Last but not least … My fourth and final post about my foodie adventures in Tasmania. The next morning we woke bright and early for our trip back to Hobart. We were served a lovely home cooked breakfast in the cosy front room of the Freycinet Waters BnB overlooking the Great Oyster Bay. MS turned his nose up in disgust when our host Karen asked if we wanted some black pudding with our breakfast fare but I happily obliged. What was yesterday a beautiful sunny day was now a miserable wet and windy day but we had no plans to be outside just yet. An hour later we said goodbye to our Freycinet Waters hosts and were on the road headed to Hobart.
We didn’t get far down the road – say about 8 minutes – before we spotted Kate’s Berry Farm to our right. Stopping at a berry farm was non-negotiable so we turned off the main road and drove up to Kate’s for our second (shared) breakfast of Mixed Berry Pancakes on the patio.
Kate’s Berry Farm is perched up the top of the hill overlooking Swansea with more breathtaking views of the Great Oyster Bay and Kate herself is an absolutely delightful lady. We spent a small fortune on chocolate covered berries to take home for loved ones and also snack on in the car for driving sustenance.
Back on the road again we passed some absolutely stunning scenery and out of all the roads we travelled on our short stay in Tassie we both found the road from Swansea to Orford to be the most breathtaking and picturesque route of our journey. All up the drive back to Hobart took just over 2 hours which included two toilet stops for me and MS driving in the wrong direction as he came across the Tasman Bridge (twice) resulting in the one and only argument of our 5 day driving tour of Tasmania. I then gave him the silent treatment for the next hour.
Being lunchtime I took heed of the words of my Foodvixen followers and we made a beeline straight for Hobart bakery institution Jackman and McRoss for a bite to eat. Most of the parking nearby is permit only but being a Sunday we took the risk. As the sign out the front says “bakers of fine breads, cakes and pastries” and damn they weren’t kidding.
Upon entering J&MR we were met with the smell of freshly baked delights and cabinets of mouth-watering sweet and savoury goods.
As well as a ‘takeaway’ section Jackman and McRoss has a dining room which is exactly where MS and I parked ourselves for lunch.
The dining room was packed and there was a steady stream of people stopping in to take some treats home with them. What surprised me the most was how reasonable the prices were with everything on the specials board being no more than about $14.
After the great despair of finding out that they had run out of Scallop and Wakame Pies I settled for the second best offer of Pulled Pork Fillet in Roti Bread with Kale and Veg Vermicelli and Smoked Cherry Mayo for AU$12.50 while MS, the fatty, ordered a Meat Pie and the Lamb Rack Topped with Herbed Lemon Crust on a Stone Fruit and Salted Balsamic Tart for a mere AU$13.50. The Meat Pie was good but it had nothing on the one I had at JK’s in Ingham plus I wanted scallops godammit.
We waited a little longer than we both would have liked but in the meantime we buried the hatchet of our fight earlier that day caused by MS’ shitty driving and actually began to talk to each other again. The Pulled Pork Fillet Roti thing, which for some reason I didn’t get a photo of, was divine although I did find the filling a little on the sweet side.
MS decided that the Lamb Rack was a little too rare for his liking despite me insisting that was how it was supposed to be and instead helped himself to my Pulled Pork Roti. It was quite a large serving so I didn’t mind sharing it just this once.
We returned to our car just over an hour later and were pleasantly surprised to find that it hadn’t been towed. For something less food orientated we did a one hour tour of the harbour with Hobart Historic Cruises onboard the ‘Emmalisa’. It wasn’t nearly as flashy as the fandangle camouflaged cat that hurriedly ferries tourists across the Derwent to and from MONA but this boat had plenty of ‘character’. MS confessed he was a little concerned that it wasn’t particularly sea worthy but I assured him I had been on far less sea worthy boats in my time and the Emmalisa certainly wasn’t one of them. Again I feel like a dumba** that I didn’t get a photo of our Titanic BUT I did get a photo of the MONA cat.
With only four ‘tourists’ onboard, including us, the hour long tour took us past Salamanca Place and the CSIRO Marine Laboratories with their newly commissioned and impressive ship the ‘RV Investigator’ docked out the front, then onwards past the million dollar homes at Battery and Sandy Point, Bellerive, Kangaroo Bay and back to Franklin Wharf for an absolute steal of only AU$20 per person.
