The golden sands of Bronte Beach are still 2kms away but Ruby’s Diner in almost-coastal-Waverley has the heart of a seaside café
They serve the kind of clean living café fare here that makes you want to do something productive with the rest of your day and they also sell locally made icy poles from Pure Pops. Because summertime. And now there’s twice as much Ruby’s to love: a recent expansion and renovation incorporating the shopfront next door has only served to double people’s fervour for this excellent coffee spot. One wall remains completely open to the street to catch the salty breeze off Bronte Road. The other is a bright blue pirate-themed mural.
The coffee here really is something. They use Single Origin beans for when you need the firepower of an espresso shot, but with all the extra space they’ve been able to add a slow brew bar for floral cold drips, pour-overs and filter coffee. In fact, they’re so excited by their new brewing capabilities that from 10am on Mondays you get a free filter coffee from their Moccamaster with any purchase until they run dry.
If you don’t get your kicks from caffeine order the ‘monkey magic’ – a sweet and sticky vegan smoothie of banana, dates, chia seeds and almond milk gently spiced with cinnamon. It’s as much a meal as a beverage but far less daunting than the breakfast blend of banana, spinach, avocado, coconut water, coconut meat, cinnamon and Vital Greens powder. As nutritionally rewarding as liquid breakfasts are, there’s definitely a solid argument to be made for ordering a gingerbread milkshake made with house-made syrup instead.
Room to move has allowed owners Ed Devlin and Emma Knowles to up the health factor. We’re not talking full paleo, but they’ve made an effort to pare back the fat from the café standards and they do it well. You can still get a BLAT or a sweet, glazed sticky bun from Penny Fours, but there’s also a light and fresh coconut quinoa Bircher with sliced mango, mint, pistachios and a pot of heavily caramelised coconut sugar syrup making a play for your affections. And you’ll not be left wanting after a serve of fluffy, spiced buckwheat pancakes with maple syrup, honeyed ricotta and fresh berries.
But we draw the line at a bagel without cream cheese. The seeded Iggy’s bagel, delicate cured ocean trout, perfectly poached egg and salad of capers, red onion, rocket and fennel tick all the right boxes, but the splash of buttermilk dressing vanishes into the bottom bread ring leaving the top high and dry – it wants a generous schmear to tie everything together.
You have to get in quick to secure the sugar free, gluten free, no-fun power muffins here, but if you don’t fear a sugar rush they have a freezer over by the takeaway counter dedicated to the fancy icy poles in flavours like watermelon, berry, mint.
It may have been named for their daughter, but Ruby’s Diner is everyone’s sweetheart.