Garagistes, Hobart (Closed)

by dylan on March 30, 2013



From the moment we decided on hitting up Tasmania social media was our beacon, the best way to find out what the must visit places in Hobart are. There were a LOT of café suggestions, I think we need to head back for a week just to check them all out. Besides cafes there were a few ‘must do’ restaurants. Top of that list was Garagistes – everyone we interacted with suggested it.

Getting a table at the ‘hottest joint in town’ on the Easter Long weekend, at a place that has three sittings for dinner and doesn’t take reservations. Easy, this isn’t Sydney… right? Of course not. Much to Lex’s chagrin we moseyed up Murray Street after a sneaky pint at Customs House Hotel much later than we should have, and by the time we made it things were looking a little grim. A moderate line out front seemed ominous but as we snaked our way to the door things got worse. The couple in front were told that they may get a table at 10:30pm and could put their name down. We were told: no more tables. And this was at 7pm.

The girls knew we should have got there at 5pm and were not impressed. We decided to try our luck at Garagistes’ sister – sidecar – a tiny wine bar just around the corner. We had slightly more luck at the wine bar with standing room available right at the door. We literally just made it inside the door but the girls didn’t care, they needed to drown their sorrows.

Em refused to give up and mentioned to one of the wine bar crew we were down from Sydney and kicking ourselves for not getting to Garagistes in time. An hour into our wine drinking he came back over to let us know a table had decided they didn’t want to wait until the third sitting… we were in luck. I don’t think I have ever seen such relief on either Lex or Em’s faces.

Fast forward through three memorable hours at sidecar and we were seated at the end of a communal table at Garagistes, ready to take in the gastronomical pinnacle of the Hobart restaurant scene.

3 course dinner – $55.00 per person

  • smoked goldmans tomatoes, autumn onions, kunzea oil, puffed wild rice, buttermilk
  • robbins island wagyu bavette, garlic, lettuce, lower east side sours, apple + lovage
  • blueberries, cream + gold corn mousse, parsnip ice cream, meringue

cannoli, fish roe cream.

Fishy and smoky, though it may from the onset sound a little wrong it was all levels of good. The cannoli themselves were thin and cooked well, giving a great crunch to every bite. The filling was quite a textural wonder, not a silky cream but very close and very tasty. It was the ever so slight smoky overtone paired to the light essence of fish roe that made this a superb starter.

cannoli, fish roe cream

cannoli, fish roe cream

bread, virgin butter.

After quite a few red wines bread was a good choice. Although it was pretty much your normal restaurant quality bread the butter was quite the little performer. Hand churned and close to the point of separation it had a great mouth feel to it, as if it were to melt with any amount of heat applied.

bread, virgin butter

bread, virgin butter

smoked goldmans tomatoes, autumn onions, kunzea oil, puffed wild rice, buttermilk.

Our first dish was the smoked tomatoes. Of any dish I have ever eaten this would have to be the most unique. All of the ingredients are so familiar to most of us but how it was presented was just so alien to me (and the others). WOW, such an incredibly rich tomatoey umami dish, layer upon layer of complexity. There was just something surreal about it all and when I was half way through, with the creamy buttermilk and the tomato juice flowing, I found what it was this dish had me thinking of the entire time – gazpacho! It was a modern and truly wonderful way of presenting a cold tomato soup. I just loved it.

smoked goldmans tomatoes, autumn onions, kunzea oil, puffed wild rice, buttermilk

smoked goldmans tomatoes, autumn onions, kunzea oil, puffed wild rice, buttermilk

robbins island wagyu bavette, garlic, lettuce, lower east side sours, apple + lovage.

With a tomato wonder preceding our hopes were high for the wagyu bavette. The beef was great, sous vide and charred so well I could have eaten 20 of them, and quite possibly more. But that was about it really, the rest seemed a little here and there. Nothing to really gel the impeccably cooked beef to the rest of the dish. I love pickles and so I did enjoy the gherkin and the ‘sours’ but they just did nothing to lift the beef or tie it all together.

robbins island wagyu bavette, garlic, lettuce, lower east side sours, apple + lovage

robbins island wagyu bavette, garlic, lettuce, lower east side sours, apple + lovage

holy goat “la luna”, toasted oat bread, honeycomb, dried leek, greengage ($18.00).

