Fresh food with­out fuss

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - TASTE - Graeme Phillips

THIS is the lat­est ven­ture of Karen Good­win-Roberts and Michael Roberts from Taste Cafe and Ca­ter­ing in Ho­bart’s Baha’i Cen­tre. Opened just be­fore Christ­mas, the cafe pro­vides a small, sim­ple and at­trac­tively fur­nished and sunny alternative to the of­ten over- crowded scene along Sala­manca.

But the real at­trac­tion is Good­win- Roberts’ food and her use of fresh, sea­sonal in­gre­di­ents cooked well and pre­sented with­out any fash­ion­able fussi­ness or gim­mickry.

She makes al­most ev­ery­thing in house – from breads, pasta and pick­led pears to break­ing down Berk­shire pigs for her hams and sausages.

And what she doesn’t do her­self, she sources from some of the best lo­cal pro­duc­ers who are duly listed and ac­knowl­edged on the menu’s re­verse side.

From a break­fast menu of as­sorted bread, bran, yo­ghurt and egg dishes, I re­cently en­joyed her ex­cel­lent, gluten- free black pud­ding with smoked to­ma­toes, as­para­gus and poached egg as well as a lovely savoury, Span­ish- style to­mato, cap­sicum, onion and potato braise topped with baked eggs and a gar­lic ai­oli.

The lunch menu con­sists of a big se­lec­tion of char­cu­terie, cheese and sal­ads and seven mains, run­ning from pump­kin and zuc­chini gnoc­chi to scal­lops, confi t turkey liv­ers with wal­nuts and pick­led pears, Ryland lamb with peas and minted yo­ghurt, a pork burger, beef cheek with black cherry syrup pie and, my choice, a de­li­ciously rich, twice- cooked beef rib with mush­rooms and wasabi sour cream. Then there are six lus­cious sound­ing desserts. Each dish on the lunch menu, in­clud­ing the desserts, is ac­com­pa­nied by a sug­gested wine se­lected by Michael from what is one of the most di­verse, in­ter­est­ing and well- priced cafe wine lists in town.

With 17 Tas­ma­nian, main­land, Ital­ian and Span­ish wines by the glass at be­tween $ 6.50 and $ 10.50 ( for the 2008 Ap­s­ley Gorge Pinot Noir Saignee) and most bot­tle prices be­low $ 50, it refl ects Karen’s menus in be­ing pleas­ingly and in­tel­li­gently com­piled to suit ev­ery taste and ev­ery pocket.

Prices: Break­fasts $ 3.50 to $ 15; lunch sal­ads etc $ 7 to $ 15; mains $ 16, desserts $ 6.50 and $ 8.50.

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