Ruby's Diner is a thought-provoking stylistic mashup. By name and laminate tabletops, it’s definitely a diner. With tolix stools, small potted succulents and denim waiter aprons, it’s very on-trend too. The menu points to some healthy leanings and a giant tattoo-style mural is a stroke of swashbuckling pirate art.
Yar me hearties, I had trouble with the elevator pitch for this one. The mix of influences makes it hard to know which way the wind is blowing at Ruby’s, but they are held together in an open, sun-flooded space in the quiet, gumtree-padded backstreets of Waverley. The crowd on Sunday is just as mixed — lots of pregnant women, smart-caj thirty-somethings and post-yoga soy latte drinkers.
Happily, these pirates have a much more easygoing health food charter than than the paleo commandos down the road at Bondi. So there’s gluten-free banana bread, sugar-free (read: maple syrup sweetened) muffins, five grain this and quinoa that as well as brioche french toast. If your body is the temple you worship, there is also kale breakfast salad. Sinners that we are, we order the five grain porridge with quince and the poached eggs with house-made baked beans on an oat and wholegrain waffle instead.
The Single Origin coffee is excellent; it’s speedily dispatched and breakfast sails over soon afterwards. I know we’re supposed to be in a diner, but a waffle is not the best raft for beans and poached eggs. ‘Things on bread’ dishes require an inverse relationship between the thickness of the topping and the carbohydrate on which they sit. So despite the perfectly poached eggs and brightly flavoured beans, the whole is an unbalanced ballast, that for $20, doesn’t sail.
The porridge is a silky gloop of five-grain goodness where I suspect much quinoa lurks. Candied nuts on top provide texture rescue but the slivers of quince are are a little too few and too small. Again, without a leading flavour or spice it was likeable, but no hidden treasure.
All hands are on deck for a fairly busy Sunday brunch. They are a merry crew, but a bit too swift. The bill is offered with a full coffee on the table (and no queue at the door) and as soon as we’re done the bill is offered again. This time we walk the plank, Sunday castaways.