Sunday, 28 October 2012

Machine Laundry Cafe

Tucked away in the rear corner of Salamanca is a special little cafe where you can even throw on a load of washing.

Machine Cafe's uniqueness doesn't stop there with its retro fit out, refreshing menu and relaxed atmosphere. Laminex tables and vinyl bench seating add a little authenticity. The menu also boasts a range of departures from the standard breakfast fare.

 AJ and I decided to test out the Hotcakes; a mixture of ricotta and pumpkin that were beautifully spiced with cinnamon, topped with a sweet caramel and candied walnuts.

We also sampled the 'new old' eggs; fluffy scrambled eggs with fetta, beetroot puree, garlic sourdough and some extras of haloumi and mushrooms.

Both dishes were executed to perfection. Feather-like hotcakes, delicious eggs, crunchy crusted sourdough accompanied with some great coffee made our visit to Machine a great Sunday breakfast.

Machine Laundry Cafe on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Ball & Chain Grill

 "Go to the Ball & Chain" is probably one of the most common restaurant recommendations by Hobartians. Only 4 or so years ago when I took up residence in this State people would say "Have you been yet?". Well, AJ and I have probably been close to ten times now. There is no argument that they cook excellent steaks - they are probably one of the only restaurants cooking on a charcoal only grill. 

The lighting is generally intimate and there are plenty of different seating options of booth and table seating. The rear lower floor is a glass enclosed room (which is bright during the day) which can tend to be a little noisy. Ordering from is quite simple; they have various cuts of beef; rump, porterhouse, scotch, eye fillet in three different sizes cooked to your liking, which you can then combine with your choice of sauce. You also have access to the wide array of salads and garnishes from the salad bar.  

However, if you aren't in the mood for steak there are also a variety of sausages, kebabs, chicken and fish if you want to try something different. AJ rather enjoys the Greek Kebab when not dining on a steak. 

On this evening we also ordered off the dessert menu which is a rotating selection of decadent treats. AJ had the peanut butter pie - drizzled with chocolate, a scoop of ice cream and some marshmallows. 

Despite being rather full from my giant rump steak (pictured above), I was instructed by AJ to try the Chocolate pudding. It was generally moist and quite rich but a little dry towards the centre. Luckily a lashing of double cream and some ice cream made up for any of those shortcomings.

There is a reason Hobartians tend to suggest the Ball & Chain - it is a genuinely family friendly restaurant whose Chefs know its grill like the back of their hand. The wine list is also quite reasonably price and has plenty of reds to pair with your steak.

Ball & Chain Grill on Urbanspoon


Amongst the labyrinth of Battery Point is the cosy cafe style restaurant Environs. A bright, clean and modern outfit with interesting art decorating the walls and menus. Usually, Environs has been the breakfast choice for AJ and I. However, today we were interesting to taste their lunch menu. 

A choice selection of Tasmanian white and red wines, beers and even some chilli ginger beer are available. Of course, there are the usual coffees, teas, milkshakes and juices that any self-respecting cafe simply must offer. However, one particularly tasty beverage is the 'Chocolate Cake Shake'.

Having had some great breakfast experiences here in the past (their Cottage Green (sardines & poached eggs w rocket), Hash Brown Butty and their Savoury Breakfast) we were excited to try the Wagyu Beef Burger and the Chilli Bean Boat.

The Wagyu burger comes in either breakfast style (with an egg and tomato chutney) or lunch style (with beetroot and green tomato pickle). I opted for the breakfast style. The bun was a soft damper style that mopped up the meat juices and soft flowing yolk with ease. The wagyu patty was a little tall but nothing a little knife work didn't solve. A great tasting burger complimented with a sweet chutney and swiss-style cheese. 

The Chilli Bean Boat was a generous serving of white and cannellini beans in a spiced tomato sauce. There were springs of rosemary and tiny slices of chilli throughout. These beans were served in a similar damper style roll that was filled with a beautiful cheese. Atop this mountain of food were some ripe avocado slices. The rosemary was a little overpowering and detracted from the spiced sauce. But aside from that the dish was tasty nonetheless. 

While the lunch menu was not as impressive as our breakfast experiences, we'll definitely be back to sample some of the other treats such as an interesting sounding duck and orange risotto. 

Be sure to call ahead because it can be a difficult place to get into on the weekends!

Environs on Urbanspoon

Friday, 19 October 2012

Red Red

If you've read through any Tasmanian newspaper in the past year, it is clear that small businesses are doing it tough. In spite of this, comes along yet another steak house. What could possibly be different about this place? The answer: the best baby back ribs this blogger's consumed and a huge range of delicious unpretentious menu offerings that would make any carnivore happy. 

