Muffin and I were long overdue for a cafe-based catch up, which was very distressing as this is our very favourite method of socialising. I gave her the reins in choosing where to go, and in among her suggestions was a relative newcomer to cafe-quiet Ripponlea, Spout. I gave it a Google, and once I saw that there were dukkah-encrusted eggs on the menu I was completely in – even though Muffin HATES it when I look up menus online before visiting places. “Why would you want to give yourself a preconceived notion of what you want before you even go there?” she raged, not unreasonably.
Because of course I ended up wanting something else by the time I got there! My mind was comprehensively swayed away from eggs by the pan-fried challah with spiced poached pears and vanilla mascarpone. Come on, FRIED BREAD, like this was anything but a no-brainer (here Hayley’s cholesterol levels start crying).
This was a ridiculously sweet treat, with soaked spicy pears drowning in the strongly-flavoured mascarpone – such strong vanilla notes! I do like it when infused creams and cheeses actually have a good strong kick of their advertised infusion present (otherwise what’s the point, right?). The poached pears almost melted to the touch, and as I expected fried bread was more than enough to my liking, particularly when it happens to be my best bready love, challah. Although it looks like they may have replaced this dish on their brand new spring menu with a pan-fried coconut bread with bananas, go have it and tell me if it’s as good.
But my satisfaction in my totally acceptable, delicious choice was completely overshadowed by my rapacious, overwhelming food envy for Muffin’s chosen dish. Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to Spout’s shakshuka.
Bask in this vision: two eggs poached in acres of tomato and capsicum sauce in a wide, fat pan, topped with dukkah and a veritable mountain of grilled haloumi, and with a couple of pieces of oil-drizzled pide on the side to mop up the gorgeous mess with. All these strong flavours were beautifully balanced, the eggs still drizzly without negatively impacting on the heat of the rest of the dish, and any place that is overly generous with its haloumi (the high god king of cheeses) wins my heart forever. I WAS SO JEALOUS. It took all of my self-control not to just launch myself across the table and plunge my face straight into it.
Spout do Middle Eastern-leaning food very well, and you’ll find across its menu a variety of intriguing dishes that stray away from your standard cafe fare. But next time I’m back there I won’t even be giving the menu a look – it’ll be all about the shakshuka.
48 Glen Eira Road, Ripponlea
Ph: 9523 8155