It’s time,” Whitlam and the walrus said. And it’s time for me, too. Time to leave behind the tyranny of deadlines. Time to dine for pleasure, not for work. And time to hand over to someone younger who is part of today’s Twitter-and-instant-food-blog generation, who knows the makings of a negroni and is happy with the Americana invasion of sliders, po-boys, cocktails and slow-cooked and pulled everything.
I’ve had a fun run and it’s been exciting to have witnessed the increasing internationalisation and democratisation of Tasmania’s culinary scene and the quite dramatic changes in food fashions over my years of reviewing.
Twenty or even just 10 years ago, it was easier to get a poor coffee or a bad meal in Hobart than it was good ones. In recent years, that’s been reversed. It’s a cliche and I’ve said it before but, in terms of both variety and quality, we’ve never had it as good as we do now.
While the old stayers are as good as they’ve ever been, it’s the newer establishments – the farmers’ markets, pop-ups and laneway cafes – combined with Hobart’s more adventurous and knowledgeable palate, that have been responsible for the excellence and vibrancy of the current scene.
It’s great to see and I thank the Mercury for the opportunity they have given me to chronicle it. And my special thanks to my various bosses along the way – they know who they are – for their guidance, unfailing support and tolerance. And, of course, my sincere thanks to my readers.
Clockwise from above, a taste of how far Tasmania has come in variety and quality: Dark Mofo Winter Feast; lemongrass cream, praline and candied rice at Ethos; prawn toast, herb, nuoc cham at Miss Jane; the goats’ cheese and beetroot tart from Little Missy Patisserie and Coffee House; carrot, ginger and coconut soup at Stone & Barrow; Rude Boy at North Hobart; and pulled pork three ways at The Texas Pantry.