Red Red opened its doors only recently (probably a fortnight ago) and is a small diner-style restaurant with plush red booth style seating inside and some al fresco cafe dining outside. They offer a breakfast, lunch and dinner service but tonight we were on a mission for some ribs. The menu offers a diverse range of steaks prepared in different styles. A quality wine list and some space age looking sparkling water that I wanted to take home with me.

On to the food; AJ, Mr T and I ordered the 1kg Baby Backs which came served with a red slaw, crunchy fries and a sweet dipping sauce. Their price tag is a little confronting (@ $52/main) but there is also the 500g version available which is more than enough. The ribs with just the slightest effort pulled out of the succulent and flavour-packed pork. They were tender yet had just the right amount of searing to give a contrast of texture. 

Sure enough, AJ twisted Mr T and I's arms into ordering some desserts also; the 'Mmm Pie', the Chocolate Mousse and a slice of Baked Cheesecake. The pie was a round pastry case filled with delicious stewed apple. This was served with some dehydrated strawberries, a scoop of rich vanilla bean ice cream and some custard. The mousse; Two generous quenelles of rich, yet light chocolate mousse paired with crushed honeycomb and ice cream. The  cheesecake was a great example of one of my tried and true favourite restaurant desserts with the addition of some more of that beautiful ice cream.

At the end of our meal owner/operator Craig came and chatted to us; the friendly staff really make this new addition a delight to dine at. With a broad variety of menu options, a decent wine list and some of the nicest restaurant booths this blogger's ever had the benefit of being seated — you'll be eating and drinking into the wee hours in comfort. 

Red Red Grill on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Remi de Provence

Situated on Macquarie Street is a beautiful old building that is home to Remi De Provence, the home of French wines and cuisine. Tonight AJ and I were in the mood to celebrate the end of my exams.

As you enter the restaurant you can choose from the wide variety of French imports and some quality Australian varietals. Our meals are enjoyed in an intimate dining room with large mirrors and a colourful mural decorating the walls.
Our waiter comes to take our order and provides us a tasty appetizer of french cous cous, red onion, sweet corn and lamb.

Shortly after comes our french charcuterie. Rilletes, pate, terrine, gherkin, french salami - all amazing in texture and flavour. A perfect marriage of richness and seasoning.

Our mains are then presented; the Coq Au Vin - rooster with creamy pomme puree, a
dark jus, bacon, onions. The jus was rich and had an excellent depth of flavour, the meat of the rooster was moist and delicate.

The Cassoulet was the other main we shared. A mixture of white bean, sausage, pork belly topped with bread crumbs and a confit duck leg. Every element of this dish was outstanding; the duck leg had crispy, salted and seasoned skin with moist meat. The pork belly and sausage had taken on the flavour of the tomatos and herbs.

After those two amazing dishes we were looking forward to the dessert offerings. We chose the french standard Creme Brulee and the Profiteroles. 

The Creme Brulee was silky and rich with vanilla bean throughout. The perfect 'crack' and caramelisation made the dessert a delight
to devour. 

The profiteroles were light and filled with a praline ice cream and drizzled with chocolate. A few candied hazelnuts were dotted on the plate and added a great textural element to the dish.

At the end of that epic meal we were on the verge of exploding - a lot of food but too perfectly prepared to leave uneaten. The skills of Chef Remi and his team are something that just must be experienced.

Remi de Provence on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 13 October 2012


Whether it is for weekend breakfast or a catch up coffee, you'll be sure to find both locals and tourists populating the Salamanca cafe scene each weekend. 

Zum Cafe/Restaurant is one popular venue serving breakfast lunch and dinner, plenty of seating and a variety of meals. The cafe is located closer the Supreme Court side of Salamanca and is a narrow but long shape with a mixture of natural and artificial light (compliments of some pretty funky looking lampshades) 

AJ and I decided to head to Zum for breakfast. Reading some of the other reviews out on the 'inter-webs' I must admit I was curious to see what was on offer. The breakfast menu was packed with a range of eggs, french toast, muesli and pastries. They even have a 'breakfast burrito' and a 'breakfast trifle'. Being rather boring today we decided to try the 'Ricotta Hot cakes' and the 'Zum Big Breakfast'. 

The hot cakes were served with berry compote, halved strawberries and orange slices. The ricotta hot cakes were light and fluffy. The dollop of rich King Island creme took away the somewhat 'tart' taste of the berries (which were probably a few weeks from being truly in season). The maple syrup tied the whole dish up together and it was a well balanced dish that was creatively plated. 

The big breakfast was just as a 'big breakfast' should be. Plenty of food on the plate; crispy bacon and beautifully seasoned grilled tomatoes and mushrooms. The scrambled eggs were somewhat bland but nothing a bit of seasoning couldn't fix. They weren't the fluffy, creamy type of scrambled eggs I'd prefer but that didn't detract from the enjoyment of the dish. The lamb and rosemary sausage I must admit didn't appeal to me, but the rosti (which was an optional extra) was delicious and was a delicate pillow of soft potato, crunchy outside and seasoned with dill. 

