A freelance writer living and loving in the northern beaches of Sydney...travelling, writing, outdoor activities, gardens, and Pilates are a few of my favourite things. Visit me www.potpourritravels.wordpress.com or www.facebook.com/potpourritravels/
Published September 6th 2017
Ruby Lane is a gem in Manly's cafe and restaurant scene
Manly, on Sydney's northern beaches, is awash with eateries - restaurants and quiet corner cafes full of tasty morsels to tempt - so it takes a bit of imagination and persistence to push the boundaries and create somewhere different; somewhere that not only turns out healthy, clean food, but takes the vision one step further by embracing our war-on-waste and sustainable food production.
Driven by a passion for a healthy, holistic lifestyle, Phil Dawson has created such a place. Coming from a background in hospitality, Phil wanted somewhere to go to eat wholesome food that didn't give him a food coma - food that was clean, nutrient-dense, but still tasty and enticing; food that even his 'non-health-food' friends would enjoy eating. And so Ruby Lane was born.
The unassuming building on Pittwater Road has a broad front awning, giving plenty of privacy from the main street. Booth seating through the middle is handy for groups, and organic grocery items line the back walls. There's a communal shopping list so if there's a particular superfood you need, you can request it. I choose a booth seat and, while I'm waiting for my brewed chai latte, browse the health-food cookbooks on a middle display table. A basket of sourdough bread - made with organic flour at nearby Harbord Bakery - soon disappears in the time it takes to drink my tea. The locals are obviously onto it.
In collaboration with Ben Horn, ex-Icebergs group and now Nutritionist, the two set about developing a menu utilising as much local produce as possible, sourcing sustainable-produce farmers for supply of meat and eggs, and utilising biodegradable packaging. Phil didn't stop there; there's a jar recycling system, the refill coffee cup system (bring your own for a 40-cent discount), and all unused food at the end of the day goes to Oz Harvest. Phil even took things one step further and put solar panels on the roof of his building.
Scanning the menu, there are gluten-free, dairy-free or vegan options - more than one option many of you will be pleased to know - even gluten-free crumpets and fruit toast. There's Paleo bread, gluten-free banana bread, and chia and buckwheat pancakes. Milk alternatives include almond, soy, coconut and cashew milk. Silly me happened to have eaten not long before I dropped in here for an afternoon snack, so I settled for the Chia Pudding, topped with berries, seeds and nuts. But I was certainly eyeing off the delivery to the next table - a Mad Morris burger - grass-fed braised beef with horseradish slaw, pickle and cashew-cream-cheese on an organic charcoal bun, with a side of sweet-potato fries, and Ruby's Garden Bowl (gf df vg) - garlic, chilli and lemon-massaged kale, radicchio leaves, avocado & baby cukes with sea kelp, blistered cherry tomatoes, fermented veggies, paleo bread and dukkah dusted soft egg (vegan option includes rice bread).
Workshops: Ruby Lane holds regular Wellbeing Workshops focusing on all things healthy. It's possible to book online, and the next one on September 14 from 6.30pm - 8.30pm is on 'The Gut-Mind Connection and Bone Broth Workshop', exploring the connection between digestive and mental health.