Franklin | Restaurant | Hobart | Analiese Gregory | Natural wine

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Review
 
Franklin HeartHeartHeart
Restaurants and bars
Hobart
Open: Lunch Fri - Sat, dinner Tue - Sat
Price: Moderate

Reviewed By

Sue Dyson and Roger McShane
Phone Number: +61 3 6234 3375
Address: 28 Argyle St
Hobart, Tasmania, 7000
Country: Australia

Franklin in Hobart has been widely acknowledged as Tasmania's leading restaurant ever since it opened. Aside from its beautiful aesthetic, the menu features the best of Tasmania's amazing produce with an emphasis on seafood and local vegetables and its mantra has always been to cook them in such a way to make the most of their flavours and textures and show them in all their glory. If you have eaten flathead, celeriac, oysters, lamb or pretty much anything at Franklin it will amongst the best you’ve ever eaten, and it won’t be messed around with too much such that its quality is concealed.
Its founding chef and the driving force behind its conception and philosophy was David Moyle. He left Tasmania some time ago to take on a consulting project for a wine bar in Melbourne called Longsong for the Van Haandel group who he’d worked for before his eight or so very good years in Tasmania. While he kept a close association with the Franklin things were not quite the same without his daily input into the menu. Some very good young chefs interpreted his menu but it was not quite like having Moyle, who’s one of the most talented improvisers we know, in the kitchen literally devising dishes for interesting new ingredients that might have arrived that day.
So, we were delighted when in July 2017 it was announced that talented, young (despite her many years of experience!) chef, Analiese Gregory, would take the helm. Analiese, originally from New Zealand, spent many years in a senior position at Quay after working in leading kitchens in London and Paris. She left Quay when she had the opportunity to work for a season with revered chef, Michel Bras and his son Sébastien in Laguiole and, subsequently, spent time in the test kitchen at Mugaritz in San Sebastián.
We have always been great fans of her cooking so much so that when she spent a couple of months working on a project in Fes in Morocco in 2014, we took time out to make a flying visit – literally a less than 24 hours experience in Morocco as a slight detour from our annual visit to French vineyards so we could try what she was cooking. We were blown away by the dishes that night and by the efforts she’d made to get the very best ingredients under difficult conditions. Apart from stunningly unexpected things like a whiter than white granita made with camel's milk we ate the best figs we’ve ever eaten, the most extraordinary honey and much more.
She returned to Sydney and eventually became a part owner at Bar Brosé in Darlinghurst where she immediately became renowned for a number of signature dishes. We’re pleased that at least one, the crisp potato with brown butter and salted caramel dessert, travelled with her, along with her pet rabbit, to Tasmania.
Analiese Gregory has been the perfect choice to hand the reins of this important restaurant to. Nearly two months into her stint when we updated this review, she’s been respectful of what she’s inherited (whole flathead with roe butter or salt-baked celeriac, both cooked in the purpose built Scotch oven, while not identical, keep a connection with the past) but is putting a distinctive personal stamp on the food. Equally importantly though, there’s a feeling of rejuvenation and energy that’s especially noticeable to locals who have seen the restaurant through its various phases since it opened in 2014.
As in the era when Moyle was in situ, the menu is fluid. For locals, there’s a need to visit regularly for fear of missing out on something that may only be possible for a few days because it’s dependent on briefly available seasonal ingredients. There are many though we hope get to stay around, including light-as-a-feather potato bread with guanciale and an anchovy dressing, topped with greens from one of Tasmania's best vegetable producers, Provenance Growers. And hopefully the wood-roasted cabbage with flathead roe butter and ricotta salata won’t disappear any time soon. We love the idea of taking a vegetable such as the cabbage and elevating it to a starring role where it deserves to be. We don't support the notion that there is a hierarchy of vegetables with some being better than others. They just need to be treated in the right way - and on this occasion the treatment was perfect. A potato galette is another equally delicious vegetable-only dish.
Lunches offer a slightly more limited menu but with some lunchtime only options which always include a pasta dish of some sort (always unique and sometimes involving sea urchin) and, at least at the moment, some truly rich and delicious lamb sausage rolls. The teasing “only at lunch” Instagram posts - yes “Goose leg, fermented mushroom, Portuguese cabbage, maltagliati” you were one - are difficult to deal with if you live in the same town and can’t make it there!
The importance of cheese is one big change. It’s incorporated into many dishes and it’s now virtually all made at the restaurant. Gregory’s idea of a day off is to return to Franklin to make cheese and, with help from a friend and self-taught cheesemaker Bruce Kemp, is making some extraordinary cheeses. One way to follow her cheese progress is via her @analiesegregory Instagram post or, better still, try dishes such as burrata curds served with some of the day’s most interesting vegetables (winter carrots or Jerusalem artichoke crisps, for example) individual wood-baked cheeses with raw honey and lemon thyme or Brie-style cow’s milk cheese infused with wild mushroom as a savoury alternative to or before dessert.
Apart from the food, one of the other reasons we’ve always loved this restaurant is because it has one of the best natural wine lists in Australia. Lovingly (that word is used very deliberately) curated by sommelier Forbes Appleby, it has a wonderful range of Australia and European wines as well as an extensive selection of sakes, plus beers and spirits from Tasmania and beyond. These are wines that match the food on offer. The food is largely organic being sourced from some of the best spray-free producers throughout Tasmania, so it makes sense to only offer wines that are also organic and preferably natural (fermented naturally and with no chemical additions in the winemaking process).
This is one of the last places you can find the cult d’Meure wines from Birchs Bay in Tasmania (which no longer exists) which sit comfortably beside some of the superstars from Italy and France such as the delicious l‘Anglore wines from the Rhone Valley, textural wines from Radikon from Oslavia in north-east of Italy, cult Chenin Blanc and Pineau d’Aunis wines from Jean-Pierre Robinot in the Loire (disclaimer: we import his wines to Australia) and the ethereal Jura wines of Jean-François Ganevat.
We have taken interstate chefs, sommeliers and restaurant owners here as well as vignerons-cum-restaurant-owners from France and every one of them thoroughly enjoyed the chance to try the superb produce and the exciting wine list. This is definitely a destination venue for visitors to Hobart!
 
     
 

Tags: #Tasmania, #Franklin restaurant #Natural wines

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The editors of foodtourist.com supply some of the wines to Franklin through their wine importing business Living Wines.

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