This week, I finally visited Ripponlea Food and Wine (it has been on my list for over a year) for their Dine With Heart dinner, in which all food profits went to support Sacred Heart Mission’s meals program.
The menu was limited for this event with a choice of 5 mains and 2 desserts. We chose the 16 hour lamb shoulder ragout and twice cooked honey glazed chicken for the mains. Due to the reduced menu, the service was very quick, which was lovely. Staff were also all there voluntarily and maintained a friendly and efficient level of service. There was a real sense that they had given their time because they wanted to and it just added a lovely atmosphere to the whole thing, on top of being for a good cause.
As for the food, we weren’t at all disappointed. The lamb shoulder ragout could have been a very rich wintery dish, but the sparing use of sauce in conjunction with plenty of fresh herbs actually added a lovely freshness to it, preventing it from being overwhelmingly rich or filling. The papardelle was also delicious with a nice golden eggy flavour.
The honey glazed chicken was beautifully moist inside and pleasantly caramelised ont he outside, with a little richness added from the mushroom duxelles. I don’t generally order chicken as I’m not a huge fan of it as a restaurant choice (it can be bland and overly homey) so when it does impress me it really has been done well. The dish wasn’t overly sweet from the honey, but still definitely came across as something more special than your weeknight grilled chicken at home.
We tried one of each dessert, being a deconstructed lemon cheesecake and black forest creme brulee. While the cheesecake was a clear winner by a long shot, the creme brulee did have on the side some shards of ginger toffee which were absolutely delicious! Tasting like a crunchy pane of gingerbread, a little sticky on the teeth but totally worth it. The honeycomb which came with the deconstructed cheesecake was also very good – brittle and crisp without the slightly wet chewiness that honeycomb can sometimes involve when mixed with other ingredients such as sauces and creams. It stayed dry all the way through.
Unfortunately the lemony sorbet that was sitting directly on the plate did melt rather quickly – however the biscuit crumb must have had some sort of insulative properties as the sorbet on the pile of crumb stayed firm for much longer!
It was a lovely spot to support this years Dine with Heart, and obviously a popular date spot as we were one of the few groups that weren’t a couple! I’ll be very keen to head back to Ripponlea Food and Wine again to try out their wider menu. They also have a fabulous collection of wine glasses and really match them well to the wine that you order, definitely enhancing the selection and flavour, so if you’re keen for a glass of vino that will probably be a highlight for you, and something rarely seen at a restaurant of this price point!