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Ethos Eat Drink, Hobart
Sunday, 6 December 2015 23:25
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Ethos Eat Drink has a simple belief; food tastes that much better when you know the lengths taken to get it on your plate. It mirrors the behaviour of many of the World's 50 Best, with owner and Executive Chef Iain Todd designing the day's menu using fresh local ingredients sourced on the day from a handful of artisan suppliers. Every dish placed in front of you has been carefully crafted with the story of the produce and provenance shared, and the reward is most definitely worth the effort. 

The biggest show off is the large industrial vibe space, with the oldest part of the building was constructed around 1820 and still intact is Tasmania's oldest plumbed toilet! Another to boast is the charming garden in the courtyard, growing herbs and other edible plants they use on a daily basis. My favourite though is the giant sparkling chandelier hanging in the centre made from recycled glass bottles. There's to be prideful about when guests dine in a 190+ year old space, eat food from sources of integrity and experience something that is truly an unique expression of Tasmania. 

The menu, much like the space and friendly staff, was far from complicated. Only the 'surprise' set menu is offered for dinner, so you only have to decide whether you'd like six or eight courses, and if you'd like them to match wine to your courses or select from their wine list. We went all out and decided eight courses and picked a 2013 Clarence House Estate Pinot Blanc from Cambridge, Tasmania ($36 for a carafe) and the rest was up to them.

That production line though

The pre-starters for the night were potato gratin (top) and quail eggs (bottom). The gratin was layers of thinly sliced potato with a cheese/sauce, topped with nori and salt. The quail eggs sat on top of fresh goats(?) cheese and charcoal leek ash. The latter was the preferred choice, with the cheese alone being a standout. Never have I ever had cheese so FRESH before, a distinct taste but not too strong. The ash added a pretty element but no real taste. 

Our first course was leek, black garlic, king george whiting, corn, bean and diakon. The leek on its own was buttery, and the layered textured paired well with the raw slippery whiting. The black garlic added a caramelised taste.  

Part of the extra two courses was the charcuterie board, with 4 types of pork and 2 types of lamb from different cuts of the animal, all aged and cured with various techniques and lengths of time. Condiments (mustard), house made pickled onions and daikon accompanied it. I loved the lamb, which had a really strong smell that would turn a lot of people off, but just a small stripped packed so much punch. It is MEATY with the strips of fat slowly melting in your mouth as the umami flavour deepens - carnivore heaven tbh.

I get so giddy as one dish comes after the other, and this one was an interesting to look at kingfish with lemon, buttermilk, lovage and chives. The solid cuts of kingfish were served raw, heightened by the tangy buttermilk. The lovage had a taste similar to celery that worked together with the onion flavour of chives. Though not a crowd favourite, it was an interesting and refreshing dish.

You all know I'm all about carbs. We saw fresh loaves of bread by front of house when we got in and wondered if we were going to be served any, and was THIS close to asking before they told us they were bringing out the house churned butter with house baked rye next. Smiles all around ^_^! The butter has got to be one of the best I've tasted - must be that Tasmanian milk! It's creamy but still very light, almost air-like that I could lick off the knife like icing. I'm usually not a big fan of rye as it can be quite dense, but this was soft and fluffy still, and was key for the next dish... 

Taste buds get real now for this dish: asparagus, sesame, thyme and sabayon. There were two types of asparagus used for this dish; one the grows closer to water so it has a saltier taste, and the other inland to give a earthy contrast. The sabayon was an egg-based creamy mixture, with a custard-like texture and a tangy taste of mayo. Have never tasted anything that I could compare it to, but it was outstanding, especially with the bread to mop up! FYI we got more slices of bread :3 

Finally, a meat dish! First thing first, that magenta spreen is SO DAMN PRETTY! Just look at the flecks of purple on the plate! Though the serving seemed quite small, we were surprisingly getting full by this stage but can never say no to crackling. A perfectly slow cooked piece of pork belly with a crispy cut of crackling, delicious deep fried cauliflower, and subtle jelly cubes of apple. Impeccable to fault. 

The second part of the extra dish to our eight course meal was cheese (!!!). Chelle is not a picky eater, but the one thing she requested that night was to have cheese and who am I to say no to cheese hehe. We thought it would be similar to the charcuterie and be a board of cheese, but sadly it was just a wedge. Today's choice was a Flower Bay of Fires 18 month old cheddar with poached pear and muesli. The cheddar itself was quite mild, but surprisingly the sweetness of the poached pear heightened the strong flavour you usually get with cheddar. 

