Ripponlea mansion Quat Quatta Summer House is now serving the public

The courtyard at Quat Quatta.
The courtyard at Quat Quatta. Photo: Joe Armao

THEME: SILVER LININGS

​Diners making their way into Quat Quatta tend to follow a script that doesn't actually exist. "Wow, what a spot! I can't believe this is here. Can you keep it open forever?" Oh, and always: "Those hedges!"

Quat Quatta is an impressive Victorian mansion that's been a wedding venue for 50 years. COVID delivered a "nup" to big nuptials so it's now open to the public for the first time under the moniker Summer House. The pandemic sucks but there's no guilt in enjoying its silver linings.

Crab and prawn toasted brioche.
Crab and prawn toasted brioche. Photo: Joe Armao

Built as a home in 1890, and subsequently doing duty as a Cobb and Co carriage stop, hospital and hostel, Quat Quatta (named after a frog call or maybe an Aboriginal term for "good camping place") has a parquetry ballroom, marbled veranda and sky-high hedges; even the car park is grand. Seating is in the courtyard and the veranda that wraps around the building. It's a charming setting, made more special by the hidden-secret feeling.

The menu is concise, approachable and modern international; wine and beer is patriotically all-Vic.

Oysters and a spritz are an easy "yes". Crab and prawn brioche buns are saucy three-bite winners. Ocean trout nicoise salad is fresh and vibrant with the tart kick of capers. Vietnamese-style grilled chicken comes with lively green papaya slaw. There's a wagyu burger with fried chat potatoes and pickles.

Grilled Hanoi chicken with green papaya salad.
Grilled Hanoi chicken with green papaya salad. Photo: Joe Armao

It's all generous with honest flavours: there's catering-kitchen consistency plus the finesse that's possible when cooking to order.

Quat Quatta hasn't been idle through 2020. When COVID hit, six staff spent 70 hours a week for four weeks on the phone shifting weddings and calming couples. The calls continued as the months ground on and the ground kept shifting.

The team launched take-home meals, selling food to past customers and Ripponlea locals, and donating meals (almost 20,000 and counting) to international students, hospitals and community groups.

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While enjoying staff lunch on the pretty premises, the notion of Summer House arose. The plan is to keep it going through to March but as the script might as well say, "Can't you keep it going forever?"

Quat Quatta Summer House 17 Quat Quatta Avenue, Ripponlea, 9528 6483, quatquatta.com.au

Open Thu-Fri 4pm-10pm, Sat-Sun noon-4pm, 6pm-10pm

There's a hidden-secret feel to the function venue's summer pop-up.
There's a hidden-secret feel to the function venue's summer pop-up. Photo: Joe Armao

Prices Small: $14-$18; Large: $24-$28; Sweet: $13

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