Saturday, 13 July 2013

Eating Tasmania

 To Whom It May Concern,

Thank you for returning after my hiatus of... well, being lazy. I hope to regain the passion I used to have for the pictures and the writing and the food that I had last year.

I wonder if I was more passionate when I was overseas? Every meal was so exciting and different, I wonder if that excitement can be regenerated in a country I have lived in all my life. I hope it can. I have quit smoking (6 days clean today), and according to my Quit App, I should have most, if not all, of my smells and tastes back. Here's hoping.

Once again, thanks for reading,


Now, back to the blog.

The last Tasmania post I wrote a while back and posted today, I would have posted it earlier but was having endless troubles uploading the pics.

This post is from the same March Tasmania trip with Miss C, but I now have substantially further time to cast my memory. We'll see how I go.

We rented the most wonderful cottage in South Hobart. Maybe 2km out of the city. By pure chance we stumbled across 2 of the loveliest cafe/coffee shops, which we made out regular morning haunts.

South Hobart looking toward Sandy Bay, from our verandah

One was called Ginger Brown Cafe: think recycled chairs and tables, back to basics, with the most sumptuous breakfasts in the world. Here I discovered fried eggs.
proper Chai Latte

 This was the most intoxicating, rich breakfast that my memory will recall. Two eggs, leek, cream and cheese, all baked in the oven til the eggs are cooked and the cheese goes golden. Served with sour dough.

Ginger Brown

The other was called The Macquarie Street Foodstore located at number 356. My first time here I was treated to a wonderful mushroom, spinach and cheese crepe served with a capsicum chutney. Many of the dishes had a faint Indian touch to them. I'm not usually a crepe eater, but I really should be, this was amazing.

A pot of tea
The Foodstore

Both cafes did perfect coffees and teas, great prices and fantastic customer service.

One of the great surprises of Hobart was how fantastic MONA was. I like a good art gallery as much as the next, but this one was an experience from the second you boarded the camouflage painted, military themed boat to travel down the Derwent to the museum itself. I would really recommend a visit to anyone headed to Hobart.

After a day of seeing (and being shocked by) the pieces on display, Miss C and I board the boat for the trip home, and having a cafe and bar on board, thought we should indulge.

A couple of glasses f bubbly, an orange and poppy babycake for me and an almond croissant for Miss C.
High tea on a boat!

We spent a day shopping and antique hunting in North Hobart, and the Rain Check Lounge was recommended to us by an ex-Brisbanite boutique owner, so we popped in for lunch.

The wine and cocktail lists were very impressive, as was the lavish interior with chandelears and darkly painted walls. Unfortunately the food did not come up to scratch.

My veggie burger was so dry, but even by looking at it I could tell it was going to be dry- the veggie pattie looks like an oat cookie!
Veggie burger with chips (I don't know why the photos are flipped- I can't change it without it changing itself back)
Miss C had the oven baked gnocchi, which if I can remember was very rich and decadent.

A belated birthday bottle for Miss C- a really lovely drop
We actually went into town and then decided to come back up to North Hobart for dinner, and I'm glad that we did, for we found the wonderful (and BYO) Midori Japanese Restaurant.

We both had combination dinners which I believe came to under $30 each. Carly had a mixed and I got a veggie and a sashimi as well.

Miss C and all of the food.

In the veggie combination was, tempura veg- fresh, hot crispy and in no way oily, spring rolls, salad with a stunning sesame dressing, rice, dipping sauce and tofu and the sashimi (below) was salmon and tuna, so fresh. Hobart's reputation for great seafood is dead on. Fantastic.

It was fresh, authentic Japanese food, and the prices couldn't be beat. The decor is minimal with seating for maybe 20 and takeaway from the service counter, but we were there on a quiet night, and were sat beside the window, and with all the food we had in front of us, and a lovely bottle of Pinot, we were as satisfied as two people could be.

It should be noted that Hobart has the most amazing selection of patisseries, chocolatiers, bakeries, and all things wonderful and sweet.


Another night we walked down to the casino (the oldest in Australia) and to Sandy Bay in search of a pizza place with amazing reviews. Sandy Bay Beach Woodfired Pizza, sits tucked away, but I assume the locals all know about it.

We order a garlic pizza to start, it is delicious, but a slight critisism is that it was a teensy bit dry.

I had a half and half (no extra charge). The mushroom side lived up to all of the reviews and my expectations, the seafood side was delicious, but I was so gutted at how little seafood there was, and the fact I could tell it was not fresh.

Miss C had a half and half Mexican and pumpkin and feta.
Despite my critique, I still rate these pizzas very highly on Beck's Pizza Scale.
Sandy Bay Wood Fired Pizza can only be described as back to basics. Seating for maybe 10, flyscreen door, it's a little beach cafe. But they really do amazing pizzas.

Before I left Brisbane, my mother was adamant that I simply had to try a Tasmanian curried scallop pie. I remember being a little bewildered by the sound of the combination, but it apparently, is a Tasmanian... thing... that you have to do.

It was getting to the last few days of my time in Tassie and I was starting to worry that I may get home having not tried the traditional pie- heavens, how could I face my mother?

There was a truck set up at the stop at Pirate's Bay (one of the most beautiful places on earth), and behold, they were selling the pie.
It's weird. It's somewhat indescribable. I suggest you just try it and make your own mind up. It's... weird.

Oh and Salamanca markets, I do love market food. I had high hopes of eating my way through the markets, but unfortunately after my giant German Bratwurst I was full. Devastated.

One place that I did not post about but enjoyed immensely was the Drunken Admiral. As soon as I spotted it I was quickly drawn in to it's nautical charm.

On one of our first evenings Carly and I decided early to head in, cause it just looked so naff.
It couldn't have been later than 5.45 and the place was packed. I felt silly walking up and asking if they had a spare table, having seen that the place was heaving, but the waitress informed us that a booking had not shown up, and if we waited ten more minutess and they didn't come, we would be welcome to their table.
We nervously waited and watched our clocks. At the 9 minute mark we headed back in, as the smiling waitress walks up to us with two menus, we were so happy, she leads us through what can only be described as the VIP table, set above everyone else in a faux captains quarters. We really did feel very important.
The oysters I had for my starter were brilliant. C had a salmon tagine that she raved about. My (in essence) fisherman's plate was huge, and I simply loved that they had a help-yourself salad bar.
The reviews on this place are mixed, but when you can pack out a restaurant that can seat 100 to 200 on a monday night, you must be doing something right.

I found the picture on my phone:
Such a charming exterior, or course I would be drawn to such a place

Our amazing VIP lodgings

Pretty amazing menu

I giggled

Miss C's Battered olives, very salty but delicious!

Amazing fresh oysters

So... much... food

Miss C's tagine

Salad bar helpings

Mmmmm scallop

And that was Tasmania.

I will endeavour to post more frequently, and to get Beck's Modern Life on the road again.

Again, thank you for your continued support.