I really enjoy the sort of pre dessert palate cleansers you get with a full degustation meal. For tonight we had whipped parsnip cream with coffee and it was HANDS DOWN, FAVOURITE OF THE NIGHT. It looked so simple and I'm not even sure what parsnip tastes like tbh but the lightly whipped cream had a mild sweet flavour, with this tastefully bitter coffee syrup thing? I DON'T EVEN KNOW, JUST TRUST ME ON THIS. Low key still dream about this :'(... 

First (yes, there was more than one) dessert for the night was elderflower and rice bubbles. The elderflower cordial had been sitting for months to develop a very rich sweetness to it. The airy elderflower foam contrasted nicely with the toasted rice bubbles and reminded me of a dessert soup. Everything after that pre-dessert seemed not as exciting tbh, but still a stand up memorable dessert

Very different from the first; this was fig leaf creme patisserie, house made puff pastry, almonds and lemon. The creme patisserie was so silky smooth, with this gorgeous light fruity taste to it so wasn't too heavy to end the courses. The puff pastry was a bit hard for me, but had this subtle honey taste to it that reminded me of baklava, especially with the almonds that were done three ways (honied, toasted and raw). 

Big cheers to the awesome team at Ethos Eat Drink who took care of us all night. We were running late but they were so chilled about it and each dish was well timed after one another, unlike those exhausting 3 hour meals - especially great when you've had an early morning flight and a whole day of exploring. The dishes were presented beautifully, with the story and origin of every produce explained by the floor staff who had better memory than I could dream of.

The total price was on the higher end for Hobart, but expected nothing less for the genuine care and effort that was put in. A more than worthwhile experience and fulfilling to know we were supporting a restaurant and a chef, as well as local farmers and growers, with high sustainable practices, while still being delivered a five star meal and service. Amazing to see restaurants like this happening in Australia, truly hope to see more follow suit.

Ethos Eat Drink Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Hobart Diary, Part 1
Sunday, 8 November 2015 15:14
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Australians don't really travel around Australia; this probably isn't a proven fact but I can guarantee there's at least 70% truth behind it. If we we were going to go somewhere, then we would go somewhere far (not too hard since we're pretty far from every where) and see other parts of the world that's just a bit different to us. It's also not cheap either!
However, if you're in negative annual leave like me (cry), you might see yourself doing more short weekend trips away instead, and Jetstar sales make it that much easier to do so.

Through working in travel, I know that Tasmania has always been a popular tourist destination, but it never sparked an interest with me. Hobart is like the distant cousin twice-removed of Australia's metro cities, usually excluded from family functions because, damn, it's not even attached to the main island (shout out to Sicily, they know what's up). It is one of the oldest cities in Australia dating back to the first fleet and convict era, but what else? Could you even call it a city? Are people there Amish? But more importantly, what's there to eat? 

Day 1 of my 2 day journey began at Salamanca Markets, which operates every Saturday. An amazing, though a bit touristy, street with stores selling artisanal craft, hand-made goods and locally grown produce. 

Classical guitarist in Salamanca Markets

Homemade biscuits: Pepper berry, oat biscuit, chocolate & almond, coffee & cinnamon (fav pick)
Back: Chocolate Afghan biscuit

Pure leather fruit peels (similar to roll ups?)

Recycled toy trinkets (sort of like Sid from Toy Story, but more love and less blowing things up)

Hand built terrariums. You can see tiny people if you look closely enough, all of which were also hand painted!

Silver Hill Bratwurst hotdogs

Jolly Jumbuck from Gypsy Rolls $12 - Spit roasted, marinated lamb wrapped in mountain bread and served with lettuce, carrot and apple bushpepper relish. The slow roasting spit smelt and looked delicious, but it was quite dry (sad) and about 3 bites worth

A million different types of locally grown apples that I've never heard of but look equally as juicy

Locally grown and organic fruits and veg

CHOCOLATE DOUGHNUT. They even heat it up for you so that it's toasty on the outside and oozy on the inside :')

Beautiful (and cheap!) flowers everywhere

Hand made and painted ceramic cups

Mangus - Tasmanian based blues and jazz band. These guys were amazing!

