Mercury (Hobart) - Magazine - - Up Front -

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.

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