GT's 2022 Tas Restaurant of the Year
GT's 2022 Tas Restaurant of the Year
Fico has never been easy to categorise. Early days saw owner-chefs Federica Andrisani and Oskar Rossi embracing Italian and Japanese cuisines and those influences remain on the multi-course tasting menu – a superb sea urchin risotto flavoured with rice wine vinegar; a yuzu, white chocolate and miso caramel dessert – though the premier driving force now is Tasmania. Whether you're talking cup-like shells of dehydrated beetroot filled with Tongola curd freckled with dried black olives, impeccably tender muttonbird drumsticks or raw morwong teamed with fresh horseradish and avocado, the commitment to the local combined with the chefs' skill and originality is irresistible. Wine is sourced from near and far – Italian lambrusco rubs shoulders with Tasmanian gruner veltliner – but, like the relaxed, comfortable room, plays a supporting role to the food. Hobart restaurants like Fico, that embrace and interpret local produce more emphatically than any other Australian capital city, explain the city's presence on culinary radars near and far.
151 Macquarie St, Hobart, Tas, ficofico.net
Could Dier Makr exist anywhere other than Hobart? It's so completely of its place, from the moodily lit rabbit-warren of an entrance (past excellent sister wine bar Lucinda) to the dark timber palette of its Georgian dining room and almost primitive open kitchen – little more than a hibachi and a couple of hot plates – from which magnificent flavours emerge. The set-course menu might include ravioli filled with celeriac cream and exquisite smoked gummy shark bacon lolling in dark, clear mushroom broth with sliced slippery jacks, or grilled skewers of octopus and kipfler potatoes doused in a bright hot sauce, or a perfectly simple apple granita spiked with fennel seeds. Most ingredients come from close by, some (like the apples) within a couple of blocks of the restaurant, while the wine list pulls gems like aged sake and minimal intervention crémant from all points. Refreshingly restrained service seals the deal.
123 Collins St, Hobart, Tas, diermakr.com
Stillwater is impressive on many fronts. It's been around since 2000 and gets better with age, notably the service, which is among the best on the island. Then there's the setting, a sensitively renovated 1830s flour mill on the Tamar that highlights Tasmanian history, design and natural beauty simultaneously. Tasmania also stars on both the wine list and chef Craig Will's menus, where at breakfast, lunch and dinner the listed ingredients can include everything from house baked sourdough and local eggs to truffles, abalone and wallaby, all sourced close by. The cooking favours flavour and technique over any single cuisine, so there's impressively light gnocchi fritto topped with ham and truffled pecorino (and fresh shaved truffle, in season), tiger prawn dumplings with scallop XO, excellent Cape Grim beef in steak or tartare form and a white chocolate and tonka bean marquise served with rhubarb and cherry sorbet. A must-do.
2 Bridge Rd, Launceston, Tas, stillwater.com.au
From a softly glowing shopfront on the fringe of Hobart's CBD, Templo serves Hobart's best Italian food; the compact 20-seat room with mostly communal dining turning strangers into friends. The brilliantly executed chef's menu, scrawled on a blackboard alongside the smart list of low-intervention wines, changes frequently but is likely to start with a plate of housemade pickles served with charcuterie designed to be piled high on a freshly fried square of dough. The vegetable course might be darkly charred and roasted carrots served with vivid carrot top pesto, roasted almonds and a flurry of parmesan. Templo is rightly famed for its pasta – perhaps bucatini tossed with fresh sardines, pickled shallots, currants, pine nuts and a sweet and sour agrodolce or winter chicory-stuffed agnolotti glistening under a simple butter and chicory stem sauce. Laidback yet efficient and informed service further allows the food to shine.
98 Patrick St, Hobart, Tas, templo.com.au
Set into a sloping field, Van Bone quietly invites you into its seemingly humble rammed-earth walls, then takes your breath away with extravagant views of Tasmania's east coast towards Maria Island, framed by a huge picture window. Chef Timothy Hardy works with fire and smoke in the open kitchen, the daily-changing menu focused on closed-loop sustainability with any excess produce fermented, preserved, pickled or turned into sauces and powders. The multi-course set menu might include alpine-style cheese from the nearby Tongola dairy finely grated over a perfectly smoked tomato, followed by a paper-thin sliver of locally grown potato sprinkled with powdered sea flavours. Southern calamari, sliced into paper-thin noodles, is served with a delicate pork broth. Smoked buttermilk ice-cream is made from the by-product of the housemade butter that's served with a dense sourdough partway through the meal. The entire experience is uniquely Tasmanian, celebrating the immediacy of the land and sea.
357 Marion Bay Rd, Marion Bay, Tas, vanbone.com.au