It's easy to get in a lather about the latest Reuben to hit Sydney but what I'm much more excited about is the matzo ball soup.
You'll find it all at the recently established Ruby and Rach at Strattons Hotel, only a few steps from the corner of Liverpool and Castlereagh Streets in the CBD. It would be a stretch to call this a New York-style deli - it's more like an upmarket pub bistro - but mentions of pastrami, challah and matzo are welcome sightings in this city.
Ruby & Rach dining room
Ruby & Rach sandwich menu
Breakfast runs from 9am - 11am, when you can score corned beef hash with eggs, challah French toast and house-smoked lox (smoked salmon) with a schmear (cream cheese) on a bialy (kinda like a bagel bun).
At lunchtime the menu switches to sandwiches. There are ten different kinds, headed up by the classic Reuben.
The Reuben $16
Wagyu corned beef, Swiss, sauerkraut and Russian dressing on light rye
The Dirty Bird $14
Smoked turkey breast, confit leg, slaw and cranberry ketchup on challah
The Dirty Bird translates to slices of smoked turkey breast and confit leg sandwiched with slaw and cranberry ketchup between two slices of challah. This one's for the sweet tooths - the sweet and fluffy challah bread is made sweeter still with the cranberry ketchup.
You can choose between slaw or potato salad as a side to your sandwich. The potato salad is a tasty rendition.
Half n half - Rebecca sandwich with matzo ball soup $11
If you're torn between having a sandwich or the matzo ball soup you can order the half n half. Have your soup and eat it too. What you'll get is a smaller sized sandwich of your choice with a modest bowl of matzo ball soup.
Smoked portobello mushroom, Swiss, slaw and Russian dressing on light rye
I'm tempted by the wagyu pastrami and the pickled veal tongue but end up going with the Rebecca, the only vegetarian sandwich on the menu. Gibson brines the portobello mushroom in much the same way as the beef - but for a shorter period - and then smokes it using cherrywood and maple for about an hour.
There's a faint sourness to the mushroom but the smoking really does come through, and the 'meatiness' of the portobello holds up well against the slaw, Russian dressing and Swiss cheese.
Chicken broth, shredded chicken, matzo ball and vegetables
The matzo ball soup is the highlight of the day though. You can smell the chickeny goodness as soon as it hits the table.
Inside the matzo ball
The first spoonful is a revelation, rich with real chicken stock and chicken fat in the most hearty, homemade and comforting way possible. And then there's the matzo ball, one big fat dumpling made from matzo meal, eggs, water and fat. The matzo ball is soft and spongy, having soaked up much of the soup, and the abundance of vegetables is simultaneously nourishing and energising. No wonder they call this Jewish penicillin.
Poutine classic $12
Hand cut fries, roast chicken gravy and cheese curds
On the drinks side you can skip the usual bar offerings and go for the Olive A Twist cordials ($5), made with Mudgee-sourced produce and rain water (?!) and dispensed from giant Mason jar drink dispensers. They also do bottomless cups of Single Origin filter coffee. Black only.
All that's missing here is a chocolate babka for dessert. No dessert? Oy vey!
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Ruby and Rach
Strattons Hotel, 249 Castlereagh Street, Sydney
Tel: +61 (0)405 331 920
Monday to Wednesday 9am - 7pm
Thursday to Friday 9am - 9pm
Breakfast 9am - 11am
Lunch 11am - 4pm
Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Katz's Deli, New York
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11/27/2013 10:28:00 pm