I visited Tasmania once as a child. I have vague memories of staggering up Cradle Mountain at my parent’s request, blinking back tears at Port Arthur and trying, in vain, to spot Tassie Devils. Roll the clock forward many years, and with Tasmania’s booming foodie scene, my new appreciation for “getting back to nature” and the recently opened MONA (the Museum of Old and New Art), this destination was suddenly high on my radar again.
We landed at Hobart Airport, bright eyed and bushy tailed and excited to explore some of what Tasmania had to offer. We hired a car at the airport, definitely the easiest and most flexible way to get around Tasmania.
Only a 15 minute drive later (god I love small destinations) we arrive at our hotel, Somerset on the Pier, which is literally on the pier with gorgeous views of the harbour.
Our spacious room was split level, with kitchen, bathroom and living areas downstairs, and our beds upstairs. I could easily have spent a week here!
But alas there was no time to continue enjoying our quarters – we had “work” to do! First stop, Salamanca Market. Salamanca Market is of Australia’s best known outdoor markets, and is home to over 300 stalls selling fresh produce, arts & crafts, fashion and an array of tasty snacks.
Our tummies were rumbling, so we started off at the crepe stall, purchasing several savoury crepes (the salsa they serve them with is delicious) and of course a Nutella crepe, as it would be rude not to.
It would probably be of no surprise to you that my favourite stall at Salamanca was the succulent store! These mini succulents planted in egg shells were my favourite (and what a great idea!) as well as the settings planted in vintage boxes, complete with mini mushrooms and a ladybug.
There was also a huge array of homemade clothing, ceramics and wood work, and beautiful, fresh produce for sale.
MONA – Museum of Old and New Art
Our next stop was what I was looking forward to most – MONA! MONA is Australia’s largest private museum located on the Berriedale peninsula, a 30 minute ferry ride from Hobart.
Even getting to MONA is fun – we board a ferry painted in camouflage and ride along on deck with sheep and cow figurines. Graffiti graces the walls and I admire the birdcage (with live bird) as we sip our drinks from the on-board cafe/bar.
The view from MONA was spectacular and we were treated to lovely weather. Thank you Tasmania!
MONA houses a huge array of ancient, modern and contemporary art presented in a stunningly-designed building – for example the lowest floor at the Museum is 14 metres below ground and was carved out of a 240-million-year-old sandstone quarry!
Some of my favourites included Tessa Farmer’s “The Depraved Pursuit of a Possum” which features insects and arachnids set upon a skull. Beautiful and macabre.
data.tron by Ryoji Ikeda was another of my favourites, featuring a huge darkened room lined with projectors with moving text.
And last but certainly not least, possibly MONA’s most infamous installation – “Cloaca Professional” by Wim Delvoye. An installation that accurately reproduces the human digestive system step-by-step and produces… yep you got it, poop. It did not smell great. However, it was fascinating and the machine was quite beautiful to look at.
After several hours of checking out the fascinating exhibitions in the dark rabbit warren of MONA, we break for air at the top and locate the MONA Wine Bar. It features a deck with a nice view, Moorilla wine, Moo Brew beers plus a selection of other craft wines, ales and spirits.
The Wine Bar has a great range of tasty snacks to enjoy, including oysters, charcuterie and wood-fired pizzas. We enjoyed a cheese plate and some olives with parmesan biscuits, washed down with a glass of prosecco.
The Mill on Morrison
We arrive back on dry land in Hobart and head to dinner, which is just around the corner from our apartment. The Mill on Morrison is a tapas and wine bar, and our hungry tummies eagerly await.
Feeling pretty tired after our big day, my friend mentioned she felt like an espresso martini, and lo-and-behold, they have an entire menu dedicated to them!
I stuck with the classic, an Original Sin, whilst my friend braved the Devil’s Elixir with contained house infused chilli vodka, Cointreau, chilli infused sugar syrup and espresso. We were awake!
There is a LOT to choose from on the menu, and we go with the $45pp tapas banquet option (there is also a $35pp lighter option, or a $65pp more extensive version).
Highlights of the huge array of food we snacked on included the artichoke and pyengana tasty cheddar pinxtos ($3 each) and corn chips topped with shredded paprika chicken ($5 for a serve of 2).
