A Monty for

MONTY’S ON MONT­PE­LIER 37 Mont­pe­lier Re­treat, Bat­tery Point Li­censed/ BYO; Open for din­ner Tues­day to Satur­day 6223 2511

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - TASTE - Graeme Phillips

AF­TER all the hip places and Tex- Mex food of the past few months, it was good for the soul to be com­fort­ably seated in a cosy room, in front of a crack­ling fire with qual­ity cutlery and glass­ware, with quiet jazz in the back­ground and feel that, rather than eat­ing, I was pre­par­ing to dine. And, as it turned out, dine well. Chef Terry Clark and his part­ner Lucy Cham­bers moved from Mel­bourne about a year ago, he from a po­si­tion as ex­ec­u­tive chef at the Na­tional Gallery of Vic­to­ria and Lucy with long front- of- house ex­pe­ri­ence at some of Mel­bourne’s lead­ing es­tab­lish­ments.

Six months ago they bought Monty’s and now of­fer a con­cise a la carte menu of six en­trees and six mains, an eight- course tast­ing menu and what is by far Tas­ma­nia’s most ex­ten­sive se­lec­tion of Euro­pean and Tas­ma­nian cheeses, from which they very sen­si­bly ask you to or­der be­fore your meal so they can be brought to room tem­per­a­ture. But more on the cheeses later. I started with a su­perbly tex­tured and flavoured Jerusalem ar­ti­choke soup, poured at the ta­ble over small dice of pick­led trompette mush­rooms.

With just a whis­per of white truf­fle oil, it was a beau­ti­fully ex­e­cuted ex­am­ple of what can be done with a too- of­ten un­der- ap­pre­ci­ated veg­etable.

Un­for­tu­nately, it’s prob­a­bly al­ready gone from the menu as the sea­sonal ar­ti­chokes have gone from the mar­ket.

Then fol­lowed a loose- tex­tured ter­rine of shred­ded chicken and smoked ham hock, its rich­ness off­set against sweet/ sour pic­calilli, while my wife’s just- cooked scal­lops were a vis­ual and flavour suc­cess in their Mediter­ranean- in­spired com­bi­na­tion of crisped fen­nel and zuc­chini, art­fully ar­ranged around dol­lops of tomato jam and black olive paste.

From the fash­ion­able com­fort- food main course of­fer­ings, in­clud­ing pork belly and black pud­ding, blue eye and prawns, poached salmon with smoked pa­prika and chorizo, I chose the slow- cooked Cape Grim beef cheek nicely paired with Brus­sels sprouts, beetroot and swedes.

Like most other slow- cooked dishes on menus seem­ingly ev­ery­where around town, af­ter 10 hours of gen­tle brais­ing, the meat shred­ded un­der the fork and had lost its gelati­nous tex­ture and lip- stick­ing de­li­cious­ness, the char­ac­ters I find most ap­peal­ing in such meat cuts. But, ac­cord­ing to Clark, most peo­ple don’t.

In any case, what it lacked in rich­ness was made up for by an ex­cel­lent Pe­dro Ximenez sauce, mak­ing it much more palat­able than

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