Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Spout, Ripponlea by Big Fil

Melbourne, I dub thee café city. It’s possible to get very blasé about all the good cafes around town. While you certainly get concentrations of the best of them in particular areas, almost every suburb has somewhere that the locals like to congregate for an early morning coffee. Well, with a few exceptions that surprisingly until recently included the small and exclusive Ripponlea. However, just to prove that it never rains but it pours two have sprung up within a few metres of each other almost simultaneously, Hawk & Hunter Small Batch and Spout.

Spout brings a touch of north-side style to the south-side. Wooden communal table, bare brick wall, open kitchen, inner city Gen Y staff, all mixed together with a couple of interesting sounding menu items and served with a smile. It’s certainly feels similar to many other places you can find around Melbourne but a bit of a novelty for this part of town.

Despite being fairly new to the area it’s somewhere that the locals have obviously taken a shine to. With a constant stream of hungry brunch seekers coming through the door there was never more than a couple of empty tables, although it never quite reached full capacity. Which is good – enough people to create some atmosphere, not enough that you ever needed to wait for a table.

The breakfast menu is not too long but includes a couple of items likely influenced by its location. For example, a variation on French toast using challah instead of the much more typical brioche. I’ve only seen this once before in Melbourne, unsurprisingly at another café located near an outlet of the kosher bakery Glicks. Served with poached pear, pistachios, honey and vanilla mascarpone, the result is a sweet toast but without the same level of richness as a brioche. The two things about this dish which stood out to me were the poached pear, which was softer than I’ve had before without it turning into mush, and just how sweet the dish was as a whole. In fact while it was good and I enjoyed it, it was probably at my sweetness limits for breakfast and I have quite a pronounced sweet tooth.

Amongst the more savoury items was a sumac fried egg, served in a pan with chorizo, bacon, mushroom, tomato and spinach. Arriving sizzling hot with toasty warm bread on the side, the egg lightly fried with a still runny yolk, the bacon nicely fried if a little leaner than I prefer, spinach and mushrooms not overdone or the slightest soggy (an occasional issue) and the tomato warmed more than cooked. The description probably understates what again was a nice and enjoyable breakfast. I would have preferred by chorizo more as a sausage and less sliced, but that was a minor quibble.

A café which feels like it is using a familiar Melbourne template, but that template is a good one. Comfortable and not too fancy a place to eat with a bit of atmosphere, casual but friendly and efficient service, food not too complicated but well prepared and prices that mean it can become your weekend stable.

Food – 8
Service – 7.5
Ambience – 7.5
Price – 7

48 Glen Eira Road
Ripponlea VIC 3185
Tel: (03) 9523 8155

Spout Cafe on Urbanspoon

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