Review of Ruby’s Café and Books, Umina Beach NSW AU.
We drove into Umina Beach just before noon with a plan to meet up with one of my brother Ben’s close friends; Viv. It’s a splendid charming seaside town; the type of place where you can enjoy a stroll to window shop and to find a cozy spot to enjoy a cup of coffee or lunch. Upon Viv’s recommendation we soon found ourselves seated at Ruby’s Cafe and Books, where they welcomed us warmly and promptly provided wheelchair access by bringing a ramp to the front door and later to a small step up into the area we seated at.
We were given menus but orders are only taken at the front counter and later delivered to your table. A bit of an unusual practice for us but in many ways practical since you place your order and pay in advance so no need to wait for the bill once you’re done dining. I should mention that “tipping” is not a common practice in Australia, and any all taxes are always added to prices of goods or services so they are generally rounded out to the dollar—a practice I’d love to see adopted in North America (NA). Also minimum wages are higher here as well, which from our perspective makes restaurant prices appear higher than we are accustomed to, but in reality they likely compare favourably once we add taxes and tips to NA prices.
I ordered a tomato-ham-cheese melt with a salad and an ice coffee as it was quite warm and they do not sell beer or wine at the café. The coffee was loaded with ice cubes and served with a simple flavoured syrup to sweeten it to your taste which is a nice touch, but the cubes did melt fast and diluted my coffee a bit more than I would’ve liked—I should have spooned out some of the ice but did not think of it right off. The cheese melt was very tasty using a generous amount of cheddar and my salad was nice and crisped refreshing with just the right amount of house dressing added on top. My wife Vicki ordered the fish and chips and they were very good considering that this was not a dedicated fish and chips shop—a welcomed outcome as it can be chancy to order fish in venues that don’t specialize in preparing it. I sampled the fries and they were excellent—golden brown crispy exterior, soft and moist inside—the way a good French fry should be, and I’m certain these were hand cut and not previously frozen. The fish & chips also came with a fresh salad and a proper tartare sauce. Viv ordered the ham & cheese melt with fries, and Ben had the curried beef meat pie with salad, and there they were both fully satisfied with their choices.
Menu: My apologies for not including one here, and please note that prices are comparable with similar eateries of this type, so don’t let that discourage you from giving it a try.
Atmosphere: Excellent, and on a nice day you can also sit outdoors and watch the locals and tourists strolling by or read your paper while the ocean breeze cools you off.
So find the time to drop in and read a book while you are there, or log on to their wi-fi and see what’s happening in the world as you sip your coffee and/or your meal. It’s the type of place where friends meet to chat and enjoy each others company and share a laugh or two!