Our experience of Hobart’s hottest new wine bar/restaurant was so overwhelmingly wonderful earlier this year that we put it at the top of our ‘to-do’ list when we ventured south last week. We were devastated to discover, however, that the incomparable Garagistes is closed for annual holidays until October 11!
Pining for it has prompted me to revisit that lush lunch we had there one fine Sunday back in April with our tribe of lovely lady friends from Dykesart House. It was after our third visit to MONA that we ventured through those heavy black metal doors into the chic industrial space that once had been a mechanic’s garage. We were seated at a high shared table in the middle of the room illuminated by smart skylights. Red and black, raw was the look. And after a glass of sparkling wine we settled right in.
Sunday Lunch is a set menu at $65 per head which for us kicked off with striped trumpeter and elderflower mayonnaise sandwich with heirloom radishes, caraway salt and marcona almond butter. Next came the stand out dish of the day – poached calamari, glazed red top turnip, salsify (cooked in squid ink), quail egg, wild olive and lemon puree. More striped trumpeter followed steamed with creamed jerusalem artichoke, pangrattato and pickled young garlic heads.
By this stage, we were deep in food heaven. Not to mention wine bliss. With a 46 page wine list to choose from and 75ml tasting glasses starting from $6, several of our party were starting to glaze over. The smiling sommelier and co-owner Katrina Birchmeier indulged us with a bottle of Blewitt Springs “Ascension” 2010 Dry Grown Grenache from South Australia which, for a first vintage, was absolutely delicious and beautifully complimented the wood roasted boer goat, smoked yogurt, bagnet vert, radicchio and ortiz anchovy dish.
Suddenly we realised we were sitting right in the middle of a hotbed of gourmet delight. Food guru Tetsuya Wakuda was seated nearby table with a clutch of friends sampling the wares with much focus. He had mentored chef Luke Burgess, who has now been crowned “Best New Talent” by the Australian Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Awards 2012 and must have been proud of his protege. Could things get much better?
After our parsnip ice cream with autumn fig, puff pastry, buckwheat and whey caramel I wanted to settle in for the long haul but the ladies were on a mission to see an installation by Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota so we exited, elated one and all. That fresh locally sourced largely organic produce had lifted our vibrational field to a higher level. And, like a drug, it left us wanting more. But not until after Oct 11, I’m afraid.