Wave your hands in the air, Hobart. Franklin is open for business. Well, partially, anyway. The bar is up and running, serving a tight list of wines, local and craft beer on tap and a mash-up of snacks and more substantial dishes, with the restaurant slated to open at the back in mid-October.
"We don't have the back space open yet," says chef David Moyle, "so there's a little bit of representation of what we'll be doing at the restaurant at the bar."
Moyle has come to Franklin from The Stackings at Peppermint Bay, which has the same backers, and which, under his care, was named GT's Regional Restaurant of the Year in 2013. The idea with the new place, Moyle says, is to showcase the lesser-known culinary treasures of Tasmanian waters. "I guess everyone has their perception of crayfish and salmon and so on, but for me the best things are the sea urchin and the calamari and the octopus, so we want to represent that as much as possible."
Once the venue's fully open it'll be a no-cutlery affair at the bar, with the likes of angasi oysters, creamed salt-cod with bitter leaves, and a catch-driven raw fish offering. The dining room, while not exactly white-glove, will offer a more refined package. "Because we've got the Scotch oven [a deep wood-fired brick oven] we'll be doing a couple of joints of meat a night, but it's kind of seafood focused," Moyle says. "I plan on doing a whole wood-roasted abalone… basically an hour and a half to two hours in the wood-fired oven wrapped in bull kelp and then served whole."
The booze, he says, is a representation of what he's enjoying at the moment. "It's inadvertently 100 per cent natural, but with a strong Italian focus. I think we're going to be pushing pretty hard on the grappa as well."
An adjoining café, Betsey, is set to open at the same time as the restaurant, serving single-origin coffee, brunch-friendly feeds such as wood-smoked mackerel on rye, and "mostly vegetarian-focused" salady offerings at lunch.
For now, though, the bar's open from 4.30pm (with food served from 6pm) from Thursday to Monday.
"It's kind of a work in progress," says Moyle. "We haven't really walked in with too strong a concept in mind other than that we want both areas to be relevant and approachable."
Franklin, 30 Argyle St, Hobart, (03) 6234 3375