Monday, January 28, 2013

Ethos Eat Drink

January 17, 2013

From Hobart's Elizabeth St you can glimpse Ethos Eat Drink's cute courtyard through a passageway. Sometimes there's a menu on display, sometimes not. Last year we noticed the restaurant but didn't visit - the dinner menu looked expensive and not especially veg-friendly, and we couldn't attract any service at breakfast time. This year our local friend-in-the-know Liz offered to book us in for a banquet so we figured we'd give it a shot.

The Ethos ethos is all about minimising impact - they've fitted out a historic building with salvaged and recycled accoutrements and an energy-efficient kitchen; they concentrate on local consumables.

I particularly appreciated the substantive menu of non-alcoholic drinks, which included house-made lemonade, cola, ginger beer and other cordials ($4-5.50 per glass). The elderflower and lilly pilly drinks were both light, sweet and refreshing.

We got started with crusty bread, butter (for the non-vegans) and salt.

The olives and cornichons were cute and not too briny, though perhaps upstaged by the crunchy-fried chilli-salted chickpeas.

Tempura spring onions looked a little bedraggled and were hard to share, but the crunchy gluten-free batter won me over.

Of their three ways with zucchini, I most liked the caramelised (roasted?) one.

The green salad included more purslane, and a surprising dose of salt.

Us vegetarians were served haloumi, and we were compelled to share some of it with the envious omnivores across the table.

Beans came scattered with more salty hard cheese.

The sriracha-dressed gai lan might have been our favourite dish, so fragrant and spicy.

The vegetarian savoury dishes culminated in a perplexing mix of tender carrots in a tea-infused butter, scattered with nori and walnuts.

For dessert we shared blueberry sorbet, stewed rhubarb and fresh berries, covered in a silky, warmly spiced pepper leaf custard.

We had little sense of the meal's structure in advance but happily grazed for several hours. Staff were cheerful and very accommodating, planning a feast to suit a mixed group of omnivores, vegetarians and vegans plus an overstimulated baby. (There was plenty of room for the little one's pram, high-chair and other gear too.) I liked the atmosphere - it's a little fancy but not at all stuffy.

Though the level of expense and locovore sensibility are comparable to Garagistes, our Ethos experience was very different. It seemed a place to laugh and spill a little wine with friends, rather than guffaw over the modern art plated before you. Nevertheless, veg*ns and others with special dietary requirements are probably best off shelving the spontaneity, making a reservation and giving the kitchen their best chance to feed everyone well.


Ethos Eat Drink
100 Elizabeth St, Hobart
6231 1165
veg banquet $65pp

Accessibility: Looks great to my eyes - flat all the way through with relatively spacious tables and full table service. There's a disability-access toilet (although it's towards the back and they've crammed a table too close to it) and all toilets are unisex.

Sculpture at MONA FOMA wharf

The joyous Mahmoud Ahmed & co.

We were too old for Death Grips.


  1. hi cindy me again! Im really enjoying your posts about my home town! We have eaten here several times and in the early days found it very patchy. Food trying too hard and indifferent service. They are trying to be like garagistes and not pulling it off. Actually next door to garagistes the west end pumphouse is doing some of the best food in Hobart. Them and smolt are my faves. The chef Scott at smolt is the best chef in Hobart I think.

    1. Hey Anonymous, my partner and I have eaten at Ethos a few times since it opened, and it's much, much improved. It used to be more miss than hit, but as one of the omnivorous members of this dining party, I was really impressed by our meal and the service we received during the meal AND the booking process. They managed our various dietary requirements graciously and never once made me feel like I was asking for too much. I'm glad to take interstateies there to show off the best of what my home town has to offer.

      I've avoided the Pumphouse on principle thanks to their hideous menu design but perhaps I will give them a chance one day.

      Love Smolt, but not so suited to vegetarians :)

    2. Hi Anon! Glad you're enjoying our posts. We sniffed around Pumphouse a couple of times but couldn't see a menu. Turns out the online one isn't so exciting for us vegos.

      Thanks for chipping in, Lizzie. :-)

  2. I wish I hadn't just been watching Castle and Bones. That dessert looks far too bloody and graphic for my liking.

    However, crunchy chickpeas FTW!!

    1. Berries are weirdly gory, aren't they Hannah?

      And those chickpeas were one of the highlights of the meal! I really must master this toasted nut thing at home.