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.