I would like to take the opportunity to welcome a new visitor to the site, who is also a visitor to Hobart. The anonymous comment was posted today, and it highlighted for me that it is not just the cynical chattering classes of Hobart who despair over food and service quality here. Our Victorian Visitor complained thusly:
Bless you Ms W - just come across your site today and it is long past due that the whacks be laid in. We visit Tas 2 or 3 times a year, Hobart usually in there, and have come to despair of eating out in your fair city. That's not to say that the raw produce isn't fantastic. We make pilgrimages to the Hmong gardeners, the Wursthaus, the oysterers [surely the French have a name for it - huitrines?] with the sole regret that we don't have a kitchen of our own to hand. But eating out? It's merely a necessity to be borne until we get the goodies home. I guess it's not that the food is fairly conventional and the service is erratic, but that the prices being asked are out of keeping with the content. If all I can get in Hobart is ordinary food I'm prepared to pay ordinary prices, but Sydney prices? All that said, Hobart doesn't have the monopoly on poor service. I had read much about The European in Melbourne and finally got there a couple of weeks ago. Won't be back. I'm too old to put up with the kind of crap that used to be de rigeur at the Black Cat in Fitzroy.
In my earlier days I spent quite some time at both the Black Cat in Fitzroy and The Galleon in St Kilda. The service in both establishments was legend. You know the sort: hennaed hair, Brains glasses, sour look, and superior attitude. But the coffees were good and it was kind of cool to pay someone to make you feel inferior (why do you think the Dominatrix is such a sought after service provider?). These days though, it is not cool for staff to think that the Soup Nazi a la Seinfeld is a model to aspire to. And it is deplorable that visitors are left wishing for their own kitchen to make the culinary aspect of their Tasmanian travels more palatable. We all know that we have excellent produce and wonderful locations. In summertime, where better to sip champagne by the water in the summer sun. In wintertime, where would you rather be sipping on a gutsy red in front of the fire when there's snow on the mountain and the sky is that dazzling blue? Our chefs and our restaurant owners should be experts in maximising the assets we have here. But alas.
To add salt to the wound, see Graeme Phillips' article in the Sunday Tasmanian (Sunday 5 Dec, 2004) for an illustration of the depths some establishments are stooping to: frozen fish and mis-truths about produce availability. Naughty naughty naughty. We think we know who won't be on Santa's list this year!