376 Mount Dandenong Tourist Road, Sassafras. 9755 2100
I've placed a picture of Ripe at the top of this blog for a good reason. There's no sign outside Ripe and if you don't know where it is, you could wander up and down the main street of Sassafras looking for it. The front of Ripe looks like your average country style house, but inside lies an above gourmet food store and a cafe that champions local produce like no one's business!
When you enter through the doors, you are surrounded by products that come various producers around the Dandenongs and the Yarra Valley. Some of my favourites being Cunliffe and Waters Jams and preserves, Yarra Valley Ice Cream and Yarra Valley Pasta.
The menu here is seasonal, using the best of what the area has to offer each season. There are three areas where you can choose to eat; a courtyard out the back, inside, or where we chose - the front porch - perfect for us to bring Scooter the Spoodle along.
I ordered the Chicken Spaghetti, with Mushrooms and Avocado. Probably not the most interesting choice on the menu, so I don't know why I was expecting anything overly special. I guess because I'd read so many good things about this place, I had high hopes. The dish was nice enough, but at $20, I usually expect a bit more bang for my buck.
Rach ordered the Prawn Salad, which I think was about $22 from memory. Again, it was nice enough, but as a main, you really didnt get all that much on the plate.
The staff are pleasant enough here, offering service with a smile. It's a nice place for Breakfast or Lunch if you're perusing the Dandenongs, however, beware if you're visiting on the weekend. Word is that it's best to book, because apparently it gets chocca's with all the tourists coming through the area. Speaking of chocca's, I've read that these guys make their hot chocolates with Lindt Chocolate that they shave theirselves. What could be better than a nice hot chocolate and a cruise through the mountains in Autumn?