Famous scallop pie ($7?) from Smiths Pie. The fishy/seafood taste is distinct but not overpowering, with a slight curry flavour and no need for sauce. Huge pieces of scallops as well, win! 

We then made our way to Battery Point, one of Hobart's oldest and most historical areas. It was time travelling to the past, with sandstone structures still standing from the 18th century. We walked into Narryna Heritage Museum not knowing what it was until the lady on duty said it was $10 entrance fee. The huge 19th century house was built by a sea capital and some items brought from his ship still remain, but others were just as old. Full of rich and interesting history, like using human hair to make fine jewellery, and well worth the $10 entry fee if you have the time

Just up the road from Salamanca Markets was the historical part of town, Battery Point

A place stuck in time, even the lollies on the display looked like they were from way too long ago (acid drops, anyone?)

One of the rooms in  the Narryna Heritage Museum, everything bar the fireplace has been kept as is

Hobart is apparently known for its doors

Afterwards, we headed to the top of Mt Wellington for breathtaking panoramic views of the city and its surrounds. The day ended on a high note, with a stroll around Franklin Wharf basking in the last light of the day, awing at the beautiful sunset colours. 

Drove up to Mt. Wellington for a 360° view of Hobart and its surrounds

Calm and stillness by Franklin Wharf

It really says something about a place when you find knick knacks like this at the markets...

Hobart has been a delightful surprise so far, but there's much more to come. 

Part Two to come shortly, keep posted! 
Follow me on Instagram for more updates (@WhatEmDid).

** Please note: this post was not sponsored

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Excelsior Jones, Redfern
Tuesday, 13 October 2015 12:32
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Excelsior Jones has got to be one of the most strategically located cafes in Sydney. Nestled on the corner of a residential street just off Hume Hwy/Liverpool Rd in Ashfield meant that even at 10.30 am on a Sunday I could easily find parking on the street. Yes, ASHFIELD, the home of dumplings and cheap Chinese is now being invaded by hipster brunch joints, but who's complaining? I mean, if anyone else is looking to open a hipster cafe in a quiet suburban area then my hood is also free... 

While parking was a breeze, we still had to wait 10-15 minutes or so for a table - still super speedy in brunch time. The interior was well-lit, with a rustic, sort of Scandinavian vibe. It was super clean and minimal with wooden furnishings. Bonus points for open kitchen, cause how great are they?

Cronut for me, cronut for you

After being seated and trying to decide if I wanted a coffee or a milkshake, the kind lady took our orders and guess what I got...

Chocolate and Choc Mint Malted Milkshake $6.50 each

Milkshakes! I've been craving milkshakes for a while and every time I do I feel so grateful that I'm not lactose intolerant. oOoo, and I love when milkshakes are served in the milkshaking machine tin things. It just feels like you get the milkshake as it is, no fuss with a fancy straw or syrup dripping down the side (with a doughnut ball, brownie, pretzels, whipped cream, ice cream and every other OTT diabetic consumable item). Would of preferred a bit more of the malted texture but it had a delicious chocolate flavour (not the artificial syrup kind) and wasn't too sweet. We also got them on skim milk so they weren't as naughty hehe ;-).

Fennel & Pear Barely Salad + Chicken Chorizo $14 + $4

CC decided to be healthy and ordered this, which also had beetroot, asparagus, chard and toasted hazelnut relish with red wine vinaigrette. The dish was fresh, simple and tasted what it sounded like, but wasn't anything special. Also, $4 for 3 slices of chorizo seemed a bit steep to me :|. 

Pork Hash $16

If there's potato on the menu, it's a sure bet that I will order it. Hash is my kind of happiness food. Crisp bits of pan fried potato and buckwheat, aromatic roasted eschalots and fresh micro herbs topped with shredded pork hock and a beautiful, gooey soft boiled egg #yolkpork. Some of the larger potato pieces weren't crispy and seemed a bit underdone, but it was well seasoned and went together with the other elements. I was tossing up between pancakes and hash, and my intuition made the right choice. 

Props to the staff for being attentive even when it's busy. The food didn't take too long to come out either, which was good because the smell of baked goods and bacon filling the air made me hunger. It's a great to see a no fuss local cafe, run by ex-Le Monde's Anthony Svilicich and James Naylor, who are just doing it for the food and people, and not for how many IG likes they can get. 

Excelsior Jones Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato