Green and lean
WALKING up Collins St recently, a shop had a display sign reading “Tasmania is hot ... and so are we. So come on in”. I didn’t, but, with MONA, TMAG, the recent plethora of accommodation, restaurant and travel accolades and our wines a few weeks ago winning trophies and golds at two prestigious London wine competitions, they’re right about Tasmania.
However, it’s not just the MONAs, Saffires and top- end restaurants doing us proud. There has also been an exciting lift in recent times in the quality and diversity at the cafe and takeaway ends of the city’s food spectrum.
Just over a year ago, Daci and Daci brought the best European- style coffee house/ patisserie delicacies to Hobart.
At Christmas time, Crumb Street Kitchen opened to a phenomenal response.
More recently I’ve written about Taco Taco’s and Rin’s excellent Mexican and Japanese fare, the quality of everything at Raspberry Fool and the delightful freshness and creativity of the food at The Duchess Cafe, in Sandy Bay.
Then I found common old salt and pepper squid lifted to new heights of crisp, tender and quite wonderful lingering savouriness at the small, nondescript Touch of Asia, in Sandy Bay. And I’m told their other non- bain- marie dishes, such as stuffed chicken wings, are just as good.
Also, we will soon have an up- market, “gourmet” sandwich bar in the CBD. Then there’s Mint, which has brought a whole new meaning to fresh, flavoursome, on- the- go lunching and snacking to the Mall.
Sister/ owners, Hazel and Renella Chow, were born in Zambia of a Malaysian Chinese father and Zambian mother, were sent to study at university in Sydney, moved to Tasmania where they set up the By Ruby macaroon wholesale business three years ago and opened Mint serving South- East Asian food in April.
“If you think that’s a mixed- up story, wait until you see the mixed- up colours of we five kids,” Hazell said with a laugh. And the name of their eatery says it all. It’s fast to- go food with queues at lunchtime for beef pho the stock for which they make from scratch a range of seven fabulously plump and fresh rice paper rolls, warm rice noodle salads and banh mi ( baguettes) variously filled and flavoured with satay chicken and toasted coconut; Char Sui pork and sesame, lemongrass beef and chicken, prawn with pickled carrot, soy and herb- cured salmon sashimi and sautéed tofu and shiitake.
Plus hoi sin, sesame mayo and two versions of Thai chilli and lime dipping sauces.
Hazel says they use no MSG, tenderisers or preservatives. Delicious. And they’re now taking online orders at the web address above.
Rice paper rolls $ 3.50; pho $ 8.50; baguettes $ 7.50; noodle salads $ 9; and a fresh young coconut cocktail $ 4.50