What is there to say about the extraordinary Mona in Hobart? This is an art gallery-cum-museum that will shake your perceptions of art to the core – and the bonus is there is a number of very, very good food options.

On a recent long weekend in Hobart, Greedy Girl and gluttonous husband sallied forth to Mona (which stands for Museum of Old and New Art). It’s just under 10 kilometres from the city centre of Hobart and can easily be accessed by road or ferry.

Given the day looked a bit threatening, we opted for an Uber to head out. Mona is the creation of self-styled art ‘provocateur’ and gambler David Walsh. Apparently the man made his millions at the blackjack table and that’s funded some rather unique tastes in art, along with the adjacent Moorilla Estate winery.

Some people say Mona put Hobart on the world map – and that’s a long way from being hype. Mona is truly a feast for all the senses. By turns it’s fun, whimsical, awe-inpsiring and confronting. The views are wonderful and, happily, the food is brilliant.

Having wandered through exhibits and installations featuring everything from Egyptian sarcophagi to, ahem, a long hallway featuring plaster casts of women’s, er, ‘private parts’. We were ready to replenish ourselves. Having fed the mind and enjoyed a bit of exercise (there are a lot of stairs at Mona, but it caters well to people with disabilities), we headed for one of the many eating options on site.

Faro is in the Pharos pavilion. Both mean the same thing in different languages – lighthouse. Apparently Faro is Spanish and Pharos is Greek. It has sweeping views over Hobart’s Derwent River and the surrounding hills, including Mt Wellington. Despite a brief shower, the views remained bright and bold. Stunning.

Faro at Mona Hobart

The Derwent River

Faro at Mona Hobart

Great seating options

Faro at Mona Hobart

Comfy couches

Initially, we thought we’d just have a drink before heading back to Hobart city for a light lunch. We propped up at the bar, at the far end of the room. Gluttonous husband had a local dark ale, while Greedy Girl was intrigued by the ‘black margarita’.

Essentially, this is a regular lime margarita with the addition of activated charcoal. The black-on-black effect is enhanced by a black salt crust on one side of the glass.

Faro at Mona Hobart

The very wonderful black margarita

Happily sipping this delight and enjoying the sun at our backs, we settled in. Looking at the very accomplished-looking dishes being delivered around us, we decided to partake.

First up was a rather delectable combination of grilled scallops with spiced cauliflower, yoghurt and za-atar dusted black puffed rice.

Faro at Mona Hobart

Beautifully plated scallops and caulflower

The flavours and textures here were pretty much perfect. Puffed rice has a lot to recommend it, especially where all the other elements of a dish are soft. Delish.

Next we had seared Koji wallaby with pickled walnuts, cherries and a Pedro Ximenez sauce. This was very gamey and gluttonous husband really appreciated that the meat had not been cooked all the way through. It was a tasty plate of food but the pickling on the walnuts was a bit too strong for Greedy Girl. The sauce and cherries, however, were wonderful.

Faro at Mona Hobart

Wallaby, pickled walnuts, cherry

With the cocktails going down exceedingly well, we opted to have one more dish – churros (pictured at the top of this post). These were served on top of a pepperberry custard, dots of a Pedro Ximenez syrup, a chocolate crumb and quenelle of chocolate ice-cream. OMG. Greedy Girl was initially perturbed by the lack of a chocolate dipping sauce but this was PDF (Pretty Damn Fine).

And we were done. We clambered up from the pavilion, called our car, and headed back to the city.

Faro is nominally a tapas bar. Like the museum installations throughout Mona, the menu might well be totally different when you visit, but you can be assured of top quality produce put together in flavoursome combinations. It’s a great respite to spend a couple of hours sipping and snacking before, during or after your visit to the galleries.

Faro at Mona, Hobart

655 Main Road, Berriedale, Hobart


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