Seeing as though it was only a three course meal, and Mr O had opted for an extra course of oysters to start, the rest of us opted for an extra course to finish the savoury. This savoury extra was a cheese, Holy Goat’s ‘la luna’. Impeccable presentation, the cheese had a wonderful citrus nature and being so soft was a great texture to go against the flakes of dried leek and scattering of honeycomb. The sweetness of the greengage was spot on and so fitting to a cheese with a nice nutty finish.

holy goat "la luna", toasted oat bread, honeycomb, dried leek, greengage

holy goat 'la luna', toasted oat bread, honeycomb, dried leek, greengage

blueberries, cream + gold corn mousse, parsnip ice cream, meringue.

Dessert arrived and from the get go we were skeptical. It does not matter how skilled you are, or who you trained under, sometimes some flavours are just not meant to work. This dessert was definitely skirting along the line of this thought. Now I do not like blueberries, they just do nothing for my palate so it was probably never going to be a dish I liked anyway. But still it was just a bit meh, never hitting any spot for a dessert, not sweet, or sour, or even all that creamy. Just a bunch of flavours that must be hip and of course then combined to make a dessert that only those in the know, know.

blueberries, cream + gold corn mousse, parsnip ice cream, meringue

blueberries, cream + gold corn mousse, parsnip ice cream, meringue

And that was it, the latest dinner reservation I’ve ever had (we didn’t sit down until 10:15pm) and one of the most hyped places I’ve ever eaten at. Disappointment was the definite tone for all four of us. Even if the food was stellar the staff let it down anyway as they weren’t overly friendly. It is a MASSIVE shame as sidecar was just so damn awesome – even Em raved about the deep fried olives – and she hates olives. All the nibbles we had were divine. Brilliant wine and great service. Just loved every bit of it. With Garagistes we had high expectations but it really didn’t live up to them. Would head back to sidecar in a heartbeat but Garagistes can wait a while.

103 Murray Street
Hobart TAS 7000
(03) 6231 0558
Garagistes Website

Garagistes on Urbanspoon

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Miss Piggy June 11, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Oh what a bummer that you got in SO late (I like to be in bed by 9.30pm so that time would NEVER work for me) and what a shame the restaurant didn’t live up the hype and your expectations – it sucks when that happens. Sidecar sounds like a hoot though.
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milkteaxx June 11, 2013 at 4:15 pm

sad to hear you were disappointed but atleast you could say that youve been there done that! i am planning to go at the end of the year, will be keeping an eye out for more of your posts!
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Stuart June 12, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Seriously, this is one of the best restaurants in Australia. Top 10 for mine. I’ve been 4 times (3 of those solo so ate at the bar) but always, always arrived by 5:30pm (during MOFO in Jan I queued at 4:50). The staff were totally fabulous with Sommelier Katrina Birchmier being one of the finest I have encountered (she also shone bright at a Merivale / Garagistes dinner in Sydney at Bistrode CBD). The food is seasonal, sensational and perfectly paced. My first visit was in 2011 and the menu was still a la carte. This year I had the 5 course menu which was a delight. The food is new and clean and produce driven. I’ve seen it copied in Sydney. Highly recommend going back but be early, mid week maybe and definitely not at easter.


Lex June 12, 2013 at 2:33 pm

Hi Stuart – sounds like you’ve had some great experiences at Garagistes! The meal started extremely well but after all the hype we were expecting much more from the rest of the meal and we left disappointed. Not in my top 10 I’m afraid. Perhaps we’ll have a better experience next time around.


Annie @ The Random Foodie June 12, 2013 at 10:00 pm

the food looks beautifully presented but it sucks that the experience was poor for you 🙁
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