The Thousands: Garagistes

11.17.11

The wonderful Right Angle Publishing recently launched their Thousands Select project – a sequence of ThreeThousand-esque mini-guides for lesser known cities in Australia. First off the blocks was Hobart and I was lucky enough to contribute a couple of pieces. This is my take on new high-end eatery, Garagistes.

There’s a whiff of “House of Targét” to the name Garagistes, but rest assured the edge of suburban pretension very much begins and ends with the word itself. Walking through the front door and into the pared-back, industrially edged interior – all open spaces, communal tables and convivial atmosphere – immediately feels like walking into one of Melbourne or Sydney’s more in-vogue restaurants. Well, it would, except for the fact that Garagistes actually wipes the floor with most of them.

Garagistes calls itself a wine bar, but with food like this the presence of such a detailed wine list almost feels like an afterthought. The menu makes use of the best and most sustainable flora, fauna, fungi and errata that the southern isle has to offer, resulting in an array of forward-thinking (but not over-thought) share plates that are less contemporary Australian than they are contemporary Hobartian.

The Bruny Island oysters – steamed with apple cider, walnut oil and lemon balm – are life-changing, while the grilled fatty lamb ribs are as nutrition-free and guiltily delicious as the name would suggest, and the uncannily tender roast sweetbreads completely changed my opinion of the humble thymus gland.

But perhaps most enticing of all is the ethic of slowness that permeates the entire venture. No reservations and none of the hectic clatter and rush that attaches to most mainland eateries of this stature. Just exceptional food served at a leisurely pace, giving you the chance to really unwind into one of the better dining experiences in the country.