Food in Tasmania - Hobart (Part 1)

Friday, April 03, 2015

Tasmania has bred several quality runners over the years. Having been 'chicked' by a local just two weeks ago (Six Foot Track), I was intrigued. The hills, the food, or both?

I flew down to Hobart just to investigate; armed with fresh legs, an empty stomach and a generous food budget.

Machine Laundry Cafe, Hobart (29 March 2015)

Machine Laundry Cafe, Hobart
Brunch #1 is crammed into the corner of Salamanca Square. Per the name, Machine Laundry Cafe combines a laundromat and cafe. Just like a Thai Ladyboy, this is the Tassie take on functional confusion.

Blackboard specials
Choices are breakfast staples with a twist. Whilst rare to see a non-vegetarian non-burger joint cook a decent lentil pattie, this is the risk I take.

Spiced lentil and vegetable pattie on seeded sourdough - $17
Picture a 150kg man riding a kid's tricycle or alternatively, a sub-40kg woman giving her husband (almost 2x the weight) a piggyback up a flight of stairs. Though the later has happened twice, neither ended in divorce. These images speak to the relativity of a monster pattie to the sourdough. I had to eat fast to rescue the poor bread.

Pickled veggie garnish on top of the lentil pattie
Lucky it tasted excellent. Centre was as warm and silky as mash potato and the sweet kick from candied chillis combined with salty capers kept each mouthful entertaining. In short a well spent $17 remedy for long-run-induced hunger.

With two pancake options, Lorie's next move is laughably predictable.

Parmesan pancakes with pancetta and chiili tomato salsa - $16
A 'bacon-effect' is delivered via pancetta, which avoids making this dish too heavy. Crispy outside but very fluffy inside. Well executed again.

Dunking bite-sized pieces into the chilli salsa ensured full body coverage and helped overcome the dryness of the pancakes.

Pancetta, parmesan and chilli salsa a deadly combination
This brunch spoke serious truths to the premise that Tasmanian's know how to eat. Biggest shame was a satiety level so high I missed out on lunch.

Score summary below.

Food - 8/10 - genuinely delicious dishes with the 'quirks' executed well.
Value - 8/10 - mid teens prices, generous servings. Amazing not to see more local cases of morbid obesity.
Other - 7/10 - very miserable and disengaged waitress. No synergy between washing machines and food, aside from stained pants.
Overall - 8/10 - highly memorable, no regrets.

Machine Laundry Cafe on Urbanspoon

Will I return?
Most likely.

Disclaimer - as the wife washes my pants for free, I didn't actually try the laundry service.

Pigeon Hole Cafe, Hobart (31 March 2015)

Excellent choices of bread
There's always a cafe that plays the 'fresh, locally harvested' card. In Melbourne-like style, Pigeon Hole adds this to a rustic decor and clipboard menu. This place was on the planned food bucket list courtesy of a colleague.

Pigeon Hole clipboard menu

To me, any verbally delivered special is a Pandora's food box. I've never had a puffed quinoa salad with roasted tomato and eggplant.

Puffed quinoa salad with tomato, eggplant and raclette plus baked eggs - $14 + $6
A very delicate dish highlighted by crunchy pops of quinoa scattered amongst some leaves. Tasty, unremarkable and very unsatisfying. Raclette is a fancy soft cheese that I found too overpowering.

Kitchen turned down my poached eggs add-on request, and instead offered me for two baked eggs for an exorbitant $6!

Even with the eggs, I STILL felt this was an entree for an entree. Couldn't enjoy any of my five bites knowing that Farmer Weston's farm is probably a balcony herb garden adjoined to a CBD studio apartment.

Baked beans and raclette on malt & linseed toast with baked eggs - $14 + $6
Baked beans are never easy on the eyes. Nonetheless, beans and bread is a match made in heaven and one this kitchen nailed. 4x the price of Ikea beans on toast, but 5x more tasty. Any vendor that beats Ikea in value for money gets my nod of approval!

Lorie's decision to also add baked eggs is exactly why I married her ... genius.

I can tell the chef lovingly slow cooked fresh tomatoes and the good seasoning came through instantly. The chunkiness helped wrap each bean with flavour and saturate the underlying toast.

Excellent baked bean texture
Having eaten the majority of both dishes, I walked away with mixed emotions.

Food - 7/10 - fail salad (5) but best beans on toast I've ever had (9).
Value - 6/10 - not cheap and I was seriously hurt by such an insulting salad.
Other - 7/10 - great staff, space a little cramped.
Overall - 6.5/ 10 - love the flavours, like the produce, dislike the size of Farmer Weston's garden.

Baking the eggs in the Pigeon Hole kitchen
Will I return?

Produce sourced from Weston Farm

Pigeon Hole on Urbanspoon

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  1. Hi Mike
    Here is the web site of Weston's Farm -
    they specialise in fresh, high quality vegetables - they sell to ALL the high end restaurants in Hobart.
    The also have an olive grove and a peony farm.
    Next time you are in Hobart - plan a visit to see where your vegetables are grown
    best wishes

    1. Thanks Maureen! The produce did taste amazing and we'd love to visit the farm. Real shame the cafe showcased such little of the food on the plate.