The arancini balls of the day ($4 each) were chorizo and onion – I loved their flavoursome filling and crunchy outside, but I found the breadcrumbs were over seasoned. The pork belly and apple slaw ($16) was another standout, with the slaw being a nice reprieve from the rich and fatty pork belly. And that crackle, oh that crackle.
We also enjoyed other tapas including croquettes, zucchini flowers stuffed with ricotta and pesto, char-grilled chorizo, chicken wings and a goats cheese semolina gnocci.
Our only problem was a huge portion of the banquet menu was deep fried with little fresh vegetable accompaniment. Whilst everything was absolutely delicious, next time I would choose the dishes myself, including some lighter options and a salad to break it up. We were so full I couldn’t even make the most of the extensive sundae menu! Looks like I’ll have to return :)
Jackman & McRoss
We arrive at Jackman & McRoss the next morning for breakfast, which is located in Battery Point, one of Hobart’s oldest and most historic areas. This gorgeous bakery is chock full of delicious pastries, breads, desserts and much much more, and I spend a good amount of time staring into the display cases.
Service was super friendly and attentive and our well-priced coffees and food were swiftly delivered. I went for the asparagus, brie, potato & red pepper frittata ($9) whilst my friend ordered the scrambled eggs wrapped in salmon on Danish pastry ($11). Hello decadence! We are starting to notice a “large portion” trend in Tasmania, and once again we fail to finish our delicious meals.
I’ve heard good things about Smolt being one of Hobart’s top restaurants and was pleased to check it out. All the staff were so friendly, our waiter even offering to move us to a different table when we were cold and offered a sweater when we politely declined (it’s meant to be summer, Tasmania!!)
We started off our meal with 2 salads which induced much umming and ahhing with delight. On the left we have the jamon serrano, local pickled pear, smoked almond and shallot vinaigrette ($19.90). On the right was the roasted beetroot, asparagus, artichoke, caramelised pumpkin puree, Kettering grown hazelnuts and goat curd salad ($19.50). Both dishes were stunning and a great start to our meal.
On to mains now and I had the locally farmed lamb leg primal, seasonal spring vegetables, smoky eggplant puree, chilli, garlic and anchovy dressing ($36.90). The lamb was cooked to perfection and the crisp roasted vegetables made a perfect accompaniment. I’m not a huge fan of anchovies but that flavour was subtle in the sauce. My friend had the house made pappardelle with lamb ragu, tomato, garlic and reggiano ($28.90). I know this is a weird thing to say, but I don’t really like pasta. However this pasta was honestly, absolutely delicious. The meaty sauce was chunky and flavoursome, the pasta cooked to perfect al dente and it avoided the temptation of being drowned in cheese.
Machine Laundry Cafe
It’s our final day in Hobart (sad face) and we head to Salamanca Square which is full of rows of sandstone buildings and contains numerous restaurants, galleries, craft shops and offices – and our breakfast location!
Machine Laundry Cafe is located in the corner of Salamanca Square and is bright and colourful – you can even do your washing whilst you eat breakfast if you so please. We got there early, but the place quickly filled up which indicated the great meal we were about to enjoy.
Our coffees arrived in colourful mugs and saucers, filled with strong and flavoursome liquid that helped us conquer the lengthy and tempting looking menu.
We fortunately made very good choices and this is possibly going down as one of my favourite breakfasts… EVER (big call, I know).
On the left we have the “Fat Boy” ($17) which is the weirdest, most wonderful breakfast concoction ever invented. It features a roti bread wrapped around grilled chicken, bacon, tomato and iceberg lettuce, then drowned in spicy peanut sauce. I am drooling just thinking about it. It was a great Eastern twist on a classic Western breakfast dish.
Our other delicious breakfast option was “The Old New Egg Dish” ($14 + $3.5 for crispy pancetta) which included scrambled eggs with fetta on garlic sourdough with beetroot relish and wild rocket. Once again both dishes were too big to finish, but god we tried, and remembered at the end there is actually an option on the menu to request a small serve of any dish for $2 less. What a great idea! I wish more places would do this.
And so that amazing meal concludes my whirlwind tour of Hobart. I definitely feel like I need to return, yet again, to discover more of what Hobart has to offer, but it’s already knocked my socks off.
Stay tuned for more Tasmania posts featuring Bruny Island, Port Arthur, Richmond and Swansea!
Love Swah + 1 travelled, ate & stayed courtesy of Tourism Tasmania