Sunday, 9 November 2008

Slurping at sunny Sip


Rita had the huge pleasure of lunching at Sip, the new-ish café venture for Helen Bain and Subi Mead, ex Left Bank in Swansea, and now knocking them dead in Bicheno.

Once in Bicheno, finding the cafe was a bit of an IQ test for poor, geographically-challenged Rita but as Bicheno really isn’t that big, it wasn’t too much of an issue and after 5 minutes of driving round, we came across it unexpectedly. (For the record, it’s in Banksia St).

It’s obvious that the girls have done a hell of a lot of hard work on the property: both the café and accommodation which forms the main part of the property. The accommodation side is named Seaview Holiday Park, and the name is 100% accurate – the sea view is stunning.

The café is compact (a polite word for small) but it totally fulfils all you would want or need, for their purposes. They run the accommodation side as well, and as they explained to us, receive phone calls and have people arriving at all hours of the day and night, so to have to concentrate also on running a complex café menu such as they previously had at Left Bank would have been impossible, hence this smaller menu which has more of an overall appeal to the masses.

But – having said that, if you select something other than a toasted Pide (which I’m sure would be as classy a Pide as you could want) you will find some true gems of food unsurpassed by any other café I have eaten at.

Now don’t take the piss when I rave about, for instance, my milkshake ($4.50). If you think a milkshake is an easy thing to make, and that any dickhead can do it, you need to think again. I have a milkshake often. I am a milkshake afficionado. I am the milkshake queen. I ordered a Vanilla Milkshake – and it was BEWDIFUL! Because you know what they did? They used full cream milk, vanilla flavouring, ice cream and malted milk powder – like everyone used to in the ‘good old days’! What has happened in the interim? Who declared malted milk powder should be left out of a milkshake? Like drinking and driving, leaving the malt out of a milkshake should be against the law!

The soup of the day ($7) yesterday was THE most delectable drop ever – Broccoli (from their garden), sweet corn kernels, prosciutto, and their own chicken stock. It was so delicious we bought some home, froze it, and Bec will take it to work tomorrow for lunch.

For mains we had their excellent value platter for two ($20), which comprised:
ligurian olives, ocean trout, smoked beef, pyengana cheese, pickled onion, goats fetta, sundried tomatoes, smoked salmon, fig and walnut slice and a red wine jelly (to go with the cheese), and a selection of 3 dips (a hummus, a beetroot jam, and a green dip which one might be forgiven for assuming it was avocado till you tasted it) The third dip was just the best thing I’ve tasted for ages – we shut our eyes and tried hard to pinpoint exactly what comprised it, and failed miserably. It turned out to be parsley (!!!) along with almond meal, green olives and anchovy. It was fabulous. Sounds extremely dubious but believe me it was just beautiful. The standard of all ingredients on that platter was top quality. There was no scrimping on quality, and it was the most refreshing experience to be assured of this fact as we grazed our way slowly through this meal.

We finished off with their famous Bulochki (Russian spiced bun served with jam and sour cream) and another chokky delight in a patty pan, which Rita just couldn’t fit in.

I was blown away by the food, and also the fact that we were the only people there eating for most of the time.

People need to get with the program. Get out there. Go driving up the coast, and spend your money here at home, in the state – our economy will ultimately thank you.

Helen and Subi – we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for such a magnificent experience yesterday.
Posted on by Rita
19 comments

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Rita

On another note:

Based on your reviews, my wife, 9 year old son and I visited Peppermint Bay for Lunch on Saturday. One word “awesome”. Agree with you about the location and views “wow”

Saw and experienced the new bar menu. Hand written??, haven’t seen this before (looked really contemporary and earthy), loved it. As you mentioned it read really well and I found myself pondering over the choice. Noticed there was some kind of function going on in the lower area and the bar was packed with diners so was a little nervous about ordering expecting a wait. (Didn’t need to worry)

My curiosity got the best of me from your before mentioned comments and I ended up ordering the seared tuna salad. I must respectfully disagree with your review however, it was exactly as written. Great fresh lightly seared tuna. I asked my waiter and it was blue fin sushi grade, uncomplicated simple flavours, crisp and delightful. My wife ordered the vegetable kebabs being a vegetarian and “WOW” sensational. I counted five beans in the salad mix using fresh broad and green beans, big char grilled chunks of fresh vegetables on steel skewers finished with an almond skordallia and fresh herbs. Lovely. They also had a sperate gluten free menu.

Much to my delight when my son was ordering I was informed that “all kids 12 and under dine free of the kids menu” no catch? Haven’t seen this before in Hobart , especially with no real conditions to speak of, cant really remember what they were but didn’t pay for his meal of fresh fish and chips (Blue Eye I think).

Pricing was good I thought, a good mix, yes there was a $40 rib eye as mentioned but also a $22 porterhouse and two other steaks both cheaper then the rib eye to choose from. If you wanted to splash out on an aged quality cut of meat you could or if on a budget the porterhouse looked good.

Anyway, I will be back to PB.

Love your work Rita.

Rita said...

