Mon – Sun 6.30am – 8pm
Coffee: Red Star Coffee
“Ripponlea is a tiny suburb within the Port Phillip area that is usually passed through when going from point A to point B. With a tiny population of approximately 2,000 people, you would think that this little suburb has nothing to offer other than gorgeous housing estates and majestic autumn leaves. However, you would be quite mistaken. Not only is there the impressive Ripponlea Estate, but it is also home to one of the world’s best restaurants, Attica. The only thing missing is a fabulous cafe and the boys that brought you The Little Ox have crossed the Nepean Highway to bring you Hawk & Hunter.
Upon first glance of the Hawk & Hunter space, it immediately resonated something special. There is no resemblance to The Little Ox here, with an impressively independent look of reinforced iron-made shelves that hang from the roof and plenty of table space for groups, singles and couples. There is a quirky side to the decor with various flower combination and impressive wall art of old newspaper clippings and a large cut up tree. It’s a cafe space that’s attractive, alluring and with an ambiance that makes you want to hang around and take it all in.
It was coffee time and I had order my long black [$3.50] from Red Star Coffee. It was a good, smooth coffee with plenty of fruity flavours. With a crisp taste it brought a unique coffee that all brunch goers would love. My only criticism was that there was a little too much water for my liking and in turn the flavours had been slightly diluted.
Having been situated at the end of the communal table and fascinated as to how the kitchen operated, it became quickly apparent that I was not only hungry but excited. The staff were nice enough to tell us that food had a wait of 20 minutes, but being its first weekend it was understandable. The menu itself was impressive with an extensive selection of brunch options with some individuality. I ended up going for the Mexican Spiced Tomato & Corn salsa hard tacos, avocado, coriander and Scrambled eggs + Chorizo [$15 + $4.5].
Our meals took a little while and this may be attributed to the small size of the kitchen in comparison to the sheer size of the cafe, however this shouldn’t be discounted. The presentation of my meal was good and still inviting enough to take a little piece of the salsa as I waited for Miss SL’s camera. I was given soft tacos instead of hard, which I think was better anyway. All the ingredient were well-balanced with a definite Mexican taste. The scrambled eggs were moist and went perfectly with the smokey chorizo. In fact, it was possibly the best chorizo I have tasted and it was definitely worth the extra $4.50. The only real fault would have been the lack of spices from the salsa. As with any good salsa there was a fantastic fresh taste but the tomato didn’t have that kick. Overall, it was a simple tasting meal that satisfied my Mexican brunch craving.
Hawk and Hunter has done Ripponlea well. It has successfully delivered a unique and tasty brunch spot that is worth stopping in for. Being its first weekend in operation and hosting to a packed house, it seems that they can only improve from here on in. I’m already looking forward to my next visit and I think you will not be disappointed.”
“It seems like it was the weekend of The Little Ox. On Saturday we’d ducked into their fine establishment for a cheeky coffee, running into a colleague from work who was battling the chilly temperatures outside while enjoying her coffee. On the Sunday, we’d organised brunch with Toy and her partner at the newly opened Hawk & Hunter – the sister cafe brought to us by the owners of The Little Ox.
In the quiet, unassuming streets of Ripponlea, you could barely tell that there was a hot new cafe that had just opened up. The electric environment was immediate as soon as we stepped inside. Mr LB and I were surprised at how many people knew this place had opened. The crowd seemed like a mix of food lovers and locals that were patiently waiting to be seated on one of the two large communal tables or more intimate tables for two. The interior was beautiful – a combination of wood, steel and quirky pops of neon mesh-sculptures created an interesting yet casual environment.
Within 20 minutes we were seated and ordered our coffees. I opted for a short black [$3] in my attempts to remain healthy and to steer away from lattes. It was beautifully made and had a crisp taste that was sharp enough without being overbearing. I just loved their bold colour combinations of the cups and saucers – too cute!
The menu admittedly caught me off guard – it was Mexican themed. Apart from the classics, breakfast consisted of eggs with beans and/or chilli. I guess these guys are hopping on the Mexican bandwagon, but I have to say I quite liked it. It was unconventional and steered away from the standard options. For my main, I went for the Honey French toast, caramelised bananas passionfruit & toasted coconut [$14.50] and ordered an additional Caramel milkshake [$6] to go with the meal.
The food took an extraordinary amount of time to come out (more than 40 minutes!), but given that they’ve just opened up and were still working out the kinks, they could be forgiven. The portioning of my French toast was generous – while the breadsticks were small, they were filling. It was incredibly sweet, which I must admit was a little hard to handle at first. As the meal went on, I came to appreciate the harmonic balance of the honey and caramel, blended together to make a thick sauce atop the banana and bread.
The toast itself wasn’t soaked through all the way, but this was okay as the dish was bursting with flavour. The passionfruit was tasty, adding a great crunchy texture to the dish. The toasted coconut was a nice addition, but quickly got lost amongst the strong flavours of the other elements.
Toy had ordered my second preference – Big Ed’s scrambled eggs, bacon, chilli & basil, garlic toast & salsa verde [$17.50]. It looked gorgeous when it came out and her garlic toast looked well-made. She commented that the garlic was quite overpowering but overall enjoyed her meal.
Her partner had gone for more of an unch (the lunch side of brunch) option, opting for “The San Swirl – MO” Argentinian steak sandwich with garlic aioli [$19]. The multigrain bread he ordered looked so soft and fluffy.
Overall I enjoyed Hawk & Hunter. There needs to be some obvious ironing out around service, but the food delivered was pretty good and the coffee was excellent. I’d be interested to come back later in the year and try some of their other dishes, including their Smokey baked bean, roasted capsicums, spinach & warm Turkish toast [$15] + egg [$18] or their Hawk & Hunter spiced porridge, poached seasonal fruit and yoghurt [$9.50]. De-lish!”
Final thought: “An unconventional menu and much-needed brunch spot for Ripponlea”