Overall the meals were pretty good and I think we'll be back to tackle the more adventurous menu choices. A burrito perhaps?

Zum Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Friday, 12 October 2012

Dumpling World

On the corner of Argyle and Liverpool streets you will find a favourite eatery of many Hobartians. Each day I walked past this corner shop I'd see a consistent following; office workers, hospital staff, a diverse crowd all sharing a passion for quality Asian takeaway. 

So, wanting to be fair and give an accurate portrayal of what Dumpling World has on offer; I decided that I'd go there every 'second' lunch break (just so I didn't sick of their meals) and tried something different off the menu. 

Here is what I came up with; Honey Barbecue Pork on rice, Braised Oyster Beef with vegetables, Pork Stir Fry Noodles, Potato Prawns, Char Siu Bao, Shao Mai, Steamed Custard Bun, Fried Wontons, Egg Fried Rice, Steamed Shrimp Dumplings, Pan fried dumplings. I must admit I avoided sampling soups and laksas just because I'm not a 'soup'-type.

The yum cha options (Char Siu Bao, etc.) are all expertly prepared. Generous in size and filled with quality ingredients. Behind the bain-marie you can spot the kitchen staff folding new dumplings and preparing the next days creations. My favourites would have to be the Shao Mai and the potato-wrapped prawns. However, the latter can be a little underdone in the 'potato section'. That being said, I'm happy to sacrifice crispiness if an overdone prawn is going to be the price. 

The main style dishes are all quite tasty. However, those with meat can tend to be on the oily side. Visiting outside the 'lunchtime rush' window appears to present a healthier serving. All in all, the char sui pork in the honey pork rice is tender and flavoursome; the oyster beef stir fry is full of fresh vegetables and flavour and the fried rice with egg is a good mix of clean flavours.

With many items between $9-15 you really can't go wrong; so next time you're in the Hobart CBD give Dumpling World a try on your next lunch/dinner break. 

Dumpling World on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Henry Jones Art Hotel

To those unfamiliar with Hobart, Constitution Dock is often the backdrop for many a weather update or the location most TV reporters choose for their 'Today in Hobart..' story. On the one side you have Salamanca and the bustling strip of restaurants and cafes that it is renowned for. On the opposite side you have the Henry Jones IXL Building, a few art galleries and few choice restaurants. 

Well tonight we thought we'd give the Henry Jones Art Hotel a try. Their boutique 5 star accommodation was not on the cards, however, their in-house restaurant was. The restaurant is mixture of dark woods, white marble, red walls and draped linen ceilings. Soft acoustic guitar plays over the sound system and the lighting is soft. 

To start our evening we sampled the Amuse Bouche; a carrot cream with a sprikle of cumin and a modern take on Char Sui Bao (or 'Steamed Pork Bun'). The succulent pork came sandwiched between a roti-like bun with a garnish of coriander and thinly sliced cucumber. These would be the perfect canapé at a function and would match a dry sparkling or a wheat beer.
We decided to head straight to the mains and ordered one item from the Henry Jones 'Classics' menu and one from the 'Evolution' menu. The latter being dishes that have Tasmanian produce with a modern fusion twist. AJ opted for the Slow cooked beef short rib; served with fondant potatoes, sugar snap peas, speck, onion and a chorizo sauce. I chose the Duck; a portion of confit duck leg served with parsnip puree and a duck breast cooked medium thinly sliced served with pine nuts and date puree. The leg was beautifully rich and had been caramelised just before plating. The thin slices of duck breast had crispy (albeit slightly salty) skin and were well paired with the date puree. AJ's slow cooked beef short rib fell apart with a slight tap of the fork and the accompanying vegetables were well seasoned. 

On to dessert! Again the dessert menu follows the Classics/Evolutions dichotomy. AJ chose the 'Chocolate' and I chose the 'Milk Tart'. The Chocolate - a generous quenelle of chocolate chantilly on a bed of chocolate dust; a cigar-like chocolate and blood orange semifreddo, a spiced white chocolate puree, honeycomb crumble and macerated strawberries. The Milk tart - a slice of rich milk tart that was smooth and slightly custard-like; a scoop of strawberry sorbet, berry foam, dehydrated strawberries and biscuit crumb. 

It is a restaurant with an intimate ambience and a selection of menu offerings to please. Over the night I noticed that the waitstaff at Henry Jones know their food quite well - recalling each element of the dish like they prepared it themselves. The service was excellent and the menu full of many quality options that made it very difficult to decide what to order! Having only ordered some of what we thought would be worth trying we'll be back soon.
Henry's Harbourside (Henry Jones Art Hotel) on Urbanspoon