Hot new eatery
HOW do you like your steakhouse done? Astor Grill? Ball and Chain? Rockwall? Or Roaring Grill, which opened a month ago where Onba used to be, opposite the Republic in North Hobart?
Owner Tony Kent has added considerably to Onba’s seating capacity while retaining the restaurant’s modern, clean lines, the open kitchen and bar and the scattering of comfortable downstairs and upstairs lounges for coffee, cocktails and a snack.
There’s also now a first- floor deck which should prove a very attractive al fresco option in summer.
And, apart from oysters, seafood chowder, three salads and a small choice of vegetables accompaniments, the menu is protein all the way, featuring house- made sausages, ribs and wings, the day’s fish, grass- fed and wagyu steaks, glazed pork ribs, lamb cutlets and slow- cooked Greek- style lamb shoulder, burgers and fl ame- grilled meat skewers.
Should a vegetarian wander in by mistake, the good news is that the salads are excellent.
The bad news is that the limp chips aren’t, although they do come to the table nicely presented in miniature deep- frying baskets.
However, after Kent phoned later in the week asking for feedback, I received an email from chef Brendon Walter saying the problem had been fi xed.
“I’m just writing to let you know we have rectifi ed this problem by doing triple- cooked chips ( fi rst we steam the chips to bring the starch out, then we fry the chips at a low temperature to set the starch, fi nally we fry the chips at a high temperature to make sure they are crispy).’’
So that’s good. But the chips were the only complaint any of we four had on the night.
Much better were the cumin- fl avoured sausages with confi t onions, the slow- cooked, sweet and sticky glazed pork ribs and the lamb cutlets with a mint raita, each variously accompanied by potato puree, a refreshing apple, pear, walnut and iceberg salad or seasonal vegetables.
The steaks, from Smithton in the North West, came perfectly cooked as ordered, the eye fillet with a mixed peppercorn sauce on the side, the juicy rib eye on the bone with plentiful, perhaps too much, English mustard and horseradish. They say Thomas Keen ( founder of the pantry- staple Keen’s Mustard) made his fortune from the mustard left on the plate. If so, then he certainly made a few extra bob that night.
At the next table, two ladies were obviously enjoying pulling the meat from a shared, fall- apart lamb shoulder with their forks.
The wine list offers good variety and some older vintages at a wide range of prices, with
eight reds and five whites by the glass, and there are plenty of beers and ciders to choose from plus a well- stocked bar.
So it was all good and is already proving a popular addition to the bustling, multicultural North Hobart scene.
Entrees $ 14-$ 22; salads $ 9; sausages $ 25; BBQ ribs $ 28; steaks $ 28-$ 44; wagyu $ 44-$ 70; lamb shoulder ( for two) $ 70; blackboard desserts.