Quirky homewares and tasty fare collide at Ruby’s.
There’s a little hint of Melbourne at Ruby’s Café and Gift Store in Tamworth, and it’s not just in the names of a number of the menu items – the Williamstown, the Yarraville. Owners Chris and Leisel returned from the culture capital of Australia to their hometown of Tamworth three years ago to raise their young family with country town ideals. The couple identified a thirst for a Melbourne-esque establishment in Tamworth, so married their love for awesome coffee, creative homewares and fresh, tasty food; a union that ultimately gave birth to Ruby’s.
Located down the quiet, southern end of Peel Street – where parking is free and ample – Ruby’s is an unassuming and cute shop front bedecked in climbing jasmine, its window a visual treat hinting at the delightful array of charming homewares and gifts inside, many of which are the craft of Melbourne-based designers.
A big, rustic share table takes pride of place – a la Fitzroy or Collingwood – amongst the candles, handbags and paintings at the front of the shop. Moving back, the space morphs into café proper, a trendy young barista in a trucker’s cap working the machine while owner Chris cooks and delivers deliciously fresh, light meals to smiling locals. There are a few tables inside, and it’s lovely and cool against the exposed double brick walls adorned in stylishly shabby paint and blackboards. There’s a spacious courtyard out the back with colourful furniture and a number of hidden nooks to choose from. It’s unapologetically kid-friendly out here, with a little playground and toys to keep the littlies busy and free up both of mum’s hands for her latte.
Meals are simple and healthy, the aforementioned Williamstown an avocado, feta, tomato and basil on sourdough number, the Yarraville a homemade pumpkin quiche. There’s a devilish Belgian waffle served with ice-cream, banana, salted caramel and peacans, an assortment of toasted sandwiches and baguettes (changing daily), plus an assortment of cakes in the display window. The drinks menu is as long as the food menu – classic Melbourne – with single origin coffee, coconut milk-based iced coffee with brown sugar, and cold pressed juices the standouts. It was a toasty early summer day when we visited, so we opted to sit in the cool of the air conditioner at the share table with a big cold pressed pineapple, coconut and lime juice for cool comfort. Happy days indeed.
Ruby’s Café and Gift Shop is the kind of place that just feels wholesome. It’s homely, creative and peaceful, and is a lovely place to while away the breakfast or lunch hour in Tamworth.
Ruby's Café and Gift Shop is located at 494 Peel St, Tamworth, NSW.