Sunday, December 04, 2005

Ripe, Sassafras

Today we joined Sunday drivers aplenty and tootled our way up the windy mountain road to Sassafras. There, hidden amongst numerous vendors of tea, scones and other "country style" fare, we found Ripe, 376 Mt Dandenong Tourist Road, Tel +61 3 9755 2100. Time for a gourmet breakfast.

ripe breakfast

Or so we thought.

First impressions are good. You walk in through the food store, where fancy-looking "local" produce is bulging from the shelves. Then, as the seasonal menu arrives (mid-spring in our case), you're bowled over by a wave of exotic-sounding ingredients, including some that have you reaching for a copy of the Food-Tosser's Guide to Indecipherable Menus.

Some examples:

Spinach and ricotta pattie with sauteed mushrooms, pine nuts and saba with fresh baguette. Hmmm... pattie - check... mushrooms - check... but what the hell is saba? Apparently some sort of condiment made from the must of grapes.

Kroll fruit bread toasted with lescure butter. Hmmm... I know what butter is, but who or what is lescure? Well, it turns out that Lescure butter is some kind of fancy French stuff. Which is odd, since this place calls itself "Ripe - Australian Produce".

Fruitions granola soaked with apple and cherry juice topped with blood plum and buffalo yogurt. Mmm... cherry juice.

Fried sweet potato and roquette omelette with pomegranate molasses, creme fraiche and toast. Not your average omelette.

Eventually, I settled on the kassler (ham) with grilled pineapple disc and fried egg served on toast, topped with a lemon buerre blanc (they called it buree blanc, but I assume this was a typo). Unfortunately, it arrived smothered in hollandaise (not buerre blanc) with a side of tomato that I didn't order. They did offer to re-do my order (after I pointed out the mistake, and after they cross-checked this with the chef), but by then I was hungry and in no mood to wait. The flavours worked together very well, especially the ham and pineapple. But the toast was not toasted, and there was no way to appreciate the buerre blanc (which they hastily delivered as a side) with the whole dish drowning in hollandaise.

Sally (a psuedonym inspired by the ordering habits of a certain character in When Harry Met Sally) ordered Eggs Benedict, which wasn't on the menu. Although the hollandaise was good, the ham wasn't grilled, the toast wasn't toasted, the eggs weren't quite poached and the food wasn't quite hot. Her tea arrived late, too. Not a happy camper.

Having said all that, the Gravity coffee was excellent and the staff were very polite. Perhaps if the chef hadn't gone home with an asthma attack this would be a rave review.

14/20 "is that a pinot grigio saba?"


Blogger cin said...

hah, i'm usually all over spelling errors on menus and the display boards outside cafes! you'd think that an Italian place could get 'saghetti' right, right?

4/12/05 22:25  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes, i have been to ripe on several occasions now and am usually slightly disappointed. The coffee is average to good, but I can never seem to get a hot yummy vegetarian breaky. I wish the would make their bake beans vego!!!

19/1/06 16:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I absolutely love the food at ripe. I have never done breakfast, didn't realise they did it, but have gone there numerous times for lunch or a picnic hamper. In fact we are going there for lunch today!

I love the staff, yes it is very busy but that has never affected service, The owner is very personal and knows everything about every item in the shop.

Ripe is my favourite place to go for a meal if up in the hills.

14/4/06 09:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ripe is a delightful little spot. the staff are lovely too. the best part about ripe is that they change their menu regularly and create interesting combos all the time. I loved their omelette filled with brie and perfect amount of onion jam. another great spot which was recommended to me by ripe is bella vedere in coldstream.

22/1/07 14:14  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not a very hygenic kitchen - won't eat there EVER again!

20/3/07 11:38  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been to Ripe on a few occations. The Hot chocolates are to die for! So creamy and frothy they are any chocoholics dream! The food is great with a wide selection for any time of the day. It's a beautiful drive up the mountain and to be complimented by a ripe once you reach the top is pure bliss!

18/4/07 11:09  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been there a few times over the years and my last visit a few months back was disappointing.

When it was 'just the girls' out front, service was always friendly and fun, and never in-your-face. Last time it was all guys serving and they were dull and borderline rude. I had to wait for a friend who was running late a few minutes and I was asked 3 times if I was ready to order (after explaining on the first occasion that I was waiting). The waiter then regularly stood in the doorway and just stared at me and others; a not-so-subtle hint to hurry up and get out.

Such a shame, it really was a homely place, but the staff quality has gone down the toilet. I'll give it another try, but they are on-notice!

2/11/09 20:41  
Anonymous Bernoe said...

Being locals we use to go to Ripe's regularly for breakfast and lunch. Since the new owners took over, it food quality and service slowly deteriorated. So now we don't go there anymore. Wish I new where the previous owners went.

9/10/11 01:37  

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