It is officially Fall here in New York City, and with this particularly cozy season comes a bout of chilly weather and a plunge in temperatures. Though the cool and crisp air is certainly refreshing and only adds to the excitement of the upcoming Holiday season, it is nevertheless desirable to experience some warm and summery vibes.
Luckily, the city’s latest gastronomic trend has helped combat the blues that people may experience with such a drastic weather change. Who better than the Aussies to add some warmth during these upcoming wintry months?
Australian cafés seem to have become the new “hotspot” for New Yorkers seeking a relatively healthy, but slightly indulgent, meal or snack during these cooler days. Two Australian restaurants in particular have been able to fully deliver on everything that one might expect, including delicious food, incredibly friendly staff, and a comforting, yet aesthetically pleasing, atmosphere.
In the heart of SoHo, Ruby’s Café offers a bright and airy sanctuary for a leisurely breakfast or lunch amidst a much-needed break from one’s shopping endeavors. The menu is diverse, making it the perfect spot for a group with varying tastes. Complete with a vast selection of burgers, sandwiches, salads, pastas, and “brekkie” items, Ruby’s Café can satisfy the pickiest eater while also pleasing that family member or friend who couldn’t care less about the food’s nutritional value.
What to order:
The kale salad is delicious but also indulgent. The crispy quinoa adds a satisfying crunch element. It is even more delicious with a side of avocado, for it makes the dish more substantial and also provides a dose of healthy fats.
The roasted Brussels sprouts were good, and slightly sweet, but they could have been far better had they been crispier. This dish had a funky acidic/sweet element which rendered it unique in comparison to traditional roasted brussels sprouts, although I prefer the latter to the former.
The pasta dishes looked heavenly. Though I did not order any pasta, several tables around me did. Each dish was colorful and satisfying to look at, especially with the extremely generous pile of grated parmesan cheese that crowned some of the customers’ glutenous meals.
A more homey and genuine Australian café, called Good Thanks, is located in the Lower East Side, just a few doors down from Russ & Daughter’s Café. The staff here was refreshingly genuine, kind, and attentive. There were some Aussies at Ruby’s, but it seemed that everyone working here was an Aussie, and the traditional Australian friendliness definitely showed–more so than at Ruby’s.
The food at Good Thanks is absolutely delicious. It is not fussy, but everything is made with the utmost care and is presented in a way that resembles an unpretentious piece of art. The micro greens that adorn the seasonal fruit bowl–which comes in a beautiful shallow wooden bowl–as well as the perfectly poached eggs on the avocado toast, are but one example of the admirable amount of thought put into each dish.
Their small wooden tables, ceramic plates, and quaint carafes of lemon water all add to the warmth and coziness one feels upon entering, but Good Thanks is not just another trendy café that mindlessly grasps onto fleeting trends, hoping to stay afloat in New York’s culinary battlefield. They are authentic and genuine. They take no shortcuts and ensure that everything–from the flavor to the atmosphere to the presentation– is executed mindfully and purposefully. The staff treats their customers like old friends, but a strong familial-like bond is evident among the staff members themselves.
The congenial atmosphere is reason enough to visit this LES gem, but the food is truly impeccable.
What to order:
Any of the egg dishes were delicious. I ordered two poached eggs with avocado and smoked salmon. Just be sure that, if you want to skip the toast that accompanies the eggs, to ask specifically for no bread. The salmon was not overpowered by salt, as many varieties unfortunately are, while the avocado was perfectly ripe and the eggs deliciously jammy.
My sister ordered the homemade, gluten-free banana bread, which came with a side of spiced butter. The bread, appearing gloriously dense and moist, was bejeweled with banana chunks and was, according to her, sinfully delicious.
Though I don’t drink coffee, my dad does and is rather particular about what constitutes a good cappuccino. He certainly expressed high approval of Good Thanks’ version of the classic café essential.
These two Aussie cafés are worth a visit–especially Good Thanks. In an age defined by ruthless culinary competition and stuffy restaurants lacking any character, Ruby’s Café and Good Thanks proved to be the perfect breaths of fresh air.