27 August 2015
After that nice dimsum lunch back in Sydney this morning I made my way back to the airport and headed off to somewhere I had always wanted to visit — Tasmania. Unfortunately when I was planning my trip I could only fit a very short stay — basically 1.5 days. As I get into Hobart in the late afternoon on a miserable Wednesday, the only day I had to explore town was gonna be tomorrow.
I ended up at a surprisingly awesome hotel called the Fountainside, which had a great location and fabulous rooms. I chilled out before heading out into the windy cold for my dinner at Franklin. I had been eyeing this restaurant for months and after the craziness of those Sydney tasting menus I was just dying for a real homey, down-to-earth, honest place. And when I walked into Franklin I believe I had found such a place.
I sat at the corner of the chef’s counter, watching them work. This is like the friendliest, most functional kitchen I’ve seen in ages. They all work in such great rhythm, and everyone seems to be in a good mood. This sure beats the TV-staged-like stuff in some Sydney places, especially Nomad… I relax over a glass of local gin and looked over the interesting menu. Oh, so good to make choices again…
I placed my order and chilled out. The place got busy very quickly and still the kitchen worked very effectively, and my first item soon appeared.
This is like the local version of polbo á galega (or pulpo a la gallega), and the octopus were just beautiful. Fine texture, not rubbery nor too soft, full of briny flavour that the paprika brought out with much success. One of the best octopus dishes I’ve had this year, like the anti-tako from Tokyo’s legendary Mizutani (which was bloody awful). What a brilliant start, loving this!
More wine and I was chilling, and they had brought out my second dish, the wood-roasted broccoli with house-made sea urchin butter. Wow… Geezus, this made that disgusting cauliflower at Nomad look like such a bad dream…
And for my main course they also comped me a cute little lettuce covered with seaweed seasoning. Crispy and nice.
I really relaxed and had a good time chatting with some fellow diners (watching them have the abalone dish I thought about ordering) and getting some ideas on what to do tomorrow. Kitchen team and FoH staff also were wonderful, though I can see the FoH was getting a little overwhelmed as the restaurant was popping at this stage. Kitchen was still extremely smooth, almost unheard of. Then the main appeared from behind the counter…
Wow, a beautiful grilled veal dish, topped with one of my favourite things to eat in the world — samphire. Oh goodness these are the essence of ocean goodness. So few people use them because they “trap” too much of all the essence of the ocean within, but I love it when I release them… The veal was juicy and cooked well, full of flavour. They wood-roast a lot of stuff and I see the cook at that station not just putting food in but also wood. Fabulous flavours here…
I sadly was too full for dessert but I stayed and drank for awhile until the place quieted down. I was having such a good time and I relaxed after days of stiff dining experiences in Sydney. Oh, this was a treat, a much needed treat. Franklin is like the kind of restaurant I wish was around the corner, a restaurant I would be at every other day with their daily-changing menu.
This was worth coming to Tasmania already — and I’ve also already forgotten about Sydney! 🙂
30 Argyle Street
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia