I love living in the foothills. As we speak I am sitting on my deck looking out across the suburbs of Melbourne from my elevated position and listening to the birds sing to each other. Our regular birds include king parrots, lorikeets, rosellas, cockatoos (and unfortunately magpies and carrawongs).
One of the advantages of living here is that on a weekend if I dont feel like making breakfast, a short drive up the hills through the mountain oaks and the filtered light on the curving roads brings us to the little township of Sassafras. I have to confess though that we usually continue up to olinda or mt dandenong (and one fateful Sunday when on the motorbike continued all the way up to Donabuyang, dont ask me how that happened!).
So last weekend, with my mother visiting us and me feeling like a lazy brunch, decided to take a risk and visit Sassafras, seeing as it was so close. I had also heard very good things about Ripe. There have been mixed reviews from the breakfast blog http://thebreakfastblog.blogspot.com/2005/12/ripe-sassafras.html and others on the net, but I was determined to give them a go.
Two doors down from the famed Miss Marples, the little cafe is almost unnoticeable if you aren't looking for it. At the front there are tables outside for those with dogs, and there is also a deck area out the back. Originally we sat out the front but decided to go inside as it was a bit cool, which was a good decision as we got a better feel from the place inside. Inside there is a little deli with delicacies iincluding olives, anchovies, fresh pasta and other delights. I was shoo'd away from buying anchovies as only i like them in this family ;( but I did buy some masorpone filled figs for later (which I love love love). The tables are dark wood and there are interesting relics of old kitchens dotted around the cafe, as well as newspapers and magazines.
Onto the food. i ordered a pea and sweet potato pukara with goats cheese and relish. A little unusual for breakfast but the pukara and cheese were a winning combination and the dish was filling yet not overly so. Nathan had the salmon eggs which were nice but nothing new (and not as nice as mine see previous post). Mum had the poached rubarb with oats, nuts, honey and yoghurt served with fig bread. I think hers was the best breakfast of us all and she enjoyed it (and from the taste i got it was good!). Around us there were some amazing looking pancakes and the cakes looked delish. I am definitely going back!
Many of the tables were reserved and we were fairly early (1030) so found a table ok but for those thinking of going for lunch i recommend booking ahead. There was an interesting menu of baguettes for lunch and they are also quite reasonably priced compared to many places in Richmond! SO if you are looking for a place to eat in the hills, think about coming here...