Hi Anon - thanks for commenting, and I hope you don't mind but I cut & pasted your comment about PB and added it to the comments on PB on the Rita's Bite website - so anyone who goes to that page can get a better cross-section of opinion about PB than just my comments.

sir grumpy said...

Sounds good, Rita, but maybe the fact you were the only people in speaks volumes.
You had difficulty finding it and they are spreading themselves too thin by the sounds of things.
My missus takeaway Fisherman's Basket cost a dollar short of your plater for two!
And I was $14 dollars for trevalla and chips...ouch...$33 dollars for a humble takeaway.
Am I being a whining git, or has it gone just a wee bit too far?
The quality was spot on, though. Fish Bar in King St Sandy Bay was the provider.
They were a a little bit mean on my portions too, I felt. Am I a class act or what, sticking to plebs' fare, whilst letting you adventurers munch the class stuff.
UP the workers!

Rita said...

Sir G - I just knew someone would make that point - and naturally it would be YOU!!
No, I don't think they are spreading themselves too thinly. They are professionals, who have carefully paced themselves, and set the cafe menu up so that they don't, in fact, over extend themselves.
I like Fish Bar fare, and get my f&c there intermittently, but have to say there are other similar venues where I can get my f&c served with a bit more cheerful, pleasant service, which I would much prefer!
BTW - were your ears burning this afternoon Sir G? Rita met Domenic from Asian Teahouse today and you were one of the topics of conversation.

sir grumpy said...

I rarely venture past North Hobart, Rita, so I guess I'll never know about Bicheno.
I though my ears were burning for some other reason than the missus had just slapped me about them for giving her the shits.
(Only kidding...I'm too fast for her to get contact).
However, what were you two saying about me...I demand (well request then) that you coff up woman.
By the way thankyou to Dom for the fantastic food he served up for us and my cousins from SCOTLAND.
Despairing of finding an indian curry to their liking, I decided Dom would rescue the situation.
The Rendang and Malay curries made our guests forget about Indian Tikka Masalas.
My cousin was raving about that rendange for days.
And just HOW does Dom know about ME?
I'm supposed to be anonymouse.

Rita said...

It would appear, my fine anonymous friend, that you may well not be as anonymouse as you might assume - much like myself, Sir G!

sir grumpy said...

But if you think you know, doesn't that scare you Rita...after all I've been trying to shield you all from the truth.

Rita said...

Sir G, I obviously owe you heaps for shielding us all from the truth!
But don't you feel a weight has been taken off your shoulders?

sir grumpy said...

I think you are bluffing, Rita. I'm just a nobody. How would anyone know me?
Tell me one thing I alone would know, without blowing my cover or covering my blow.

Rita said...

Is it true that you are employed by a well known Hobart icon?

sir grumpy said...

No, I do not work for Ricky Ponting, so you were wrong.
In fact, with my standing as a ``knight'' of the realm, I'm hardly an ``employee''.
I'll send my driver round
your place with a box of off kippers should you persist.
Employee indeed.
Now, I'm off to get one of the staff to refill my glass....
Jeeves, where are you, Jeeves, Jeeves....

Rita said...

You'd better duck Sir G, if you're calling her Geeves!

Anonymous said...

You know you can't escape taxes and death.
Prices double every ten years.
What we have seen in the last 5 years is an expenential increase in costs that underpin our lives. Houses have not doubled in price, they have tripled and quadrupled and in some cases and some again.
The price of oil. Yep, that affects the cost of all that plastic packaging, agriculture etc.
And lets not forget the much debated gen Y. Well the poor bastards are facing housing at six times their income (it was three times for gen x and the boomers), so the wage pressure is on. And to quote yourself dear old Grumpy "If it were up to you they would all get a pay rise" well old chum they are, and the cost is being passed on. Now that the super annuation has taken a pasting, the boomers are heading back to work, Gen x at the height of their earning potential are like WTF.
My observation from all this is that there is at present a mild panic and state of confusion out there in the market.
The takeaways are uping their prices (wage demands packaging costs etc) the cafes and restaurants are slow off the mark to increase and insanely some are cutting prices to compete whilst there own costs are rising.
Personaly, as I pointed out to a customer recently, yes we are dearer than Fred up the road, but I will not compromise quality nor cut the throats of my own family for the sake of two bucks, take it or leave it. If hospitality was following the market then prices should have risen by at least two hundred percent in the last 4 years. Inevitably in the next two years it will as the competition thins out.

Cartouche

Rita said...

..or Jeeves!

Anonymous said...

I Know who SGBF is, I have fed him, and he knows me, and I know Rita, but I can keep mum.

Cartouche

sir grumpy said...

No, well said Cartouche.
I merely asked the question and I think you have comprehensively answered it.
Touche, Car, er, touche.
PS,please don't always remember what I may have said in the past.
It undermines my arguments absolutely.
Not that I would have a selective memory.
Heaven forfend.

Anonymous said...

In this business discretion is the better half of valour.
CCTV on the other hand is.... well you conclude.

Cartouche

Rita said...

BTW Sir G - you could never be a nobody!
Cartouche - don't go defending him! I just can't afford to be sleuthing round town constantly!

Anonymous said...

I can be bought.

Cartouche