
Personally I loved the black sesame & earl gray. Both flavours quite subtle but shone through in both the icing and layers of the cake.
The owner prides him/herself in flexibility, being able to accommodate for all diets and allergies – this genuine consideration for his patrons is something that is rare to find these days. I loved dining at Rubyos. The dishes were certainly beautiful and the space itself accommodated large groups yet still felt intimate.
Each dish showcased flavours from all over the world providing a dining experience that embodies ‘Modern Australia’; a mixture of cultures all together as one.
Written by Jay Santiago @the.eatventures
Written by Jay Santiago @the.eatventures