Ripponlea Food & Wine
15 Glen Eira Rd, Ripponlea
(03) 8804 1313
The quiet Ripponlea Village, just outside of Melbourne’s CBD, seems at first like an unusual setting for a bustling food and wine venue with edgy styling behind a heritage facade. But as it turns out, it was just what the area needed – within a few months, locals and out-of-towners were flocking to Ripponlea Food & Wine.
If it seems like the owners have a knack for knowing what works in hospitality, they do; it’s all a matter of experience. Brendan Leeds, Lisa Slaughter and Christo Christophidis have a working relationship spanning 10 years. Lisa and Christo have been working together in hospitality for more than 20 years. During this time they have set up a number of venues including Glen Waverley stalwarts Mocha Jo’s and Coco Lounge Restaurant & Bar. Brendan took on the role of General Manager after returning from a year managing multiple establishments in London and the three have formed a formidable partnership.
Their vision at Ripponlea was to create a venue with strong local flavour. Their commitment to this includes sourcing 90 percent of produce from the surrounding area. Head Chef, Robert Franklin, dishes up simple comfort food with a seasonal twist, making use of the freshest product to create delicious, hearty meals reminiscent of the British gastro-pub tradition.
In 2017 the venue underwent renovations, bringing their old-world charm up to date. The new fit out is designed by Black Milk Interiors (the same team behind Ms Collins and Sash Japanese) and includes a new cocktail bar and private dining room. An homage to the ‘kinda classy, kinda hood’ (their new manifesto) eateries of London and New York, the new look includes lush green velvet chairs are offset by bright gold accents, dark wooden floors and elegant low lighting.
While the menu has also received an update, the emphasis on produce remains the same, and a few signature items are making a comeback. The generous selection of modern-Italian dishes (many designed to share) includes mac and cheese sliders, duck pate with biscotti, steak tartare and gin and lime cured salmon, as well as their famous choc bomb dessert.
“The new menu will be available throughout the entire venue and stays true to our ethos of simple, nostalgic comfort food with a touch of fine-dining finesse. We want Ripponlea to be a home away from home for locals and visitors alike – a place to bond over a great conversation and an even better meal,” Brendan says.
Naturally, you’ll want some drinks to accompany your smorgasbord, and the Ripponlea team takes an innovative approach to their wine list. The first guests on any given night are able to choose which varieties to open, and with some staff contributions, there will be three white and three red options by the glass, making for a great opportunity to sample a new drop. Cocktails are offered, as per the venue’s new style, in the range of Always Classic (featuring drinks such as negronis and old fashioneds, etc), Kind Classy (Boulevardiers and Spiked Rose Lemondade, for example) and Kinda Hood (featuring a Gin Lizzy and Gordon Ramsay-inspired Christo’s Fury).
Whether it’s a long lunch, tapas and cocktails, a romantic dinner or anything in between, Ripponlea Food & Wine is a local favourite that continues to impress.