Sunday, February 08, 2015

Hobart VI

January 16-19, 2015

Another year, another trip to the Mona Foma festival. Sadly, this year saw me flying solo, with Cindy spending the time doing field work up around Falls Creek. Travelling's not quite as fun on your own, so I kept it to a pretty short visit - just squeezing in a long weekend visit to see some great bands and eat as much as possible. We've given Hobart's veggie scene a fairly good shake over the years, but there's always more to discover and I managed to knock off another half a dozen or so places worth documenting here.


Small Fry (3/129 Bathurst Street, Hobart)
I stayed quite close to Small Fry, which opened about six months ago and came highly recommended by our local friend Liz. It's a small space with a relatively brief menu, which is quite meaty. There's nothing obviously vegan, but the menu does note that they're willing to customise most dishes to meet dietary requirements.

I dropped in for a late lunch on Friday arvo, opting to start the weekend with something reasonably healthy: puy lentil, radicchio, fig and goat curd salad with a shallot dressing ($16).

This was all about the figs, which were ripe and sweet and just about perfect. The goats curd and dressing cut through the sweetness a bit and the lentils added texture and earthiness. Small Fry are apparently most famous for their delicious doughnuts, but sadly they were all out when I visited and I didn't get a chance to try again - next year!


Frank (1 Franklin Wharf, Hobart)
For dinner I was in Liz's capable hands, and she suggested meeting up at another Hobart newcomer, Frank. With the restaurant promising an Australian twist on Argentinian barbecue, I wasn't expecting too many vego options, but the menu is surprisingly welcoming - seven veggie sides that can easily be cobbled into a meal. It's a lovely space - down on the waterfront with a beautifully designed dining room that oozes cool. We didn't have a booking but they squeezed us in to some lovely window-side seats and we enjoyed an unhurried feast.

We split four plates: charred sweet potato with goat's curd, muddled almonds, garlic and coriander ($11), a black-eyed pea salad with lime, chilli and onion ($8), a green bean salad with roasted quinoa and queso blanco ($9) and crisp potatoes with salsa criolla ($8).

This was a nice combo of dishes - the sweet potato and crispy potatoes were the stand out, while the beans and black-eyed peas added a bit of bite and freshness. It also left enough room for us to explore the dessert menu. I got in first and ordered the nemesis cake with whisky ice cream and hazelnut and smoked paprika praline ($14). The cake is gooey and loaded with cocoa, but the real highlights are the subtle whisky ice cream and the fascinating smoked paprika praline.

Liz had a more summery sweet dish: passion fruit and mango parfait, white chocolate mousse, coconut shortbread, fresh mango and crisp tuille ($13). I snuck a little taste and was impressed by the fruity freshness.

Frank is an impressive addition to Hobart's booming hospitality scene - it's not really focussing on vegetables, but there's a reasonable selection of savouries and the desserts are top notch. Definitely worth checking out.


Tasman Quartermasters (132 Elizabeth Street, Hobart)
After the first day, my dinners mostly revolved around the festival hub, leaving lunch and breakfast as my chances to explore. On Saturday I kicked things off at Property of: Pilgrim, having the same beany breakfast I had on our last visit. After a good day out at MONA, I came back into town for a late lunch in North Hobart at Tasman Quartermasters. They've replaced the sadly departed Chado with an on-trend burger menu that includes a handful of veggie options. The highlight: the vegan menage a trois, a smoked beetroot, mushroom, pumpkin, rocket and guacamole sandwich ($16). 

It's hard to justify $16 for a sandwich, but this hit the mark nicely - the beets are the star, carrying a good hit of smokiness and a brilliant chewy texture. The sandwich supporting cast was solid, as was the local tap beer they were serving up. The staff are friendly and the vibe is relaxed (at least in the mid afternoon) - it's a good place to stop in if you're looking for vegan food and good booze at lunch.


