Saturday, 18 August 2012

The Mill On Morrison (Update 2)

Our good friends were down from Launceston so we ventured to the Mill again. Same superb selection, great flavours - well cooked.

Won't bore you with the details of what the Mill on Morrison is all about (read the older posts for that).

Here are some of the different treats we tasted...

  • Glazed beetroot with whipped goats curd.
  • Some mini-beef burgers...(Apologies for the dirty plate!)
  • Crispy fried Chicken wings with a Honey Soy glaze...
  • Lamb Canneloni with tomato puree: a beautiful slow cooked lamb filling with a wafer-like baked canneloni
  • Goats cheese and semolina gnocchi with rocket pesto and a tomato puree: pillowy and light flavoured - well balanced with pesto and the acid from the tomato puree.(Probably the favourite tapas of the night.)

The Mill on Morrison on Urbanspoon

Friday, 10 August 2012

Don Camillo

Down the Sandy Bay Rd strip of shops, among banks and dry cleaners you will find one of Hobart's oldest restaurants - Don Camillo. 

The restaurant is cosy and is decorated evolving selection of artworks by Tasmanian artists. AJ and I have been here 3 or 4 times now and have been generally impressed by their menu of traditional italian specialities. 

On past visits - we've had; the 'Filetto' a tender cut of eye fillet wrapped in pancetta served on a cannelloni bean mash, the 'Pollo Involtini' a filled chicken breast wrapped in prosciutto with gnocchi. These are arguably some of their 'signature' dishes - I think during our meal I spotted at least 20 plates of the 'Filetto' from the kitchen. 

But tonight we thought we would try something that we hadn't had before.

So to start out the night we ordered some antipasto as an entree. This was a good selection of salami, stuffed bell peppers, cheeses, olives, etc. - but rather pedestrian in flavours. I think it is difficult to judge a restaurant on how they put together antipasto - for the mere fact it is other peoples produce that is featured. Everything was fresh but it just wasn't impressive as a restaurant entree. 

Now I must make mention of the long delay between courses. This was rather atypical of the restaurant - but it was a very busy night based on past visits. The owner was very apologetic and even offered us a free round of drinks which we thought was a kind gesture. 

For mains we tried a tried and true Italian favourite, but something AJ and I hadn't had in years - Spaghetti and Meatballs, and the Veal Cottoletta. 

The spaghetti was fresh, the meatballs were flavoursome, but unfortunately the sauce was lacking rich tomato flavour. I also took issue with the pasta to protein ratio - being probably 10:1. It was an enjoyable dish but was let down by the absence of a full bodied and well seasoned sauce to tie it together. 

AJ had the Veal and it was excellent. Tender, with a golden crumb that was delicate and crisp. The herbed tomato sauce and melted boccocini was a great addition. Unfortunately, the salad was let down by a odd-tasting dressing. 

We weren't unimpressed with the main courses but had come with greater expectations based on past visits.

Now, on to dessert. The tiramisu was a delight that made up for the mains. It was rich with mascarpone and espresso but had a light and pillowy sponge with a quenelle of hazelnut cream. The swirl pictured on the plate was an espresso reduction with Frangelico for a bit of decadence. 

 We also tried the Fig & Bread and Butter pudding which was served in a gooey butterscotch reduction, a scoop of Valhalla ice cream. It was moist, sweet and an excellent example of why simple desserts are often best. 

The combination of flavours sometimes reminded me of a sticky-date pudding but the mixture of figs throughout provided some textural and balance to the palate that could otherwise be overwhelmed by the sweetness. 

While there was some disappointment, our enjoyment peaked with the last trio of dishes. On our next visit there will likely be a return to the old favourites for me.

Don Camillo Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 5 August 2012

The Beach House

On Friday's AJ and I aren't usually in the mood to cook so generally will opt for some take-away. Out we went to a restaurant that had elluded us for quite some time - the Beach House in Lower Sandy Bay.

This restaurant has been through a few management changes during our 3.5 years in Hobart, and every time we've gone to check it out it's been closed for dinner. The Lower Sandy Bay locals swear its a good spot for breakfast or lunch being only metres from the beach. On this Friday, our luck was in supply and The Beach House was open for dinner.

The restaurant lies beneath an apartment complex that looks out over the Derwent River, so during your meal you spot any passing boats or just watch the water. This venue would be perfect for a birthday function with a bar stretching its entire length. 

We sat down at our table and inspected our menus that listed a simple pub style selection. We opted for the Pork Belly (I really need to expand my horizons - but there wasn't too much else on offer) and the Pumpkin, Spinach and Cheese Risotto Balls.

The Pork Belly was served with a crispy sweet potato garnish. This was wafer-like, crispy and added texture. The two portions of pork belly were placed on wilted spinach and on the plate were three quenelles of roasted capsicum puree. The pork fat had not been rendered down enough for either of us and the crispy skin on top was burnt. The capsicum puree was more like a capsicum dip. These issues weren't fatal - the dish was still tasty, but as I now become a Pork Belly veteran it was not in my Top 10. Overall, I think the best thing about the dish was its plating.

The Pumpkin, Spinach and Cheese risotto balls were served in a rich tomato sauce. The sauce was fresh and well seasoned, the risotto balls were crispy and moist. These kinds of dishes are prepared well in advance. A bit of sauce, plate three risotto balls, pop in the commercial microwave and voila! Unfortunately, the biggest let down was the temperature the dish was served at. An easy fix - but something that let down our enjoyment of it.

Now reading back on what I've said here may look harsh but we weren't paying counter meal prices. Pork Belly, and the components of a vegetable Risotto aren't in the realm of expensive produce for restaurants - so we expected more. In a crowded region of cuisine, Sandy Bay restaurants compete for this small population's loyalty. Suffice to say; we weren't won over. 

The Beach House on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Jack Greene

Like most capital cities around Australia, Hobart has no shortage of burger fare. In the immediate CBD vicinity we have 'Devil's Kitchen', 'Burger Got Soul' and plenty of other wonderful little cafes and restaurants offering a protein-packed-pattie between some-kind-of-bread. So why would we possibly need another? Well, the answer is simple - sometimes even in crowded restaurant markets a bit of competition will spark imagination - and in this case Jack Greene is no exception.

As you enter this 'Sherlock Holmes' style bar restaurant and you'll be looking for a place to smoke your pipe or even be wondering if it was Colonel Mustard in the library with a copper pipe. A trendy, hipster-esque place with an impressive beer menu and a delightful selection of regular and mini-burgers. The walls are decked out with wood-paneling, the bars are marble and the burgers are delightful. 

AJ and I shared a Pork Belly and a Smoked Barbecue Chicken burger with some of the crispiest yet pillowy fat chips I've had. There isn't really too much to say about this place other than it'd be a great place for after work drinks, a start for your pub crawl or just to look at some great decor - antlers and all. 

Jack Greene Bar on Urbanspoon