Sunday, January 30, 2005

The Axis of Evil

Lipscombe Larder, Hill St Grocer, Salad Bowl … it’s about time a comparison was made between these, Hobart’s dens of iniquity!

Lipscombe Larder, Sandy Bay Road, Sandy Bay.
The reputed mothership of suburban gourmet food stores (aside, of course, from the Wursthaus, which is in a league of its own).
Pretty good basil pesto, although I’m newly addicted to their spinach pesto … I’m hoping not to eat the whole jar in sneaked spoonfuls!
Excellent bread, possibly the best on offer in the foodstore mould. Love their Olive Toscano … could eat it all day.
Fabulous range of cheeses and Tassie wines.
Excellent cakes and chocolates and all that evil stuff.

The Hill St Grocer, Hill St, West Hobart.
Very often in the news, it seems.
Best range of produce this side of heaven. (Just watch me go berserk when the sacks of fresh broad beans or peas are in!) … Great deli section, with excellent variety of pre-prepared meals (try their couscous salad!).
Fabulous range of ‘international’ treats (mmmm, Dutch Breakfast Cake with coffee!).
“Not so squizzy” since their renovations a few years ago, but one still risks serious injury from basket rage at busy times. Such a shame (but what can they do?), as it means that I will avoid the place if it’s “that time of day”.

The Salad Bowl, Macquarie St, South Hobart.
Also undergone some sexy renovations.
Produce is good, good deli section, good bread … but what hooks me every time is their specials in the grocery section … Three tins of crab meat for bugger all, tubs of mussels for next to nothing. Cheeses discounted by the bucket load.
I love a bargain, and if it’s nibblies I’m after … it’s the Salad Bowl for me!

So, in a nutshell each of the triumvirate is unique in its own way. At Lipscombe you risk losing an eye from the proliferation of upturned collars. At Hill St you could be run down by a fleet of Subaru Foresters as you jostle for a park, or you could lose a kidney as you manoeuvre past me in the rush for the peas. As for the Salad Bowl, you’re more likely to be blinded by bare midriffs or rendered olfactorily senseless by the unique aroma of the Tarkine perfume. BUT … If it’s bread and pesto your after, head for Lipscombe. If it’s the full gamut of fresh produce you need (or indeed food advice), go to Hill St Grocer. And if you want a nibbly bargain, scoot to the Salad Bowl.

Don’t listen to the cries of “Oh, but it’s so expensive” to shop at our gourmet stores. This is a myth. No-one is suggesting you regularly buy your kitty litter or eau de cologne here, but in the case of fresh delicacies … if you want to prioritise price over flavour, go to Woollies … your choice.


Anonymous said...

Dear Goergie,
You're right about those three stores.
I never go to Hill St now, even though the shelves are full of great things. It's like an obstacle course, so narrow and confined and some people are downright rude when it comes to letting you pass.
Lipscombe is easier and great too.
Last week, me and the missus went to The Salad Bowl for some sambal pastes the girl from the Red Velvet Lounge and her pal make.
I'd heard they had it but they didn't that day.
But boy, oh boy. It was the first time we'd been in years and the choice was amazing.
We still spent $64 on goodies. Smoked Nicholl's chicken, their own lasagne, meat pies, some, fetta and (I think) vine leaf pasties. Some Herbie spices ( try the Kashmiri chillies, the perfume is wonderful).
Bread, we got bread and a pesto mix and a salad mix and so on.
Wow, are we lucky or what?

Cheers, anon.

Leonarda said...

We are very lucky! All three places are great, but in all you risk injury at peak times. So what, go when it's not busy if you're a wimpy or impatient shopper.
I love to go to The Salad Bowl on Saturday or Sunday,
grab the specials and then nip across the road to Mondo's Bakery for a week's supply of the best bread I've tasted outside Italy: the Mondo's ciabatta. (Cut the lovely, crunchy loaves in half, bag & freeze and you've got fresh bread every day).

Norma Immurs said...

I'm coming down to Hobart for the 1st time.. can't wait !! I'm a firm believer of REAL FOOD. Thanks Georgie for these excellent reviews/references.