Farm Gate Market (108 Bathurst Street, Hobart)
Breakfast on Sunday was a return visit to the Farm Gate markets - I won't go into much detail, but my four course brunch was probably the dining highlight of the trip: a blueberry bagel with lemon curd from Bury Me Standing, a vegan burrito with beans, quinoa, capsicum, daikon and ginger cashew aoli from Pacha Mama, a vegan salted dark chocolate cookie from Krumbies and some of the freshest, fattest cherries I've ever tasted. I haven't been back to Salamanca Markets for a while, but Farm Gate (which has moved to a section of Bathurst Street between Elizabeth and Murray) is surely the best food market in town - go go go!


Brat Time (53 Elizabeth Street, Hobart)
I spent most of the morning recovering from that breakfast, but managed to muster up enough energy to wander through the galleries of Salamanca and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, before fuelling up for a night with Shonen Knife and The Clean at Brat Time.

More US-inspired dude-food, Brat Time is a hot dog and beer bar under the mall on Elizabeth Street. The menu is long and involved, but you really only need to focus on the two veggie dogs (both vegan). I skipped the basic veggie dog (veggie sausage, black bean and corn salsa, lettuce and thousand island dressing, $8.90) and went for the volcanic veg (sausage, spicy bean and corn, sauteed onion, jalapeno, guacamole and hot chilli sauce, $9.90).

This was brilliant - great spicy condiments on a decent veggie dog for less than ten bucks. Brat Time is nothing fancy, but sometimes a vegan hot dog and a beer is all you need and you can't go too badly wrong here.


Raspberry Fool (85 Bathurst Street, Hobart)
I had a few hours to spare before the flight back to Melbourne on Monday morning and a reader tip from Kim recommending Raspberry Fool, so my breakfast plans were sorted. Given Kim's enthusiasm, I was surprised how few menu items looked obviously vegan friendly - just the spiced roast cauliflower, white bean puree, pickled carrot and greens toastie ($10). I was tired and hungry, so I didn't quiz them about what else they could do, but there were a few dishes that looked like they'd be veganisable with a few tweaks. I wound up ordering the smashed avocado with chunky herb salsa, soft boiled egg and greens ($16). 

This was a straightforward and successful brekkie dish - generous loads of avo, a good smear of herby spread and some nicely cooked egg. Nothing fancy, but a tasty way to finish up the trip - the coffee fell short of the standards set at Pilgrim, Small Fry and Pigeon Hole, but the staff were friendly, the sweets cabinet looked good and the whole experience highly satisfactory.


Hobart's food and drink scene is booming - I didn't make it to The Winston, Room for a Pony, Burger Haus, The Homestead or Preachers - all new in the past few years I think - or to our old favourites Ethos, Garagistes, Tricycle or Pigeon Hole, let alone the veggie lunch stalwarts Thai Veggie Hutt or Mo Mo. It's a wonderful city - the festival is always great fun, MONA continues to wow and the setting is just spectacular. Stay tuned for another update in 2016.


  1. Holy moly, I don't remember any of these places from the 3.5 years I lived down there! Except for the farmer's markets that is - I still believe they are the best farmer's markets around. The berrieeeessss! And my personal fave, the potato man. I really want to take a trip down for a visit this year, I do miss it so. And it seems I need to go and check out all the lovely eateries!

  2. wow a $16 veggie sandwich, not unusual for Australia but I guess I forget how expensive food is in Australia...

  3. I agree, traveling’s not quite as fun on your own, at least you managed to find some delicious food! ;) Haha $16 for a veggie sandwich?! Very typical in in Australia...

  4. My very apologies for the dud rec! I was disappointed myself as I strolled in for a morning chai and found the formerly scintillating depository of vegan cakes and flirty waiters all been replaced with some sort of generic overpriced cafe type thing. The chai was dull too (the chai at Pigeon Hole was great though, never would have found that place on my own). Sorry for leading you astray!