Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats around the country right now: The Golden Hour at MONA, Hobart.
Over summer it's generally frenzied at MONA, Hobart's remarkable museum of old and new art. It's now one of the state's prime tourist attractions, so during the day, visitors arrive in their multitudes, but at night it's a different experience. The museum's galleries may be closed, but it's much easier to appreciate its beautiful peninsula location and it feels as though you have the site to yourself, even if owner David Walsh may be in residence. Until recently the only evening dining option has been MONA's upscale restaurant, The Source, but as of this week The Golden Hour offers more casual dining with a unique bonus. At some point before or during the meal (the timing is determined by when the sun sets), the small group of diners, who eat at a communal table, take a stroll to James Turrell's Amarna installation (pictured), which manipulates light in seductive ways. It's a frighteningly calming experience, helped, on Tasmania's cool nights, by its heated granite throne-like seats.
MONA executive sous chef Vince Trim is responsible for the food and much of it is cooked on the battery of "heavy metal" charcoal- and wood-fired contraptions that live on the lawn in front of the Wine Bar where these dinners take place. Pork shoulder, smoked for 12 hours, the richness nicely cut with radicchio and fennel, with shared bowls of roast pumpkin salad and potatoes on the side, was the centrepiece last week but the menu promises to change regularly. It's posted when you make your reservations online, as are vegetarian options. Bookings are essential.
The Golden Hour, 55 Main Rd, Berriedale, Tas, (03) 6277 9900. Dinner Wednesday-Thursday. $79 per person or $129 with matching wine.
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