Once upon a time my mother asked me what it was I like so much about food, where the essence of my ‘foodie’ snobbery had originated and why must I always whinge about crap food in dingy restaurants and never fully appreciate the glory of a good, solid counter meal? I was stumped, because to me the answer was very simple. It wasn’t even an answer so much as fact of life:
Doesn’t everyone like food?
I am aware that there are exceptions to this, and I apologise to any insecure anorexic/bulimic twats, who are reading this and thinking ‘no one understands me’ (because they’re right: I don’t understand them).
Food is life, it is our source, it is energy and vitality and experience. And yes, as a student I do spend most of my time drinking red bull and consuming numerous cup of soups, but that doesn’t make me any less enthusiastic about the prospect of eating something truly delicious (by which I mean chocolate cake for breakfast).
Why are we, as a society so obsessed with the concept of food? If its not masterchef and one of Matt’s excellent cravats on the telly, it’s the Biggest Looser and overly fit, high achievers telling us that protein shakes and celery are the way to go. We, as a nation and a culture, are in the midst of a discourse on food. First we are taught discipline by the Biggest Loser, in the earlier part of the year. Where foods are coded as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ and contestants are punished and must repent for having eating ‘bad’ foods. Too evangelical for my liking, but then I’ll happily admit to being a heathen child. After the tyranny of the Biggest Loser comes the over-the-top food porn of Masterchef. From good and bad foods we are suddenly in the midst of over-indulgence. In a far, far away land where making a croquembouche is just another everyday task, albeit one to swear and cry over and relate back to the camera in a painstakingly boring fashion.
And what excellent food it is too. Yes, I am one of those people who can not be allowed near book shops, and particularly the cooking section, anywhere in the vicinity of pay day. But if you ask me (which you didn’t) Nigella Lawson is a goddess amongst mere mortals. And who wouldn’t want to create something amazing like home made croissants? Though, to be fair, croissants are a right pain in the arse to make.
And apart from being the scene of many an excellent restaurant, Tasmania is blessed with truly excellent foodie necessities, i.e. cheese and wine (yes, here I go on the ‘Tasmania is such a food bowl’ rant, but only briefly, I promise). Maybe this is true of other places, in fact I’m sure it is, but in Tasmania it just seems all the more real to me (probably because I live here and it is in fact a reality of living here).
And so, I come at last to my current faves, as far as eating out in Hobart goes. Ethos Eat Drink and Devil’s Kitchen.
Ethos Eat Drink is a relatively new addition to the Hobart restaurant scene. Most of the time I just look at it and think its so Melbourne town it hurts, but the fact is this restaurant is light years ahead of the competition and a welcome change to how we experience food (so there).
I’ve been there a couple of times. The first was just to get a cup of coffee and laugh at my two guys friends recounting their night out antics. And this was when I was first struck with the effort and general class that goes into the place, i.e they make their own teabags. Seriously. So cool I nearly had to steal one to make sure it was real. My second and third visits were with my girlfriends for lunches (so sex and the city, I know). Ethos works under a tapas framework, so rather then ordering set meals you instead order a selection of smaller plates and then graze away whilst drinking too much wine. I can not stress how amazing the food was. Yes, the prices are terrifying, but god damn it’s worth it. The beef cheek is wonderful and if you ever get the chance to have the pate with orange jelly, jump on it with both hands stat.
And now to Devil’s Kitchen. This is something of a stark contrast to Ethos, but wonderful none the less. Devil’s Kitchen is on main road Sandy Bay, in Battery Point and from the front you’d find yourself wondering what all the hype was about. The entrance is a small counter and Bain Marie where you can order/salivate over the menu. Alternatively, you can navigate your way to the dining room to sit in front of the wood fire and do some more slobbering over the menu. By the way, did I mention their speciality was burgers? Like actual, delicious, good, filling, nutritious burgers? I can’t even begin to describe how much I love this place. Whether it’s a Sunday morning and you’re hung over as fuck or Wednesday lunch time and you don’t have any money, this is a bloody excellent place to be.
And so that is it. My nominal rant and food wanking draw finally to a halt as I quickly run out of things to say. But seriously, whoever that twat was who said something along the lines of ‘life’s too short to eat bad food’ pretty much hit the nail on the head. And from my point of view a truer word were never spoken,