The commentary by the Captain was informative and entertaining and MS and I both really enjoyed the cruise although for us one hour was enough.
After our high sea adventures we were both famished – no not really but we ate anyway. We ended up across the road at new Hobart pleaser Frank – from the same people that run Smolt. Earlier that day I had tried in vain to get a booking at Frank for the evening but alas they were all booked out. Shock horror I would have to forgo a meal at a South American influenced restaurant whose menu I had already perused online so we went there for an afternoon ‘snack’.
MS and I took a seat adjacent to the front window just in time to see the Australian ice breaker ‘Aurora Australis’ coming into port. From the Frank menu I ordered the Prawn, Scallop and White Fish Ceviche, Leche De Tigre (AU$21) washed down with a glass of Smolt Pinot Noir 2013 from Tasmania.
MS who is undoubtedly always that much more hungry that I am ordered the Entrana – inside skirt steak with chimichurri and salsa picante (AU$32) and the Charred Sweet Potato, Goat’s Curd, Muddled Almonds, Garlic and Coriander to share (AU$11).
I found the Ceviche to be pretty ‘meh’. More flavour would have been a treat but I think I had built the whole dish up a little too much by drooling over pictures of it on Instagram a few days before.
MS’ steak was certainly better than you’re average steak but the real star of the meal for both of us was the Charred Sweet Potato. I only yesterday wrote to the Gourmet Traveller recipe request section to see if they will publish the recipe because this dish was simply sensational. In fact I would go as far to say that it’s one of the best things I think I have ever put in this big mouth of mine.
Fast forward a few hours (after a nap and some more tennis) and we were dressed and on our way to dinner at Tassie favourite Smolt – another restaurant recommended to me by some of my readers. We couldn’t get a booking but decided we would try out luck with a walk in. Things were coming up Milhouse for our last meal in Tassie we managed to snavel ourselves an intimate table for two down the back of the Italian eating house.
More wine and cider ensued with a complimentary starter of fresh baked bread with olive oil and balsamic for dipping. The flavour of the olive oil was exceptional – so much so that I went straight to Victor’s to find my own dipping oil upon returning home. We had the Jamon Croquettes with Smoked Peppers and Aioli for entree and then backed it up with a couple of pizzas as our main.
The White Anchovy, Olive, Calamari, Watercress, Bechamel and Reggiano Pizza came up trumps for me because as some of you may know I’m a sucker for anchovies (and pickles) while MS loves the sausage so he chose the pizza with Pork Sausage, Chorizo, Chilli, Red Onion, Peppers, Lemon and Reggiano (both AU$25.90). The service at Smolt was excellent and the atmosphere was laid back yet sophisticated plus neither of us could fault the food – I can’t recommend that place enough if you’re in Hobart.
Well there you have it… our trip to Tasmania in a nutshell – or should I say about 1500 words (this post). I’ve travelled overseas and around our beautiful country many times but I can put my hand on my heart and say that Tasmania has been one of my absolute favourite destinations. In the short time that MS and I spent down there we barely scratched the surface of all the things to see and do (and of course eat) in the Apple Isle. MS enjoyed the place so much that he wants to move there permanently. In a state where Scallop Pies are the norm, there’s a vineyard on nearly every corner, world famous oysters, award winning cheeses and cherries are the size of a baby’s fist it’s no wonder that Tasmania was just named in Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Regions to visit in 2015.
Like most people I am always in search of somewhere new to eat out and experience. In the past few days I’ve had two different people mention a newish café on Grafton Street that I had not yet heard of called Eato’s. True to form I did a drive by late yesterday afternoon to scope out the place and stalk their menu – MS is well used to pulling over the car so that I can look at menu’s in the windows of random restaurants and cafe’s around the city. Then, yesterday after hearing about it from my friend HH the second time we decided to stop in for lunch.
Eato’s is not just a ‘newish café on Grafton Street’ but also a non profit organisation funded by the Australian Government that employs school leavers and people that have been unemployed for 12 months or more – it’s also sponsored by Neato Employment Services and Power of Pellets (more on them at the end of this post). According to Wikipedia a non profit organisation is ‘an organisation that uses surplus revenues to achieve it’s goals rather than distributing them as profit or dividends’ and proceeds of all sales at Eato’s go to FNQ Hospital Foundation, YAPS, Harald’s House and Ruth’s Women’s Shelter. Down the southern end of Grafton Street Eato’s occupies the old space that was once the long standing, fondue serving Swiss Inn. (Possibly also a Thai place for a short time?)
