The Queen’s Birthday public holiday saw Haz and me hitting up Hobart for a bit of long weekend fun times.
We flew into Hobart on a Saturday morning (with the husbands of course) and after leaving luggage at our hotel, proceeded to walk the entire length of the town in search of a particular cafe. All that walking, and the cafe turned out to be not so good. Thankfully Hobart is small and it doesn’t take long to walk from one end to another.
After breakfast we wandered Salamanca Market, resisting the urge to buy overpriced “vintage” cutlery and expensive wood blocks (well, I resisted anyway…).
Being in the stunning Watsons Bay, we went to Doyles on the Beach for lunch. I hadn’t heard of Doyles before, but Terry told us that he had eaten there previously – 30 years ago. While that may sound like a while ago, seafood has been sold on the site since 1885 and the restaurant has been owned and operated by the family for over 5 generations. Amazing!
We had a quick wander around Watsons Bay prior to lunch to work up an appetite. It was another beautiful Sydney day, warm and still.
When lunch time came, we were seated at one of the tables under the verandah looking out to the ocean.
The tables had a rather fabulous view for lunch. It was only slightly marred by people lining up for tables, but they soon dispersed.
We were given some nice crispy bread rolls before the food arrived.
I had the Doyles selection ($39) – which came with blue swimmer crab, a stuffed jumbo prawn, a couple of King prawns, some fried whiting fillets, smoked salmon, and a small amount of chips. Everything was really good and a good balance of deep fried versus non deep fried. Don’t you hate it when you order a seafood selection and it’s all deep fried?
Alastair had food envy when he saw my meal, particularly with the crab, which was particularly moist and sweet. Being a good wife, I did share. Here’s a shot of the inside of the stuffed jumbo prawn. It was filled with bacon, sultanas, egg, spinach, leeks and pine nuts and covered in beer batter. It was really tasty, with a great crispy batter and not at all oily. Same for the whiting fillets. Chips were good too.
Alastair ordered the Tasmanian Atlantic salmon fillet, which was pan fried and served on a dill and potato galette with lemon infused olive oil ($36.90). He said it was okay, but he had food envy which caused post ordering regret, I think!
I didn’t take a photo of all the meals, but I snuck a shot of Rayleen’s meal – she had the barramundi fish and chips (you could also order whiting, snapper, flathead, or john dory at various prices). It was HUGE. It could possibly be the most expensive fish and chips ever at $40.30 but it did look fantastic.
We finished with sticky date pudding to share. Everyone was far too full to do this justice. I would advise against ordering dessert and ordering a serve of prawns to share instead!
Oh, and we received some chocolates with the pudding – they had fish stamped on them. Cute!
We had a delightful lunch at Doyles. It’s fairly pricey, but… do you need to scroll up and look at the view again? That’s the price to feel like a fancy schmancy person for a couple of hours, my friends. Plus the seafood was good, so it seems to be the case of “do one thing, do it well”. However, it does mean that if you’re not a seafood eater, there’s no love for you here – with ONE dish on the menu for non seafood eaters (steak) it’s incredibly slim pickings.
After lunch it was time to head to the airport and say farewell to beautiful Sydney. We returned to Melbourne with Annette and Terry, who had spent four weeks in NZ previously and stayed with us for a week before heading home to the UK.
And so began a week of eating…. which I will eventually post about! I have a huge backlog, but will try and find the time to clear it as much as possible.
Doyles on the Beach, 11 Marine Parade, Watsons Bay NSW Phone: (02) 9337 2007
We headed up to Sydney the other weekend to watch Alastair’s cousin race in a regatta. It was the beginning of a whole week of eating!
I knew zilch about yachts, sailing, and 18 foot skiffs, before the weekend. But after two afternoons spent on a spectator ferry watching the racing, I can now tell you all about….. nothing. Yes, I still know zilch. It’s a whole different world, my friends. But we had a great time, and got to spend time with Alastair’s family, many of whom were in town to watch the race. (Hello to Alastair’s aunts and uncles – Ian, Dale, Ken, Rayleen and to my mother-in-law Annette and step-father-in-law Terry.)
We stayed in gooorgeous swanky Double Bay, as that’s where the regatta was held. Double Bay must be under the dictionary definition of seriously swankypants. It is NICE.
We flew up on Friday night, and the next morning we headed out to brunch at a cafe around the corner. Being a terrible blogger, I neglected to note down where we were but I managed to take photos! For brunch, Alastair and I both had the corn fritters with crispy bacon, greens, avocado salsa and tomato relish. I had been expecting a pancakey type of corn fritter and was surprised when the dish came out. Despite this, the corn fritters were SO GOOD. They were little balls of corny, deep fried goodness served with a generous amount of bacon, and hidden underneath the salad was a rich and tangy tomato relish.
Afterwards we had a wander around Double Bay to kill time before the race started for the day. We came across a shop that sold freshly made fruit juice.
It was hot and we were thirsty, so we ordered a juice. I was just going to ask for an orange juice, but Alastair said that was boring and asked the guy behind the counter to make one based on what he recommended. He ended up giving us a juice with fresh watermelon, pineapple and mint and wow! It was fantastic – very refreshing and sweet with the mint really setting it off. I’m so glad we didn’t get boring old orange juice! It was such a good juice that we had another one the day after.
After our juice, we found a place selling fresh gelati.
We shared a blood orange gelato. It was just okay – I found it quite sweet but really tangy at the same time. Alastair said that it tasted like Raro!. I had post-gelato-flavour-choosing-regret and wish that we had picked mint instead.
For dinner that evening, we ate at Limoncello in Double Bay. It was really busy, so we decided that was a good thing and waited 15 minutes for a table. I had the papperdelle with osso buco ragu. My pasta was excellent – toothsome and covered with a thick, rich meaty sauce. The restaurant was really freakishly dark though, hence the crap photos!
