Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Point Revolving Restaurant

Literally perched high above every other restaurant in Hobart is the Point Revolving restaurant. It is a great way to dine on a mix of modern australian/french cuisine and take in some of the Hobart landscape from the top floor of Wrest Point Casino. 

Each year AJ's grandparents come and visit us in Hobart and we visit the Point without fail. The service is always excellent with knowledgable and professional waitstaff, sommeliers, etc. 

Just like the restaurant, the menu too revolves - but only with the seasons. 

Tonight I tried three dishes from the 'Table d Hote' menu. Which for just over $80 is a great way to sample some fine dishes. 

Our meal began with an amuse bouche of Cauliflower Pannacotta. A great appetiser with seasoned crumbs to add texture. 

Next, an entree of butter poached chicken with pate, brioche and a sweet gel. The chicken was beautifully tender and moist. 

The pate was rich and with an intricate depth of flavour that was offset by the sweetness and slight acidity of the gel. 

For main - a slow cooked pork shoulder that was cleverly rolled and served with a smoked potato and bacon croquette. The combination of pork shoulder with the creamy croquette was a pleasure to enjoy. The juices combined to make each mouthful simply amazing. Some shaved fennel accompanied these two 'star' elements and helped balance the flavour landscape.

Next came my dessert; the Chocolate Marquise. 

I must say, comparing my dessert with the other dishes on the table (AJ's Meringue Sphere and Grandpa B's Crepe Suzette) I felt a little disappointed. While the dish was enjoyable, it lacked the finesse and flavour of the other desserts. 

That being said, a generous serving of rich chocolate and a quenelle of peppermint ice cream was a great way to finish my meal.

But wait! There's more. Just as we finished, the waiter comes around with what can only be described as a theatrical end to the night - some housemade chocolates that are served dish with white smoke (created with the aid of some dry ice) pouring out onto the table. 

Definitely a restaurant for special occasions, the Point is a favourite among Hobartians for a dining experience that is consistently classy and has a character like no other. 

 P.S. Here are some of the other dishes from the night; AJ's Meringue Sphere, Grandpa B's Crepe Suzette and AJ's Sweet Potato Gnocchi.

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Sunday, 18 November 2012

San Telmo

Birthdays come but once a year and my family usually decide to celebrate at home. The downside to this is my mother is usually left cleaning up and doesn't get to enjoy herself. In my view, this is rather unfair when it in celebration of this particular birthday it wouldn't have happened without her!
So on this weekend AJ and I were over in Melbourne to celebrate my brothers' birthday and San Telmo in the Melbourne CBD was the choice. It is tucked away in a shy little alley, but tastefully decorated throughout. There are smart looking leather booths, animal skins on the walls, a hanging herb garden from the roof, coloured glass bottles - an eclectic but interesting collection of decor to make your meal enjoyable.
The San Telmo menu is a selection of tapas and more substatial fare, but we decided to make things easier for ourselves and just go for the $60/head set menu. It is structured in three course; smaller plates (8), main/side dishes and finally some sweets. There is an impressive wine/cocktail/spirits list and some Argentinian beers also.
So to start; we provided with the following delicious smaller tapas style plates (there were eight in total so I'll describe my favourites)
Empanada - a spicy mix of beef, egg and olive in a golden pastry casing. The pastry was crisp yet light with the filling perfectly seasoned.
Chapa - little diamonds of flat bread served with pickled zucchini. The dish was a great contrast to some of the more 'rich' plates and helped cleanse the palate.
Humita - generous rectangles of crumbed corn and polenta that is shallow fried until golden and served with a chipotle sauce that put hairs on the chest! These little portions were amazing.
Mejilla de Cerdo - pork jowl cooked in apple cider vinegar with little crackling chips throughout. The flavour was amazing, the meat moist and the fat rendered down to the minutae.

On top of these dishes there was; Chorizo, Tira de Asado (beef short rib), a palmheart/pear/jamon/buffalo mozzarella salad and provoleta. These were just as tasty as the others but the real heroes were those I mentioned above.

Next came the 'main' which was a flank steak cooked on the Argentinian-style grill served with crispy roast potatoes, burnt carrots served with goats curd and a salad of lettuce.

The meat was packed with flavour, caramelised by the heat of the charcoal grill, the potatoes crunchy and drizzled with lemon juice, the carrots sweet and crisp.

Finally, with not much room left in our stomachs; a dessert of Merangue (meringue, banana cream, kiwi and candied pecans) and a shortbread biscuit filled with Dulche de leche finished the meal with a sweet note.

San Telmo really impressed; the waitstaff were attentive and knowledgable, the decor was tasteful and most importantly the meal was outstanding. Each dish (perhaps with the exception of the short ribs that were a little tough) was a pleasure to enjoy. The restaurants size makes it great for a big group but the low lighting also would make it a great destination for those dining in smaller numbers.

