A moveable feast
CRYSTAL- BALLERS predicted 2013 to be a year of big changes. And as far as the Hobart restaurant scene is concerned, their predictions are proving to be spot on.
As previously reported, All Thai has opened a second venue, Room 333, where Solicit used to be in North Hobart; Written on Tea has done the same at 127 Bathurst St, Mai Ake Thai has changed hands with the previous owner turning Blue Skies into Mai Ake Asian Cuisine; and Piccolo is due shortly to reopen in a new guise.
And, after being vacant for a long time, Nabe Hashi, specialising in Japanese hot pots, has opened where Francisco’s used to be in Hampden Rd, Battery Point.
In addition, North Hobart and pizza pioneer, Marti Zucco, has sold Segreto and is looking forward either to a life in Federal Parliament or retirement, and in Salamanca, Jan and Tom Otte have sold ZUM to the owners of The Quarry next door, in the process thanking their staff and customers who have so loyally supported them over their 21 years of trading.
Stuart Addison, who is fast becoming known as the “blow torch chef”, has taken over Chado- The Way of Tea in Elizabeth St to open as a hamburger/ wine bar while, building on their phenomenal success at Crumb Street Kitchen, Sian King and Zac Shearer have set up a second outlet in Devonport and, in the New Year, will open another upstairs at 37a Elizabeth St in the Mall.
Castray Esplanade Cafe is for sale, as is Garagistes. That gap at the top of the market, however, could be more than adequately filled should Peppermint Bay head chef David Moyle ever decide to return to town.
And I say “more than adequately”, for an excellent recent lunch at The Stackings included what for me, if not for my wife, was one of the most creative and enjoyable dishes of the year – a sea urchin salad complemented by a deliciously savoury egg and dashi custard of a style known in Japan as chawanmushi, which translates as “steamed in a tea bowl”.
But instead of a tea bowl, Moyle, in this case, had steamed the custard in the shell of the urchin so that it cupped the salad of wonderfully fat, golden urchin roes and assorted sea greens inside.
Cleverly conceived, perfectly composed and executed, it was a dish of ultra delicacy and refi nement, foregoing superfluous tizz for a subtle play of textures and flavours, with everything on the plate contributing beautifully to the whole.
It was no doubt dishes like this that last week won The Stackings the award as
Gourmet Traveller’s Regional Restaurant of the Year.
So, while still overseeing things at Peppermint Bay, Moyle’s move to the city would be very welcomed.
And, these days, when everyone is a blogging/ tweeting food and wine critic, from England comes a cautionary tale.
As reported by the British press, Oscar’s,
in Brixham, Devon, first appeared on the TripAdvisor website last May.
After glowing reviews for its “mind- blowing”, “simply divine”, “perfect” and “amazing” culinary creations, by late July it had climbed above 37 other establishments in TripAdvisor’s rankings. Only trouble was, Oscar’s never existed. The restaurant and “reviews” were faked. This is an example of why anonymous reviews of establishments, both positive and negative, are causing worrying disquiet for quite a few restaurants here.