Location sells at the Pier
PIER ONE RESTAURANT AND BAR Wrest Point, 410 Sandy Bay Rd, Sandy Bay. Licensed. Open daily 11am to late. 6221 1622
WITH chefs Hugh Whitehouse at Saffire and Andre Kropp at the Henry Jones, the Federal Group has considerably lifted and modernised its culinary offerings.
Even in recent years at the Point, chef Kent Sullivan has managed to introduce more contemporary dishes to a menu featuring such retro standbys as flambé prawns, steak dianes and crepe suzettes cooked and served with appropriate 1970s flame and flair at your table.
But it seems that such improvements have failed to trickle downstairs to the menu and cooking in Pier One where, even allowing for the fact it’s servicing a very different clientele to the Point, there’s long been a feeling of institutionalised catering in both the service and the food.
Kate Chessor ... has put together a much more interesting wine list, one with a commendable Tasmanian bias
Which I’ve always thought was a shame. Given its attractive lounge bar, a private dining room, a waterfront deck and fabulous location, Pier One could be, should be, ought to be one of the most exciting and popular casual eateries in the city.
Instead, it seems caught in a time warp, almost as if nobody involved has bothered to look upstream to see what culinary changes the city has experienced over the past decade.
Which might account for the fact there were only two other tables of two on the Thursday night of our visit.
It was so quiet we could clearly hear the chefs joking in the kitchen until our very obliging waitress, Emma, told them to tone it down.
An entrée of mini blini with smoked salmon came with stale, chewy blini carrying none of the menu’s stated horseradish flavour, the “candied fennel” accompaniment was missing and the whole was so dry I had to ask for a bowl of sour cream to moisten each mouthful.
My wife’s entrée was a seafood chowder that wasn’t – simply pieces of assorted seafood in a thin, unthickened seafood broth. Tasty enough, but why call it a chowder?
Much the same could be said of the “mushroom sauce” on a veal cutlet which turned out to be a pile of sautéed mushroom slices on top of the cutlet sitting in a puddle of indifferent stock.
And I won’t mention the accompanying pubgrub slaw.
And the tarte tatin dessert? The only tarte tatin I’ve seen in my life without even the slightest smidgin of caramelised apple.
But, the good news. The amount of seafood in the “chowder” was generous; the veal cutlet was nicely medium rare as requested; and my wife’s blue eye market fish was, she said, beautifully cooked and delicious.
The better news is Kate Chessor, formerly manager/ sommelier at Blue Skies, has put together a much more interesting wine list, one with a commendable Tasmanian bias supported by mainland and international options and, while still not cheap, all at more accessible prices than I remember previously.
The even better news is the talented and very professional Andre Kropp from Henry Jones has been appointed Wrest Point’s executive chef after the departure of the previous occupant.
With Pier One due to introduce a new menu later this month, it should give Kropp time to bring both the menu descriptions and the food up to scratch.
For Wrest Point’s, Hobart’s, Tasmania’s and all our sakes, here’s hoping.
Pizza $ 24-$ 30; Entrees $ 18-$ 23; Mains $ 24$ 38; Desserts $ 12.