Alastair had the tagliolini with Balmain bugs meat, semi sun-dried tomatoes in a cream sauce. Oh, he picked well! I had a taste and it was delicious – the sauce was very moreish and not too heavy.
Rilsta from My Food Trail was also in Sydney that weekend, and she had organised a lunch with a few Sydney bloggers. She let me gatecrash their lunch – thanks! So on Sunday, Alastair and I headed into the city for lunch at Ripples on Sydney Wharf, where we met Anita from Leave Room for Dessert, Belle from Ooh Look, Mademoiselle Delicieuse from Spoon, fork and chopsticks and their partners.
I ordered the spiced mussels with saffron, mascarpone and chilli with garlic baguette. Fancy name, but the mussels were really just in a curryish broth. They were nice though.
Alastair had the roasted pork belly with apple and fennel puree, chargrilled scallop, witlof and celeraic salad. Verdict? He commented that it wasn’t the best pork belly he’d ever had. While it looked mightily impressive, the crackling wasn’t very crispy and the meat needed a bit more flavour.
Unfortunately we couldn’t stay long, as we had to be back in Double Bay to watch the last race in the regatta. Ultimately, the cousin and his team placed 8th, which is pretty respectable considering the plague of injuries, and continual crew changes during the week.
Coming up (if I can manage to find time AND motivate myself to blog) – more on our week of eating: seafood by the sea, eating with our hands, wine tasting, and POP ROCKS (seriously!).
Our first night in Hobart, we wandered around acquainting ourselves with the city. For dinner, we walked down to the waterfront and decided to eat at a seafood restaurant.
I had blue eye fillets, marinated in soy, honey, garlic, and ginger, char grilled and served with stir fried vegetables and potatoes ($31.50). It was okay – not great, not bad.
Dad had fish and chips ($29.50), and choose to have his fish grilled. It was served with chips and salad. Mum had the baked blue eye served on borlotti beans, roast zucchini, eggplant and capscium with sweet corn puree and pappa di pomadoro sauce ($33.50).
Mako Seafood Constitution Dock Hobart, Tasmania
My Dad seemed to be obsessed with fish so the following night we had fish and chips. We went down to the waterfront again, and ate at Mako Seafood, which is actually a floating two level pontoon. Along with the fried stuff, you can also purchase fresh fish.
I had a mini fish basket – for $8.50 I got a piece of fish, which was trevalla, a prawn, scallop, calamari and small chips.
Mum and Dad shared a fish feast – fish, 2 prawns, 2 calamari, scallop, chips and salad.
On Saturday, after visiting the Salamanca Markets, we stopped for lunch at Say Cheese. I felt like eating bits and pieces, so I ordered an antipasto platter ($23). It was massive! The plate was loaded with cheese, smoked turkey kransky, button mushrooms, smoked octopus, eggplant, peppers, olives, sundried tomatoes, and dolmades.
I also received a large bread roll and crackers. It could’ve easily fed two people. Look how many crackers there were!
Fortunately, Mum and Dad had smaller meals so they were able to help me out with mine! Mum had a smoked chicken salad and Dad had a smoked salmon salad.
New Sydney Hotel 87 Bathurst Street Hobart, Tasmania
Nearing the end of our trip, we had dinner at a random pub. I had a MASSIVE peppered steak pot pie ($20). This thing was seriously gigantic, and it was all big chunks of meat. It was also quite salty, and I only managed half because I got rather tired of eating nothing but meat chunks. The chips were good though.
Mum had a small seafood and tomato pasta with rocket ($13) while Dad had fish AGAIN. He had the fish of the day ($28). Mum also ordered us a caesar salad ($10) to share – and thank goodness she did! I was grateful for the lettuce to break up the tedium of my pot pie.
In November, Alastair and I also made a quick trip to Blenheim. Last time we were there, we had breakfast at Raupo. On this trip, we found ourselves at a loose end and went to Raupo again for cake and coffee. We had a chocolate torte with white chocolate mousse and raspberries ($7.50). It was a sponge like cake, so wasn’t too heavy, and it was yuuuuuuuum.
We returned again for breakfast on our last day. I wasn’t feeling particularly hungry (I’m not sure what was wrong with me – it’s very unusual!) and just had a couple of mini croissants with butter and jam (normal toast wasn’t on the menu).
Alastair had pancakes with fresh fruit and yoghurt.
That’s it for this edition! I have been a tad slack with posting recently, but I have a couple of half written posts that I will try and finish this weekend.
Mum and dad went home yesterday morning. We have been exceptionally spoilt during their stay with us so yes, I was sad to see them go, although it was for purely selfish reasons! I’ve had to start doing housework again. Sigh.
Before they left, I considered confiscating their passports, but I’m pretty sure that’s frowned upon in this country.
Still, even though they’re no longer here, we’re still reaping the benefits of their stay. The past couple of nights, dinner has been left overs that they made. Additionally, my freezers are full to bursting with food – containers of dumplings, meat, and more left overs. I will start cooking and baking again soon, but for now I’ll leave you with some of my favourite photos from Hobart.
Mum about to walk up Kelly’s Steps. These steps were built in 1839 by the adventurer James Kelly to connect Salamanca Place with Battery Point.
Taken in the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens. The gardens were lovely. I took A LOT of flower photos.
Like this one.
We went on an “eco adventure cruise” around Tasman Island. (Yeah, I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean either.) I snapped this Australian gannet taking off after we got too close and disturbed it.
This is at the Port Arthur Historical site. Port Arthur was established as a convict settlement and soon became Australia’s largest, in operation from 1833 until 1877.