Tuesday, February 14, 2012

garagistes - hobart

the large, cavernous space
wood-grilled reine de france lettuce hearts with soaked currents and puffed spelt ($14)
grilled young leek with French beans and toasted quinoa ($18)
confit kipfler potatoes, pea tendrils and flowers($19)

You keeners may remember I headed down to Hobart a couple of weeks ago to go to MONA and FOMA and basically frolic my way around Story Book Village (it's what I call Hobart). After having a huge day at MONA I hit my hotel got changed and met up with Liz (and her partner Jeremy) and Cindy and Michael for a very exciting nom fest at Garagistes.

Garagistes is the breathless (not really new) darling on the Australian dining scene, opened by Luke Burgess (ex Noma) and his partners Katrina Birchmier and Kirk Richardson. The menu is extremely interesting, the wine list mainly French. I would have to say I think I had the wrong idea from the get go of Garagistes, I had heard it was very Noma influenced, foraged based and the menu changed daily. So I was assuming it to be 'hyper local' which is why I was disappointed by the wine list (though my stomach wasn't).

That wrong idea also extended to the food. With a no bookings policy and being strongly recommended by previous diner Lisa Dempster to just show up and receive the magic I had much higher expectations than was delivered. Again, not Garagistes' fault though I did contact them via twitter and Liz emailed to give the heads up that a vegan was coming in on the day. It was a complete surprise to them when I mentioned it so I guess communication fail. Perhaps a phone call next time.

Having said all that for a restaurant of this calibre I expected more than just meals with the non vegan ingredients removed. The food however was astounding, absolutely delicious but I did kind of have that cheated feeling, especially when I did try to contact them in two different ways. So either this is how they cater for vegan diners (that's fine it just doesn't suit me) or they would do things differently if they had better notice. Either way the next time I'm in Hobart I will definitely go back.

Garagistes is an experience beyond the food (as you can tell we were already pished and too engrossed to remember to take photos of the second dish), the space is huge and not crammed in with diners. Everything is served at a leisurely pace with magic genie service the whole way. We all had a great meal with great wine, my eating buddy Garret and I walked out paying $80 each with a bottle of wine between us so you can't say it's expensive by any stretch of the imagination (and Garret had 2 other small dishes). Garagistes, I'm looking forward to a return trip!

ps: Kylie Kwong was eating at the bar. I almost hyperventilated THE ENTIRE TIME.

deets: 103 Murray st, Hobart Tasmania web: garagistes
$$: $160 for 3 medium and 2 small dishes and a bottle of wine

other voices, other times:
where's the beef - documented our meal from the vegetarian side
rita's bite
reminiscence of a food tragic
redheaded travels


  1. I tend to agree with your comments - the food was beautiful and I really want to go back when I have time for dessert (at least rushing to PJ was worth the sacrifice this time!). But Garagistes' treatment of veg*n customers sends mixed messages I think. Do they want our custom? Do they want prior warning? Would they prefer we f*ck off back to the mainland and eat some carrot sticks? I have no idea.

  2. I think they are just not equipped for vegans, is all. Perhaps it was just a communication failure, like you said? It seems a shame to not take the opportunity to create something delicious and amazing, and maybe if they had known you were coming they could have done so?

    Either way, I'm glad you'll be back one day to try it again, we'll just have to make sure they're expecting you!

  3. @liz I'd like to think so.. that was my confusion especially with the foraging aspect. I expect a restaurant of that calibre to be able to bust some moves you know? Even on no notice... but perhaps its a small place they have a finite amount of ingredients etc...

    YES! I can't wait.. and I guess I should say.. that even if i just got that meal the same again I would be perfectly happy, I just had different expectations to what it was. thanks for all your hard work in getting us a table and everything xx

  4. Luke told me later that it's hard for them to cater for vegans because they don't do tofu/processed stuff - but then, maybe they could focus more on the vegetable side of things? Cindy and Michael's carrot dish was art on a plate, and it would have been easy to make something like that vegan.

    It's my pleasure - hope to see you down here soon!

  5. Wow.. I don't think I would have been impressed with being served that.

  6. How is tofu processed? It's no different than cheese.. I bet they serve cheese!


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