Saturday, June 30, 2007

Rubyos, King St, Newtown

Rubyos, King St, Newtown
Saturday 30 June, 2007

Tonight we were off to see Keating! at the Seymour Centre. This fabulous production has returned to Sydney after sell out seasons around the country. Looking for somewhere to dine beforehand a friend had tipped me off about Rubyos.

On arrival you are met with these fabulous chandeliers and African themed (well, kind of)artwork that is captivating. I loved it. The open plan design and wooden floorboards make for an inviting dining space but once the place is full you can't hear a thing - so be prepared to shout. Rubyos is described as,

Newtown’s newest concept in casual dining featuring an exciting grazing menu, designed to be shared i.e. “to graze - to eat a variety of appetizers as a full meal” (

We arrived for our early dinner and we asked to take a seat at the bar whilst the waiter assisted a gentleman who wanted to make a dinner reservation later in the week. Am I being unreasonable to say that surely, we could have been seated first? It seemed really odd to me that they would choose to serve him over paying customers who were already there. Anyway, we were seated shortly afterwards and provided with menus.

The menu looked great but my dinner guests were not keen on the whole concept of sharing plates. In fact, they made it quite clear that they did not want to share. OK then. So, we all ordered a few plates each which we did end up sharing - well, sort of. These were:

- Antipasto plate - assorted marinated and roasted vegetables, cured meats, fresh cheese, zucchini frittata, homemade dip and turkish bread
- Smoked salmon cups - shredded smoked salmon in hollowed out cucumber chunks
- Baked scallops with pistachio mash
- Mediterranean meatballs filled with pecorino cheese in a roasted tomato sauce
- Pumpkin ravioli with kumera chips
- Sirloin steak served with garlic bread

The dishes arrived in no particular order and were placed in the middle of the table despite us explaining that we weren't really going to share. There was no explanation of the meals as they were placed on the table or any suggestion when we had ordered as to the size of the dishes. Needless, to say we had far too much food and much of it went to waste. This was disappointing.

The food was average - there were highlights with the pumpkin ravioli (deliciously creamy inside and al dente) and baked scallops but the majority lacked flavour and some dishes were bordering on bland e.g. meatballs. The tables were far too small to accommodate their 'grazing' concept so we were left juggling glasses, bottles, side plates, cutlery etc all evening.

Around 7.30pm the place was packed with a diverse crowd. Rubyos has so much potential however they need to get some basics right first. Staffing is critical - namely staff that know how to engage with customers or more importantly want to engage with customers and understand what they are serving - and the food. The dishes sound great on paper but need more much more flavour to sustain them as a restaurant of choice.

Rubyos - 18-20 King Street, Newtown - (02) 9557 2669


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