268/270 Raymond Street Sale, VIC 385003 5144 4007
|Opening hours||Tues-Thurs & Sat-Sun 8am-4pm,Fri 8am-9pm|
|Features||Outdoor seating, Private dining|
|Prices||Moderate (mains $20-$40)|
|Chef||Hayden Ganitis & Ben Grundy|
|Payments||Mastercard, Visa, eftpos|
WHERE AND WHAT
The tiny town of Tinamba was put on the map with the revamp of the Tinamba Hotel. Now its owners have turned their sights on Sale, where they’ve opened a daytime cafe/bistro that injects fresh hope into the regional centre’s ailing food fortunes. Locals breathe a sigh of relief; blow-ins are happy, too.
WHERE TO SIT
A smart fitout takes a saunter through yesteryear in a double shop-front on the town’s major shopping drag. Walls have been stripped back to expose red brick and pressed-metal ceilings. Vintage wallpaper looks right at home with cut-glass lights that resemble old-fashioned liqueur decanters repurposed as pendants, and lazily twirling rattan fans throw in a Raffles of Singapore touch. It works.
WHEN TO GO
Tuesday to Thursday 8am-4pm; Friday 8am-9pm; Saturday and Sunday 8am-4pm.
Good coffee is thanks to All Press, and the short wine list has a bit of fashionable grunt with an Italian soave and chianti and a Spanish tempranillo among its 12 affordable (all but one sub-$40) options. A big-name beer selection is backed by three ciders (Coldstream, Matilda Bay and Bulmers).
Like its sibling the Tinamba Hotel, the Mister Raymond menu manages the nimble feat of being simple and accessible yet also comfortable playing with trends. Breakfasts include croque monsieur, quinoa granola and an eggy taco with avocado, red onion and barbecue corn salsa. Eight lunch options, all mightily proportioned, include lamb souvlaki – no fast food when it’s made from slow-roasted lamb shoulder and finished with minted yoghurt with a flutter of preserved lemon, salad, and fennel and cumin salt. ‘‘Wild’’ mushroom risotto featuring enoki and button mushies is elevated beyond the boring vegetarian option with the addition of roasted eggplant puree and a generous hand on the shaved parmesan, and the kransky is a mighty sausage with mighty taste, on charry bread with dried apricot salsa, horseradish-spiked sour cream and fried onion rings. Desserts include cakes and macarons at the front counter, or hit the ‘‘signature mess’’, a tasty smash-fest featuring flourless chocolate and chilli cake, toasty brown sugar meringue, crushed pistachios, a slick of salted caramel and vanilla sour cream. Friday nights are devoted to pizza and live music.
Families, youngsters and non-threatening bikies.
Good food in an under-resourced area.