Written by THE FOOD SOCIETY on . Posted in $$ Moderately priced, $$$ A little bit fancy, Breakfast & Brunch, International, Modern Australian, Pub & Bar Food, VICTORIA

A whirlwind weekend in Hobart, Tasmania
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RACV/RACT Hobart Apartment Hotel
Location: 154-156 Collins Street, Hobart, Tasmania 7000
Contact: (03) 8657 0140

RACV/RACT Hobart Apartment Hotel website

This was my second time in Hobart for a holiday and it was an absolute pleasure to attend as a special guest of RACV/RACT Hobart Apartment Hotel. I have always had fond memories of Hobart – it’s a lustrous, beautiful space, and a wonderful way to escape the bustle that so often consumes Victorian life.

Aptly located within close walking distance of the pier, Salamanca Markets and Hobart’s premier shopping strip, the Apartment Hotel is a sight to behold. The entire block has just undergone a spectacular, 14-month-long renovation, with each space being carefully crafted and maximised to a tee. The result is a gorgeous celebration of old and new, where historic touches and the old Cascade brewery office (heritage-listed) and on-site stables are reinvigorated to blend in with modern finishings. After speaking with the warm staff there, and having viewed pictures of the transformation process myself, I can honestly say that the journey has been well worth the effort and it is a true testament to the team’s patience that they were able to ensure the smooth running of the hotel while construction continued throughout the precinct.

cascade dscf1515 dscf1517 Food is, of course, an essential part of any Tassie trip and it is no secret that Tasmania is home to some of the finest produce (of the meat, seafood, wine, whisky, cheese and gin varieties) in the world. One place that celebrates each of that aspects so well is Charcoal Restaurant.

The restaurant, which overlooks the Collins Street strip, has been renovated in a manner that reflects the sophistication and fineness of the dining it delivers. The menu is pared back, with a few guaranteed crowd favourites (think gorgeous steak, crumbed market fish and spiced lamb shoulder), as well as a few more adventurous bites on the menu (the chef tells me his favourite on the menu is an Asian-inspired peking style roast duck).

With a view to capitalise on Tasmania’s wonderful Cape Grim Beef, we each opt for the scotch and eye fillets, both medium rare.

Cape Grim is located in the far northwest corner of Tasmania, shaped by wild Southern Ocean swells and abundant rainfall, and has what is often described as the cleanest air in the world. The difference in the quality and ‘value’ of the meat is not measured by how heavy a feedlot can grow the beef. Rather, the farmers take pride in looking after the animals from when they are born to when they are sent to Greenham – and it shows in the taste that flows through. Cape Grim steaks are amongst the best that we have ever had in Australia, and those served at Charcoal Restaurant were drool-worthy.

dscf1519 dscf1520 Dessert is similarly delicious – a chocolate tart and eton mess easily catch our eye.

The chocolate tart is decadent but peters on the ‘light’ side of rich, with an aero-like crumb breaking through a smooth caramelised banana mousse. We both prefer the eton mess, which comes peppered with pops of meringue shards and sharp berries. Delicious.

dscf1465 dscf1466 dscf1468 dscf1473 dscf1471 With the apartment being so close to Hobart’s most-celebrated treasures, we are able to spend most of the remainder of the weekend wandering around the beautiful city and taking advantage of the gorgeous weather.

Market vendors selling sweet-smelling pine and other wooden products carved to perfection, famous scallop homemade pies, tea cakes and vibrant bunches of flowers abound – there is truly something for everyone. We walk away with some lovely blackwood and pine souvenirs for friends and family, finished and smoothed down lovingly by hand.

dscf1494 dscf1499 dscf1509 dscf1512 Afterwards, it’s a stroll to Brooke St Pier (within 2 minutes walking distance from the markets) to take the ferry to the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA).

I should say that MONA is a place that elicits varying, and almost polar, responses from people. I’d been advised by an equal number of friends and family who fell into two camps: on the one side, those who absolutely waxed lyrical about it, and on the other side, those that hated it and couldn’t wait for the experience to be over. “It’s not art”, a friend said to me, on the day that I boarded the plane.

The actual museum is housed in a huge complex that has been built on a sea-side location a little way off from Hobart’s centre, and has been a mainstay for tourists since its inception. The art itself is controversial, thought-provoking, and a step away from traditional notions of art, so be prepared. Personally, I absolutely loved it, and I walked away being moved by several pieces on show. That being said, my companion who was counting this as her second visit to MONA, hated it the first time and was ‘indifferent’ the second time round. See what I mean by polar experiences?

I can confirm that there is an exhibit involving 70 casts of female genitalia. Yes kids, that did happen, and that’s just the least of it. Oh, and I won’t spoil the rest for you – it’s an experience that definitely must be seen to be believed!

cascade After such a jam-packed weekend, we virtually collapse at Cascade Bar – a wonderful place to hang that is housed in the historic Cascade Brewery Office. All of the greatest Tasmanian beers are out to play and on tap, and the house also stocks a great range of Australian whiskies and gins for those looking to explore the Tasmanian drip. It’s a warm, inviting space, and one that is big yet cosy enough for larger groups.

The rooms themselves are incredibly spacious and comfortable – think king sized beds and fluffy doonas. The space comes fully equipped with a kitchen, dining utensils, a separate closed-off bedroom and separate TVs for each of the dining and sleeping areas. Bathrooms are massive with bath and rainfall showers. It’s everything you need for an excellent stay.

standard penthouse Sunday of course comes a touch too soon, and before we know it, we’re whisked off to the airport.

But it’s definitely not a farewell – the stay has been impressive and memorable, and one which we would easily recommend to friends and family thinking of going on a trip.

Hobart, it’s been a blast, but we’ll see you next time. Thank god you are only an hour’s flight time away.

The Food Society flew, wined, dined and reclined on a complementary basis.

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