Food, glorious food
I F you’ve been hanging out for buutz, khuushuur, giomontoi hourga and Chinggis rice, then take a trip to Devonport where Little Asia is, to the best of my knowledge, the only restaurant in the state serving Mongolian food.
The delightful owner, Mongolian- born Jackie Norovsambuu, says what she cooks is the robust, everyday food she grew up with and, in her generous portions and fl avours, you can understand how it fuelled Genghis Khan and his hordes as they swept out of the steppes to conquer much of China and Eastern Europe.
In the recently opened La Lucha, Devonport also has Tasmania’s most enjoyable Mexican restaurant.
You can sip your choice of mescals or Spanish and South American beers, wines and other spirits at the bar among Dia de Los Meurtos murals and bull- fighting posters before sitting down to a variety of authentic red, yellow and black Mexican moles spicing tacos, pork carnitas and beef ribs with nary a nacho in sight.
While their soft taco shells are not as tastily corn- flavoured as those from Hobart’s Taco Taco van and the moles need a bit of a boost from the accompanying bowls of fresh chilli-spiced sauces, the cooking and the cantina-like atmosphere are very good.
Former alderman and restaurateur, Eric Hayes, brought the fi rst espresso machine to Tasmania in 1956, paying £ 950 for it at a time when a new Holden cost £ 750.
Until then, according to Eric, coffee in Hobart was “a cup of luke- warm milk with a teaspoon of Turban essence stirred through”.
That same year, now as an agent for Gaggia, he sold a machine to the newly opened Pierre’s in Launceston.
It’s taken a while, but Launceston coffee lovers have never had it so good, with more and more cafes joining well- established places such as Cocobean and Cropline in getting serious about their beans and baristas.
Among the newer ones in the CBD, the cool, modern Inside Cafe on Patterson St does a good cup while Amelia Espresso in George St offers excellent breakfast heart- starters and coffee with BYO lunch.
But true afi cionados might head for the cluttered, hole- in- the- wall Coffee Republic in the Brisbane St Mall, where it’s all about the bean and nothing but the bean.
Be it single origin, highland, lowland, Ethiopian, Guatamalan, Kenyan or from some specialist San Salvadorian fi nca, they roast the beans on site and the results are exceptional, particularly a very rare something they were recently selling – or at least offering – at $ 12.50 a shot.
Readers might also recall the good coffees the Coffee Republic gang did in the shed at Dark MOFO.
The other good news from Launceston is that owner/ chef Don Cameron is lifting Mud Bar to new heights, slowly introducing some of his signature Asian- inspired creations into the menu.
And, after my very disappointing last visit, it’s good to see Stillwater once again back to its best and deserving of its reputation and that Davies Grand Central is celebrating 20 years with more than 1000 Tasmanian wine and food items on it shelves.