99 Mana Esplanade, Paremata, Porirua
Opens: 7.30am weekdays, 8am Sat, 8.30 Sun; closes 4pm
Muesli $13; Emporio coffee, Twinings tea
Ruby’s Café is on the main road as you head out of Wellington through Paremata and Mana. It is in the block north of the New World supermarket, hidden within a courtyard of shops back from the road. There are not many options for muesli north of Wellington so I thought I’d give this place a go. The ‘maple cinnamon granola’ of the online menu sounded enticing.
As you can see, this is another case of the muesli (I can’t define it as granola) being hidden by yoghurt, compote and fruit due to a narrow serving bowl. So I had to wade through these toppings a bit before getting to the main course below. Which then meant the yoghurt was all gone when I was ready to eat it together with the muesli. Sigh! A shallow bowl would let you eat the different ingredients in whatever sequence and combination you wish.
Anyway, the yoghurt was fine, but thumbs down to the ‘berry compote’, which was more like strawberry jam. And now to the heart of the matter:
The muesli was very heavy on shredded coconut and dried fruit (currants, apricot and pawpaw). The remaining ingredients were whole-grain oats and some walnut pieces. But dominating everything were banana chips coated in a sweet crumble. I don’t know about the cinnamon listed on the menu, but maple syrup was certainly in abundance. I took at least half the chips out to lower the sugar and carb load.
Even so, the mix was so sweet I could only manage half the bowl and had to wash it down with something a bit astringent. So I ordered a cup of tea. This was a plain old Twinings tea bag but it was served well, even if in a coffee cup and with no extra hot water.
On the subject of drink, the Americano coffee I had to start was good. And I was pleased to find a newspaper to read. I can’t comment on noise because there was hardly anyone else eating or drinking: a couple of working men were inside and later a small group seated itself outdoors. It was a public holiday (Monday after New Years Day) between about 9.15 and 10am.
In fact, I struggle to imagine when the place might be crowded. Later brunch on a weekend perhaps? Google stats show highest visitation at lunchtime on Sundays and moderate, fairly even patronage on Saturdays. I guess this must be locals. The courtyard could be attractive on a good day, but the interior is rather cafeteria-like.
The muesli has far too much sugar in it, not to mention carbohydrate in general. I felt sick without even finishing the bowl. If you have a car, then Kaizen in Porirua would be a much better bet. And if you are on foot then possibly one of the places in Plimmerton to the north. Ruby’s is certainly a ‘no’ for me.
Reviewed January 2021.
Menus, ingredients and opening hours may change. Check with eatery before you visit.