I just realised it’s quite odd to start a post with a picture of bread and butter…not very exciting is it! It is, however, the first course of many that we ate at FRANKLIN in Hobart. FRANKLIN is definitely one of the most well-known restaurants in Hobart, if not Tasmania. I had the pleasure of meeting David Moyle, Franklin’s original co-owner and head chef, a few years ago at the Margaret River Gourmet Escape, an event I worked on for some time. I was excited to finally try out his food, even though when we went two weeks ago, he had just left to go to Melbourne! Bad timing unfortunately!
We decided to go for the ‘Feed Me’ Option ($85) where they bring up the best dishes for you to try. It ended up being a huge 10 course feast, leaving us very, very full by the end.
A couple of small dishes to start. We enjoyed some good quality, crusty bread with beautiful cultured butter, as well as a bite each of the Blackman Bay Oysters ($4 each) and the Chicken Liver Parfait with yeast crisps ($4 each). Yeast crisps may not sound very appetising, but really they’re just like very thin and delicate crisp bread. I’m not a fan of oysters at all but I thought I’d give it another go considering they were such good quality and fresh. Nope – still tastes like a mouthful of mushy seawater to me! The chicken liver parfait, on the other hand, was super smooth and tasty.
Next up we had a salad-y dish followed by the first of quite a few seafood dishes. The Radishes with milk curds and parsley oil ($14) may have actually been one of my favourite dishes! Radishes do fall into my list of under-appreciated vegetables. It was great to see them as the centrepiece of a dish like this! In some ways it was actually quite a bland dish, especially because the milk curds were definitely not as flavoursome as goats curd. But I just love that kind of alkaline taste of the radishes by themselves!
Possibly one of my favourite dishes was followed by my least favourite dish of the night: Torched mackerel with wakame, sea blite and yogurt ($17). I didn’t realise until we got the dish that torched mackerel was literally just, torched. Most of the fish was still raw, which gave it an extremely fishy taste and smell. I really struggled with this so I handed it over to DS, who is a lover of all things mackerel, anchovy, sardines…you get the idea! The wakame and sea blite (both are basically seaweeds) added to that fishy taste and it really didn’t work for me. If you’re not into fishy fish, make sure you ask them to leave this dish out!
Next up was another vegetable dish. In hindsight, I love how they alternated between vegetable and meat/seafood. I do have an inner vegetarian in me and it made me very happy! The Roasted leek with pickled walnut and Pyengana cheddar ($16) was quite unusual and not what I expected. These were very fat leeks, roasted in the oven over the open fire (you can watch this happening if you’re sitting at the bar!) and basically just covered in cheese. So yum! We also actually went to the Pyengana dairy farm later in our trip so it was cool to see them using local produce!
The Wood roasted octopus with fermented cabbage and lovage seed ($24) was a great, tangy dish. The fermented cabbage gave an acidic flavour to the smooth octopus flesh that I think worked really well!
I’ve given you two photos of the Spelt polenta with toasted saltbush, broadbean leaf and black truffle ($32) because it was truly magnificent. If DS and I had to agree on a favourite dish of the night it would’ve been this. The polenta was incredibly smooth and flavoursome in its own right, but the addition of the saltbush, broadbean leaf and truffle really elevated it to the next level. Firstly, truffle makes everything great. The saltbush leaves not only added a crunchy texture, you’d also get a quick hit of saltiness every now and then. The broadbean leaf really served to mellow everything out and kind of balanced the whole dish. Yum!
The final savoury dish was the huuuuge Cape Grim beef rump cap with fermented white strawberry ($40). After everything we’d eaten already, we couldn’t finish this unfortunately. It was also accompanied by a simple salad with mustard dressing. Don’t get me wrong, the meat was incredibly good quality and tasty. However, it was slightly undercooked for me. I’m not an advocate of well-done by all means, but this was so rare that it made me think of just…raw meat. You don’t want that thought when you’re at a beautiful restaurant! So for this dish – good quality, perhaps not my taste.
Luckily they don’t try and give you multiple dessert courses at FRANKLIN like on some tasting menus. The Olive oil parfait with crushed pink lady apple and bay ($14) was the perfect end to our meal. After the first bite we both looked at each other and thought – yes! This is exactly how olive oil was always supposed to be used and to taste! You really need to try olive oil parfait for yourself. Yes, it sounds weird but it seriously just works. The crushed apple was also the perfect amount of sweet, saucy and tangy to balance out the parfait. Double thumbs up for this dish!
If I had to give any feedback about the whole dining experience at FRANKLIN it would be that we had one plate each to use for at least the first 6-7 courses. That’s a lot of different flavours you’re putting on your plate, ones that often don’t mix. I got annoyed when I had a bit of sauce leftover from the previous dish that was now making its way into the next bit of food! Otherwise I would say that we really did enjoy FRANKLIN but not every dish was to our liking. Perhaps just pick what you like from the menu instead of doing the tasting menu!
30 ARGYLE STREET