Franklin Hobart – inventive cooking
Lots of restaurants make a big deal of sourcing local ingredients but it’s not common to find one that uses them so inventively – enter Franklin Hobart.
Tasmania is noted for excellent produce – seafood, meat, dairy, wine. Franklin opened in 2014 in a redeveloped space that once housed a Ford showroom and the Hobart Mercury newspaper. It’s definitely destination dining – easy to walk past on a quiet city street once the office lights are turned off.
The restaurant floor is quite large. There’s a bar at the front with, happily, a roaring wood fire – a haven on a cool Hobart winter’s evening. The overall effect is both minimalist and luxe, with a smattering of animal skins and fluffy cushions. It was a rather pleasant place to settle in with a Spotty Dog IPA and the barman’s own take on a Cosmopolitan, made with rose. It was a clever play on a classic cocktail.
Still, the focus is on the kitchen and the food. Most seats are on high stools overlooking the open kitchen, which has an enormous wood-fired oven and that’s where most of the magic happens. We happily perched on two stools just next to the pass, where chef Analiese Gregory presides. She’s had stints at Sydney fine diner Quay, Mugaritz in Spain and The Ledbury in London, taking over the kitchen at Franklin Hobart in July 2017.
Like most Hobart restaurants, Franklin has a ‘feed me’ option. This is A$85 per head and takes account of dietary requirements and the occasional special request – for us it was a daily special of striped trumpeter, but more on that later.
Settling in, we ordered a bottle of Tasmanian sparkling wine to share. This was a most unusual blend, riesling and pinot noir, 2017 Dr Edge ‘Dr Ongo’. It was a good accompaniment to food although it would be a challenging tipple solo. It was a slightly cloudy, bright pink wine
And so, to the food. The menu is on the small side and varies a bit from season to season. It’s divided into small plates and a few of more substance. We started off with some very good dark sourdough bread, followed by some nibbles to share.
First up was chicken liver parfait sandwiched between yeast crisps. The parfait was smooth and delectable and the crisps light, crunchy and a very good foil. Delish.
Next we had crisp octopus dumplings with saltbush. OMG. These were a delight. Crunchy, soft, salty. All the food groups. Yum.
Our third share plate was lamb belly with quince glaze. This was perfectly edible but Greedy Girl didn’t particularly enjoy the texture of the meat. Gluttonous husband hoovered it up.
Next, we had a special – striped trumpeter sashimi with horseradish cream and yacon – a South American veggie that looks like potato but is also known as Peruvian ground apple. This was fresh, light, tangy and beautiful. Spectacular colours too.
Our next dish was a beautiful combination – burrata with jerusalem artichoke, slippery jack mushroom and toasted spelt. Great flavours, great textures, great vegetarian option.
It was time for some seafood. This was wood roasted octopus with sweet and sour currants and smoked almonds. Very clever, very pretty and very tasty.
There’s nothing like potato on a cold evening. This was a King Edward potato galette with onion and manzanilla sherry sauce. Glistening, golden and very satisfying.
Our final savoury course was lamb. Wood-roasted littlewood lamb was served with broad bean leaves, salsify, black garlic and anchovies. This was a nice dish but one that gluttonous husband enjoyed more than Greedy Girl.
We moved on to dessert and we were lucky enough to be able to request our preferred dish. This was another unique plate – crispy potato with brown butter and salted caramel (pictured at the top of this post). Certainly an unusual combination but it worked really well and, thankfully, wasn’t overly sweet.
And we were done. Draining the last of the wine, we were happy to pull ourselves together and head out into the cold.
This is a hugely fun and enjoyable food experience. We chatted to the chefs and wait staff throughout the evening and enjoyed every minute. It’s certainly very good value for a tasting menu and we’re keen to go back to try more.
30 Argyle Street, Hobart