Franklin | Restaurant | Hobart | David Moyle | Ben Lindell | Natural wine

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Review
 
Franklin HeartHeartHeart
Restaurants and bars
Hobart
Open: Bistro Mon - Sat, restaurant: 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 has now been widely acknowledged as Tasmania's leading restaurant ever since it opened. The menu features the best of Tasmania's amazing produce with an emphasis on fresh seafood. The wine list features a carefully curated range of natural wines from Australia, France and Italy. There is also an interesting selection of beers from Tasmania and beyond.
There is a view of the open kitchen from every table and the seats at the dining room bar offer the opportunity to watch the chefs at work up close. You will see them moving food into and out of the purpose built Scotch oven - possibly one of the only ones built for a restaurant in Australia. It has a fire box on the left side where the wood burns vigorously. Next to it is the large oven with a vent to the fire box. A flue on the right side of the oven draws the heat from the fire box over the food and up the flue thus providing the radiant heat necessary to cook the food and provide it with a light lick of smoke as well.
We have eaten in the restaurant on a number of occasions now and can confirm that it is producing superb food of a quality similar to the best restaurants in Sydney, Paris and San Francisco. But it is the Tasmanian products that the chefs source that make it truly special.
We have been amazed at a starter snack of leek topped with fresh sea urchin roe sitting on a nasturtium leaf that you use as a wrap. It is a briny, herby, vegetably jumble of delicious flavours in a tiny package.
A constant on the menu is a fish such as raw kingfish with flavourings such as seaweed, salted daikon, horseradish and sour cream. The fish is always beautifully fresh and the accompaniments classic.
Another dish that blew us away was roasted sweetbreads on parsley root cream with crumbs made from black olives and parsley root skin which was cooked in the oven to take up the smoky flavours that gave this dish a fragile complexity.
On one occasion we also tried the wood roasted abalone with kelp. The abalone had been roasted and then sliced very thinly before being reassembled in the pretty shell. The flesh was succulent, rich and very, very tender.
But we have to admit that the dish that draws us back again and again is the wood roasted pigeon with a perfectly-executed emulsion sauce that is so deep in flavour that none is ever left on our plate. This is cooking at its best. Perfectly pink breasts of pigeon with the legs served with the feet still on make a simple statement on the plate. Perfection doesn't need adornment.
Even desserts are transformed through the use of the oven. At a recent meal a dessert of wood-roasted strawberries with goats' curd ice cream was a standout. However bay leaf ice cream with deeply complex lemon jam and a dish of almond and honey cake that had been baked in the oven were also outstanding.
The wine list is comprised of 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).
It is therefore nice to see the wines from d’Meure from Birchs Bay in Tasmania sitting comfortably beside some of the superstars from Italy and France such as the refined l‘Anglore wines from the Rhone Valley, the stunning textural wines of Le Coste from Lazio (our favourite is the Rosso made from Greghetto), the 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!
Our judgement of this restaurant as the best in Tasmania has been further endorsed by the recent Australia-wide poll of Australian chefs who voted Franklin in the top 10 restaurants in Australia among some very strong competition!
 
     
 

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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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