Sunday, August 09, 2009

Restaurant reviews

Elf I and do not dine out very often. We have had a bit of a purple patch in the last week or so, with two dinners out on the town. I am also going to roll into this another dinner back in June because it was so ridiculous. But first;

Pasha's, Elizabeth Street, Hobart.
Each year we dine out for our pal Anna's birthday. In recent years we have gone to this Turkish restaurant and had a banquet in a room upstairs. The extremely steep stairs (with bit of pipe for handrail) are heritage listed, like most of inner Hobart. The room has a huge square table and everyone sits around it, at shouting distance from each other. The food is excellent. My only grizzle would be that as we have a banquet each year, which is a little-bit-of-everything deal, I don't get to gorge myself on great chunks of lamb which is my main preoccupation when I get out to dinner these days. Menu: sensible and comprehensible.

The Boathouse, Queens Walk, Cornelian Bay.
We had our wedding reception here in 2001. The location is terrific, right by the water with a nice river view. The building used to be a seaside toilet block, dating back to the days when people swam at the little beach. It's too silty and yuck these days, but still looks pretty, and the ducks like it. It is still run by the very nice lady who we dealt with back then, and she always remembers us - which is good business but gives you warm fuzzies all the same. It's not as though we are in and out all the time.

This time it was Sally's birthday. We had martinis at the new house up the road a little, then strolled down to the waters edge for dinner. I have never had a martini in my life, being more of a beer/wine guy, so that was something. Gin and an olive, basically, although the mystique around them does make you feel somehow sophisticated as you sip. Olives on little plastic swords.

But back to the restaurant. Besides us there were about a dozen of Sal's friends, many from the cutting edge contemporary art scene. They are all very nice people. I was expecting the talk to be all residencies and grants and curatorships and the thematic nexus between sex and death but there was none of that, in my earshot at least.

The food is all pretty innovative, with plenty of jus and coulis and the like on the menu. You always want the serves to be bigger. Mains are around $30 and entrees $15-$20. You can order oysters one at a time, so I had 4 oysters as a cheapish entree. For main I had a little lamb fillet the size of my two thumbs, accompanied by a hockey puck of shredded lamb brisket. The lamb with lamb approach was new to me. It came with a wodge of mashed potato, which most of the other blokes eyed hungrily. I had panna cotta for dessert, three little units about thumbnail size, with a cone of creamy something.

In summary it is a lovely experience dining at The Boathouse, but you might want to grab a curry on your way home. The menu is quite fluid, and I always learn something new. This time I was taken aback by the Mushi of Tasmanian Scallops. I asked, and a mushi is basically a savoury custard.

Das Zimmer Wine Bar, Salamanca Square, Hobart

After Anna's exhibition opening in June, we went upstairs above the Bar Celona to this place. Anna had booked it for dinner, and we went in on the assumption that dinner would be available. The menu was hilarious - I wish I had been able to take notes. Unfortunately the only term I can recall is "microherbs". Those of us who didn't just give up ordered the ravioli. It arrived as five tiny discs on a large stark white plate. The wine list was very very long, and I don't remember seeing a single Tasmanian wine on it. The beers available were exotic and priced accordingly. The doof doof from downstairs kept conversation to a minimum. We mostly just pointed to our ravioli and the prices in the wine list and laughed and laughed.

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