A health-focused but fun cafe is bringing a passion for coffee and fresh eats to Newport.
Cousins Shaun Pereira and Tom Morrison have partnered up with their best mate Matt Whiteley to create Rukus, a laidback cafe that caters for both the hungry and health-conscious.
It has quickly become a popular spot, epitomising the boys’ hope for a relaxed space, where a varied crowd can come and socialise while enjoying the kind of food that usually costs an arm and a leg on the beaches. They’re serving up a high-end product at a reasonable price, aiming to be healthy but respecting that most people (including themselves!) love a ‘big ol’ dirty cheeseburger’ once in a while.
The trio each hold different hospitality backgrounds but they’ve pooled their knowledge to work together on this space. Matt was to train as a chef but before beginning his apprenticeship, he realised he had a bigger interest in coffee. He worked on the machine for six years, before joining the crew at Sydney-based micro-roaster Unground in 2012. Since then, he’s acquired a share in the business, supplying Rukus with all its coffee needs. The house blend is Sukur Punch (Rukus spelt backwards), a fairly sweet blend using ethically sourced beans with tasting notes of strawberry and earthy spiced cacao. Matt’s involvement both behind the machine and in the roasting process means he can share intimate knowledge with keen customers.
Shaun has been a chef since the age of 17 and works on the menu with Tom. Tom doesn’t have a formal qualification but his genuine love of food is palpable and his background in catering for weddings and large-scale events certainly shows. He’s also become known for his epic burgers. The duo work on a menu that’s 100% refined sugar-free with plenty of vegetarian, dairy free, and gluten free options. Raw salads sit alongside smoothie bowls, which use unique ingredients like ‘activated charcoal’ and sport names like the ‘Hippie’ Green, topped with seasonal fruits, coconut, and mixed granola. Then there’s the poached eggs, served three ways, and of course the burgers. If the stomach is rumbling, there’s no looking past the eponymous burger, filled with bacon, avocado, spinach, herb aioli, spiced barbecue sauce and an oozy egg.
However, no dish is set in stone: Shaun and Tom’s reliance on organic and local produce means the menu is set to change seasonally.
Just a short walk from the beach, Rukus is clean and white but natural wood elements and plenty of plants give it life. It’s a well-used small space which spills out onto the street, with plenty of outdoor seating and big wide windows.
Like what you’re drinking and want to take it home? Unground coffee, Career Bay honey, and Corey Chilli from Avalon are all for sale. There’s also a host of takeaway options in the fridge and raw treats, perfect for on-the-go snacking. Its treats are mainly made in-house, and include the popular mint, cacao, and matcha ball.
Aside from the excellent coffee, there’s also smoothies, iced matcha, and a virgin espresso martini. The boys have usurped the golden latte with a golden chai – a turmeric-infused chai with black pepper.
Tom, Shaun and Matt have managed to create a spot that celebrates the love of food, coffee, and above all, people. They’re keen to offer up their catering events skills as a Rukus crew, so as to share the love and creativity wherever they go. With plans to open next door already, the love is spreading rapidly.
Words by Camilla Sampson