Natalie Gaspari's opening menu at Ble restaurant in Ramsgate mixes Greek classics with high-wire, labour-intensive dishes rarely tackled by suburban restaurants. Gaspari makes her own ice-cream, and has even schooled herself in the art of pita bread making for the kids' menu.
She admits the hours are long, but the one-time rising culinary star at Alpha restaurant in the Sydney CBD – who gave viewers more than a hint of her talent and dedication on SBS TV's The Chef's Line – isn't content to stand still.
She's gone back to the drawing board, creating new recipes. There are the specialties from Kefalonia. A lobster ravioli with halloumi, mussels and kakavia soup. Octopus with black ink spanakorizo.
The menu is dotted with difficult to pronounce, vowel-heavy ingredients such as kefalograviera (a cheese) and a pleasingly heavy dose of seafood. "I want everything fresh on the day. It might [look big] but I've actually pruned the menu," she says.
The chef, who has opened Ble with restaurateur Arthur Balayannis, believes the suburb is ripe for new food ventures. And it's not the only recent incursion at Ramsgate, Greek patisserie The Good Filo opened earlier this year in the southern Sydney suburb.
Open Tue-Sun, lunch and dinner.
Shop 2, 203-207 Ramsgate Road, Ramsgate Beach, 02 9529 4335, blerestaurant.com.au.