Back to our lunch… HH and I were greeted at the door and shown into the dining area by the friendly waitress who provided us with menu’s and water and directed us towards the counter for when we were ready to order. HH who’d had coffee there earlier in the week gushed about the pallet furniture that is not only part of the décor at Eato’s but also up for sale, again with profits going to charity. In fact according to their menu everything is for sale, including their staff. Sadly though for HH the white three piece set that he wanted so badly for his garden had already been sold – yet to be picked up, although there is more on it’s way.
We had a look over the menu and although there is an All Day Breakfast Menu that sounds bloody awesome (Pulled Pork Eggs Benedict anyone?) it was nearly 2pm so I decided on something from the lunch menu. I ordered the Shredded Organic Chicken in an Ash Roll with Mixed Baby Leaf, Lime and Yuzu Mayonnaise (AU$15) while HH went with the Risotto Special for AU$21. Not long after ordering one of the lovely ladies at Eato’s who goes by the name of Shannon came out to inform me that they had run out of organic chicken and wanted to know if I would like pulled pork on it instead. Shhhh-yeah! Not exactly a bad thing in my book!
Whilst waiting for our lunch HH and I discussed important matters such as chewing gum at the table and phone etiquette. Although I am known to be on my phone and in particular social media quite a lot I do know when to put my phone down and am a strong believer in ones phone being on silent as well as no texting or checking Facebook whilst dining in the company of others. It’s just plain rude and I’m forever telling my younger brother to stop scrolling through Instagram (*insert shameless plug* follow me on food_vixen) and put his phone down whenever I have dinner with him. Low and behold it turns out HH shares my same ‘no phones allowed’ views as I am sure would much of the *ahem* older generation. But quick just let me take a photo of my lunch…
Our beautifully presented lunch dishes arrived during the course of our conversation and we dug in. The plentiful pork in place of the chicken was definitely a winner with just the right amount of mayonnaise mixed through it – although I am sure the organic chicken would be just as nice. The roll was fresh and the salad was crunchy. I also really enjoyed the little side salad topped off with some crunchy pepitas.
HH’s Risotto Special was, well, forgive me but I actually have no idea because I didn’t ask however we both decided that it was Pumpkin Risotto. The portion wasn’t particularly big but with creamy, rich food like risotto smaller portions are usually better unless you want someone to roll you out the front door and back to the office after your hefty lunch. HH ate the lot and said that it was lovely.
Halfway through our lunch we caught sight of an epic tiered pavlova that another customer had ordered at the table right behind us. Unfortunately for us though, it was the last one left for the day and instead Shannon recommended the Frangipane Tart which she said was so good the chef was making it for her wedding on Christmas Day. Sounded pretty irresistable so HH and I ordered a Frangipane Tart to share between us. This tart was absolutely beautiful to look at so much so that I almost didn’t want to stick my fork in and mess it up. It was crunchy on the outside and soft and sweet on the inside – yum!
All this yummy food yet I have failed to mention one important part about Eato’s… The kitchen is run by Thala Beach Resort’s ex Head Chef Catherine Pacey. As Shannon (who is also Catherine’s cousin) explained to HH and I, Cath took up the position at Eato’s to do something a little different and give back to the community. She is using her skills from many years as an Executive Chef to create a hands on learning environment where she can teach different cooking techniques to students and those that are unemployed. It’s a unique concept that I am pretty sure is new to Cairns and even better when their focus is on using fresh local ingredients and supporting local suppliers.
This is a really great initiative and I urge you guys to get behind it however please be mindful that this is a training kitchen and things may not always go to plan but good things are happening at Eato’s I promise you that! At Eato’s the staff are lovely, the menu sounds so good it’s hard to settle on just one thing and the atmosphere is well, caring and friendly I guess are the best words to describe it. The only bad thing that I can really say about Eato’s is that because it’s a government run organisation that means government hours. ‘Monday to Friday 7am – 3pm’ translates to ‘you better get down there today to get your feed of Pulled Pork Egg’s Benedict or you will have to wait till next week’. I personally don’t think I can wait that long…
PS: The Power of Pallets is an organisation that is recycling timber pallets into useful items for local charities and organisations. Be sure to check them out on Facebook!
45 Grafton St, Cairns QLD 4870
Opening Hours: Mon to Fri 7am – 3pm