Passion not a trend.

Yellow Bernard have recently acquired a new house blend. The blend is, I’m led to believe, a mix of a couple of single origin beans aimed at showing off the talents of the roasters at Melbourne’s Gridlock Coffee. I’ve been blessed over the past couple of weeks to share a quiet chat with YBs owner/ manager and have been informed of the approach taken by the Victorian brewmasters. He spoke glowingly of the vibe and the electricity of the CBD cafe, a blend of suit and chic, apparently a must see across the Strait on the next jaunt for all things Good Food Guide.

My boss has a penchant for hazelnut in his coffee, and I’ve realised the reason he bastardises his drink so is because he’s not used to consistency. He’s not used to enjoying the flavours of the coffee brought out by someone that truly cares about what they’re doing.

I insisted on shouting the morning snack this week, and of course, he loved it. It’s that drinkability of the coffee that makes it so hard not to go back. Two double shot lattes later and I’m sure he will think twice about returning to the sub-par establishment he prefers to spend his dollars.

I went back later on in the day to purchase the latte pictured above and continued our earlier chat about Gridlock. Brief as it was, again I was pleased to hear the words tumble from him, in a completely unpretentious, non self-conscious way – “At Gridlock, coffee isn’t a trend, it’s a passion. It’s not about hipsters or being cool, it’s just the coffee. We really liked that and that’s what we aim for.’

If this is what Yellow Bernard manages, Hobart will be better off. Bravo Yellow Bernard, more please

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Pigeon Hole delivers as Hobart chill rolls in.

A week or so ago I had the delightful opportunity of being taken to Pigeon Hole, on West Hobart’s Goulburn St, for lunch. Pigeon Hole has been my haunt of choice since I first came across it through my older brother in 2009. It’s the sort of place where you can set yourself for a good couple of hours, pick your way through your meal, enjoy the reliably flavoursome coffee and take in the cosiness of the setting in the foothills of ‘the mountain’.

On this particular Saturday, Hobart was subjected to it’s infamous penetrating icey wind, and I was hoping to get a seat inside. However, my timing was poor and outside it was. Not that it really matters, the communal dining makes any visit enjoyable. A very dapper 40-something gent sat next to us with his bright orange pullover looking well at ease in the blowy Autumn surrounds. It’s part of Pigeon Hole’s charm – the community feel, the welcoming smile of Emma working the machine and Jay out the back in the galley kitchen. Management have done a superb job of selecting their staff – always conscientious, without slipping into annoying, something easy to do.

Pigeon Hole in Autumn

We ordered a soup each – chorizo, cabbage and potato – and a roast chicken, aioli, capers and italian parsley panini to share. The soup was a surprise.  I was expecting a thick, hearty, creamy type soup but the dish delivered was more of a broth.  Not that I see a problem with that.  The chorizo was subtle and the potato a welcome addition. Patey’s stoneground whole-meal provided some extra fill to an otherwise light yet satisfying snack.

The panini was, as always, exceptional.  I hadn’t taken note of the capers on the blackboard menu but I would argue they made this particular combination. This is what Pigeon Hole does best. It gets it’s customers to try something a little bit new in a different setting and make it all the more accessible. The paninis have really cemented Pigeon Hole amongst Hobart’s best, and most lauded, eateries. (Mention must be given to the eggs en cocotte – a superb dish.) As noted in an earlier post, Jay and Emma, the duo behind Pigeon Hole, have recently expanded with Pigeon Hole Bakers, which can only be a welcome addition to Hobart’s culinary scene.

Finally, the coffee. Two lattes were always going to please nursing a weary head. So, obviously, Pigeon Hole is a delight. A must see for any visitor to Hobart interested not only in food and coffee but also those that want to enjoy their day just a little bit more.

I look forward to many more afternoons at Pigeon, it’s a fine little place that has quickly become a local institution. Let’s hope they stay small and cosy – as that’s the way to enjoy it.

Atlas-150

It’s been a long time coming and now it has finally arrived. Goodbye swotvac!

Marmalade’s disappointment

One blustery Hobart Sunday late in April, I ventured to try something new at Marmalade, a café/ restaurant up on Elizabeth St, not far from EC.

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marmalade – room to improve.

I was with some old friends and the catch up would have proved enjoyable had it not been for a number of pointed errors on behalf of the staff.

Firstly, don’t let people sit for ten minutes as you walk past putting things away from the dishwasher. It was only 2pm, and lunch was still being served (or ordered at least.)

Secondly, once the order is placed, it’s not really ok to take half an hour for two coffees, a pot of tea and a berry smoothie. (All reasonable, but certainly not memorable).

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Berry smoothie – $7 worth? Didn’t taste it

And finally, if something’s not on the menu, try and let the people know when you had it to them. It really is quite frustrating to ask for something and then be refused because you’ve ‘run out’.

It was a shame because I’m often keen to be taken to unfamiliar spots and be surprised by what’s on offer. Sadly, my Sundays will be unlikely to again consider Marmalade. Perhaps it was an off day, perhaps we came across as rude or maybe I should’ve have expected so much.

I hope it was just an anomaly, the exception to an otherwise impressive rule, but I won’t be holding my breath next time I give it a shot.

A

An Evening at Ethos!

Ethos, on Hobart’s Elizabeth St, has been a favourite of mine for the past year that it’s been open.

Ethos will scare some people off – the menu is by no means normal.  It is an exciting addition to the Australian food scene and more importantly, it is a drawcard for Tasmania as a destination.

I would argue that Ethos, in it’s intention, is on par with Garagiste, Pigeon Hole and perhaps even MONA in what it aims to achieve for Hobart. Certainly a positive development from the at times inaccessible Picalilly on Battery Point’s Hamden Rd (which closed down to make way for Iain Todd’s newer project).

The dish I thought I would concentrate on what a delicious $12 number of seared octopus. The octopus had a smokey, intensity to it that left me wondering how it had been achieved.

Octo at Ethos

Arguably, there wasn’t much to it but that’s why I think it succeeded.  Too many of the other dishes enjoyed were over the top.  Too many flavours that hadn’t been pulled off as well as this delightfully simple dish.

Ethos should definitely continue to push the boundaries. All that needs to be remembered is that in doing so, sometimes they’ll fall short.  I don’t think that’s any reason to be disappointed, it’s all part of the experience because when they get it right, they really nail it.

A

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