San Telmo on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Burger Got Soul

A uniquely Tasmanian burger store (with a sister restaurant in Launceston), Hobart's Burger Got Soul offers a great range of tasty burgers that certainly satisfy. Somewhat similar to mainland chain Grill'd they offer diners a choice of Wholemeal, Turkish, White or Gluten Free buns and promote that their burgers use quality ingredients (presumably aimed at those looking for a healthy alternative to some other take away). 

There is a great selection of burgers in different protein categories; the standard beef and chicken but also lamb and veggie burgers. There are also sweet treats around their counters (macarons, brownies, biscuits) and a range of non-alcoholic drinks to accompany  your meal. 

AJ and I sampled their Hawaiian Honey (pictured below) and the Funky Chicken. Both burgers were immaculately prepared; well toasted, succulent chicken, crispy bacon - and all the trimmings were fresh and delicious. 

The wait times can be a little steep (we waited about 25 minutes for our meal) but it was worth it for the flavour packed package that you get in your hot little hands (or take home).

Burger Got Soul on Urbanspoon

Taroona Lounge Bar

Situated along the windy Channel Highway is an open plan restaurant with a beautiful view of the Derwent River; Taroona Lounge Bar. The restaurant is open for both lunch and dinner and offers takeaway pizzas from their wood-fired oven too.

AJ and I decide to try the lunch and pizza menus over two visits. There is a good variety of menu choices; vegetarian, seafood, steak, pasta and of course their wood-fired pizzas. As we were waiting for our table we even noticed a staff member bringing in logs of wood in a wheel barrow. 

For lunch, I tried the prawn, chilli and garlic fettucini and AJ had the tempura battered fish and chips. 

The fish was coated in a perfectly prepared tempura batter - it was wafer thin and a pleasured to enjoy. The tartare that accompanied was also light and flavoursome. 

The fettucini was well cooked, the sauce rich but unfortunately the prawns were cooked just a little too far for my liking. Judging from the menu posted on the restaurants website this dish usually comes with Chorizo and I think that would have saved it for me. 

 On a later visit we tried some of their wood fired pizzas; a pepperoni and a stock-standard hawaiian (except I added prawns to see how they came prepared this time).  

The pizzas came on a light and crisp base that had the smokiness from the oven and just raised the flavour profile of all the toppings. AJ's pepperoni was nice and spicy and there was a good balance of toppings. My hawaiian was excellent; delicately sliced leg ham, juicy prawns (perfect!) and just the right amount of cheese.

Taroona Lounge Bar offers a great spot for locals to catch up and have a drink and either enjoy their delicious pizzas or dine on some gourmet fare. 

The view is excellent and the room is bright and inviting. The prices are fair at around $20-25 for most of the mains and pizzas at around $15. The drinks menu is also quite extensive with a well stocked bar and plenty of wine and spirit choices to please.

Taroona Lounge Bar and Restarunt on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Marmalade Cafe

On the outskirts of the Hobart CBD, just prior to entering North Hobart is a refreshing restaurant cafe whose breakfast creations are something that must be sampled. Marmalade Cafe is located on Elizabeth Street, Hobart. A relaxed outdoor table is a perfect spot to catch up with friends or enjoy your morning coffee prior to the walk into work. The breakfast menu has all the usual breakfast lovers' highlights with some interesting additions.

AJ and I decided to try some of their unique dishes; the Breakfast Burrito and the Crumpets. The burrito is a tortilla wrapped around fluffy scrambled eggs with a relish of chorizo, caramelised onions and tomato. There is also some beetroot puree for added flavour - but it was slightly sweet for my palette. The crumpets come served with a caramelised banana, maple syrup, jam and a dollop of cream. They are crunchy on the outside and perfectly light with each mouthful. 

These dishes paired with some great coffee made Marmalade Cafe a memorable breakfast experience. AJ has already planned her next crumpet feast.

Marmalade Cafe on Urbanspoon

Sweet Envy

The North Hobart strip is home to an eclectic variety of restaurants, cafes, speciality outlets, pubs and bars. In amongst the mix is a beautiful patisserie dubbed 'Sweet Envy'. It is operated by extremely talented and friendly team; Alistair Wise and Teena Kearney. 

Walking into this little shopfront you can immediately view their  amazing wedding and occasion cakes, a range of gourmet flavour ice creams, macarons, biscuits, pastries... it's a sweet tooth's delight!

The range of gateaux, tarts, pies and desserts is ever changing. But there is always something to entice the palette; Banoffi Pies (with rich ganache, caramelised banana and subtle lavender cream), pillowy sugared donuts with delicious jam filling, lychee cakes, cupcakes, macarons, moonpies - the list goes on.

Each dessert is prepared with expert precision - there is little wonder why Mr Wise's Agrarian Kitchen pasty class is a consistent favourite. The flavours, textures and presentation of Sweet Envy's creations will ensure you'll be back for seconds. 

Sweet Envy on Urbanspoon