What better place to spend the Australia Day long weekend than in Hobart? I headed there with Meat-and-Three-Veg flying in for lunch on Saturday and then leaving after brunch on Monday. I think you can already tell from that sentence that there was a lot of eating and drinking involved. The city itself is pretty small which makes it easy to explore on foot and we enjoyed walking around and looking at the historic sandstone buildings. The best view of Hobart though is from above – looking down from the top of Mount Wellington.
|The view from the top of Mount Wellington over Hobart|
Jackman and McRoss
Arriving from the airport we were starving and went straight to the Jackman and McRoss bakery in Battery Point. There are a few branches of this bakery throughout Hobart and they are a bit of a local institution. The counter groans with cakes and pastries and there’s also a decent lunch menu of tarts and pies. The goats cheese and caramelised onion tart ($8.50) was rich and creamy although the pastry was a little soggy.
|Goats cheese and caramalised onion tart at Jackman and McRoss|
Details: Jackman and McRoss Bakery, 57-59 Hampden Road, Battery Point Tas 7004 Open: Mon – Fri 7.30am-6pm; Sat-Sun 7.30-5pm.
The Salamanca Markets run on Saturday mornings and have just celebrated their 40th anniversary. The market continues to grow and now has up to 300 stalls which attracts up to 40,000 visitors every Saturday in summer and 25,000 in winter. There’s lots of amazing fresh produce as well as some great snacking material in the form of home made fudge ($4.50), fresh cherries and Oliebollen, a Dutch deep fried doughnut ($1) sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. I picked up some fresh cherries and a jar of brilliant jewel coloured raspberry jam ($6.50) from Joanna’s Jams.
|Fruit and veg, fudge and fresh cherries at the Salamanca Markets|
Details: Salamanca Market, Salamanca Place, Hobart, Tasmania 7000. Open: every Saturday.
Hobart’s Museum of New Art is like Disneyland for Adults. I loved the whole experience from arriving on the ferry which leaves from the harbour in Hobart and docks at the base of the museum to exploring the exhibition with its collection of art which ranges from specially commissioned works like “Bit fall” a rain painting machine, to a sculpture of a Chechen suicide bomber made out of chocolate and ancient treasures like Egyptian mummies.
Details: Mona, 655 Main Road, Berridale, Hobart, Tasmania 7011. (Ph 03 6277 9900) Open Wed-Mon 10am -6pm.
Damage: Reasonable $20 (free for Tasmanians).
Sidecar is run by the same people as Garagistes and although it acts as a holding pen for people waiting to get into the restaurant (which is round the corner) it is also a cracking bar in its own right. Be prepared to squeeze in as the space is tiny but the short wine list offers some really interesting wines by the glass. I loved the Avanti Popola, a really subtle and light 2010 Carignan from Le Temps des Cerises. There’s also a small but creative list of bar snacks including a wagyu hot dog. We munched on a bowl of pan fried mushrooms ($10) which were teamed with toasted pumpkin seeds while we waited for our table to come up at Garagistes.
|My glass of Avanti Popolo at Sidecar|
Details: Sidecar, 129 Bathurst Street Hobart (Ph 03 6231 1338) Open Mon-Sun 5pm to late. Fri 12pm-late.
If you can get in, Garagistes is the place to go in Hobart. The restaurant doesn’t take bookings and we put our name down at 7pm to ensure an 8.15pm call back for a table. Located in an old garage the space is pretty dramatic with soaring ceilings, long communal tables and moody lighting. Chef Luke Burgess offers a set menu each night of three ($55 per person) or five courses ($85 per person). I loved every dish from the summer peas topped with a dollop of yoghurt curd and shards or soft and crumbly cheese sable biscuits to the thick, pink slice of slow roasted wagyu beef which almost melted when you cut it.
|Summer peas at Garagistes|
The dessert at Garagistes was simple but sensational. It featured super fresh Tasmanian blueberries teamed with lemon curd and a buckwheat crisp which had a honeycomb taste to it and added a bit of snap to the dish. Get in if you can, Garagistes offers a truly memorable dining experience.
|Blueberries and lemon curd at Garagistes|
Details: Garagistes, 103 Murray Street, Hobart Tas 7000 (Ph 03 6231 0558) Open: Wed-Sat from 5pm until late. No bookings.
Ethos is worth visiting for the building alone which is one of Hobart’s oldest, an old stable from the 1820s and then a chemist and druggist. Even though the restaurant has a contemporary feel the sense of history has been preserved and I particularly loved the chandeliers made from the old chemist bottles. Ethos philosophy is based on being more environment friendly and minimising the impact of operating by sourcing ethical produce from biodynamic vegetables to hand-reared and caught meat and fish. The brunch menu is pretty short and offers a twist on the usual offerings. The eggs at Ethos are slow cooked for two hours ($14.40) so the yolk and white are just set and sticky from cooking. Teamed with a thick slab of bacon ($5) and the most delicious roasted then fried potatoes ($5) it’s a heart starter of a breakfast. Besides the cutest looking pot of tea Ethos also served up the best coffee we had in Hobart.
|Slow cooked eggs and English breakfast tea at Ethos|
Details: Ethos Eat Drink, 100 Elizabeth Street, Hobart, Tasmania 7000 (Ph 03 6231 1165) Open: Tues-Fri 10am-late; Sat 9am-late; Sun 9am-3pm.
We had dinner at Smolt restaurant mainly because it was one of the only places in Hobart open on a Sunday night and it is conveniently located right in the middle of Salamanca Square. Smolt restaurant is co owned by Tassal Salmon, the largest salmon producer and exporter in Tasmania which also has a retail shop right next door to the restaurant. I should probably have ordered salmon but couldn’t go past starting with fat, cheesy deep fried croquettes and then moving on to the oven roasted baby chicken ($34.90). The chicken was perfectly roasted but there was a little bit too much going on with the dish with the addition of labneh, potatoes, lardons and butter lettuce along with a jus. A few more elements would have made the flavours clearer.
|Roast baby chicken at Smolt|
Details: Smolt Restaurant, 2 Salamanca Square, Hobart Tasmania 7000 (Ph 03 6224 2554) Open: for Lunch and Dinner.
We ended our Hobart trip with a bang with brunch at Environs which is tucked away in Battery Point. Recommended by local Alison the cafe’s whitewashed walls and courtyard filled with succulents are instantly calming. Environs does an excellent Eggs Benedict ($14.50) but the best dish we tried was the French Toast which came served with poached apricots and figs, sticky with sauce and a scoop of labneh ($15). Service was a little slow but in fairness Environs was one of the few places open in Hobart on the public holiday so the waiting staff were under serious pressure. They do take bookings here so it’s worth making a reservation for brunch if you are with a group.
|French toast at Environs|
Details: Environs, 38 Waterloo Crescent, Battery Point, Hobart Tasmania 7004 (Ph: 03 6224 3929) Open Mon-Sat 7.30am-4pm, Sun and public holidays 8am-4pm.
- We flew to Hobart with Virgin Australia. Our flights were about $200 return from Melbourne but that’s because we booked pretty last minute.
- We spent our time in Hobart eating and drinking as well as visiting the markets, going to Mona and heading to the top of Mount Wellington.
- We stayed at Mantra in Hobart which are serviced apartments right near the Salamanca wharf area. The apartments were clean and modern and included a small kitchen and laundry facilities if you were staying for longer. They don’t have much character but were a reasonable price compared to Hobart’s more boutique hotels.
Details: Mantra, 1 Sandy Bay Road Hobart Tasmania 7000 (Ph 03 6221 6000)
Damage: Pricey. $215 a night.