It’s a rainy weekday afternoon on High Street in Armadale, but Ruben’s Deli is bustling – a steady stream of people makes its way in and out of the shop, which only opened two weeks ago. It’s the latest venture from Amanda Ruben (previously of Miss Ruben and Cooper & Milla’s), and she’s joined here by Chris Watson, former head chef at Cutler & Co and Marion.
“I just want people to have a beautiful experience of being able to buy restaurant-quality food that they can take home to feed their family or friends,” Ruben tells Broadsheet. This modern take on the delicatessen is a one-stop shop, with seasonal salads, sandwiches, customisable bagels and more on offer. Or you can pick up a bottle of wine or a pre-bottled cocktail along with roasted meat and dips for an easy home dinner that doesn’t compromise on quality. Catering is on offer as well, with a range of options to choose from.
It’s Ruben’s second time opening a venue on High Street Armadale, although Ruben’s Deli sits in a different area to Cooper & Milla’s. “I wanted to do something that complemented everyone that was already here … that’s very Armadale, very iconic and that I can have for a long, long time to come,” says Ruben. It’s designed to feel like a nod to New York, with customers already telling Ruben they feel like they’ve stepped into an overseas store when they visit.
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Fans from the Miss Ruben days will be excited to see some of the old favourites back in store, including Nutella and tahini cookies, and of course, Ruben’s renowned Reuben (“The signature pastrami is even better now than it was then,” Ruben says.) But there are also new treats, with the cinnamon babka proving to be the fan favourite so far.
The semi-open kitchen is equipped with a full smoker, which the team uses, among other things, for cold smoking their salmon. Highlights from the seafood offering include hot-smoked salmon with hot honey and a house-made whipped cod roe.
“We slice the fish here by hand, which is very old-school. And it forms part of our fish bagel bar, so people can choose their fish and choose their cream cheese and condiments and make up their own bagels,” says Ruben.
The current offering will change with the seasons, although Ruben says the next rotation may come sooner than planned. “There are some people that have been to the store every day for the last two weeks since we’ve opened and are already asking me for new salads.”
Kings Arcade, 978 High Street Armadale
Mon to Fri 8.30am–6pm