Saturday, July 09, 2005

Marque IV - Hallowed be thy name

Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah! I’ve got a new toy. Finally, a new restaurant to play with, one that is pretty and shiny and dazzling.

Last night was opening night at Marque IV on Elizabeth St Pier, next to T42. It has taken over the site of what was the abysmal Athena’s. Not sure I love the name, but ‘Marque’ is French for produce I was told, and the IV is in reference to being the fourth restaurant to occupy the site. Clever.

The menu is an exercise in torment. True to their name, it is produce driven, and local, local, local: Marrawah beef, Dootown venison, Spring Bay scallops, Macquarie Harbour ocean trout. There is squid ink risotto with baby abalone, duck, oysters, the list goes on. Choosing is almost impossible, and there are four courses to choose from: appetizers, entrées, mains, and dessert (entrées were around $16, mains were around $30). The better news is that not only is the menu enticing, these buggers can cook! The wine list is good and not over-priced.

Waiters were friendly, professional, and efficient, and knew their menu inside and out. Recommendations were spot on. I saw Jim from T42 buzzing about like a busy bee, and the spunky blonde guy from Teef (and from Brew as I’ve said previously) was also on hand. Do the Teef crew have their fingers in this little pie too?

The décor is rich and lush and warm. Burgundy, bronze, gold, with gorgeous and quirky details (such as a 50s conch shell lamp that I’m sure I saw the other week in a second hand shop). The feel is warm luxury. There is even moisturiser in the ladies loo.

All bets are off, I am no longer maintaining my neo-virginal status in anticipation of Meyjitte’s Hobart restaurant. Marque IV is my new love.

A truly divine dining experience, with the holy trinity of food, service, and ambience well and truly covered.

Well done, you rock!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Lunch at Teef

Had lunch at T42 today ... it's been far too long. Afraid I chickened out and sat inside; just a bit too nipply for me to sit outdoors in the sunshine today.

I had a rather interesting red (just the one glass, it was a 'business ladies lunch' after all) - it was Portuguese. Haven't had Portuguese wine before. Rather liked it. It smelt a bit like nail polish, but it was good in the mouth (ah, like so many things). Nice cherry 'finish', as they say. Added a lovely rosy glow to my cheeks.

The biggest problem I have with the menu at T42 is knowing what to order. I'm always stuck between two or three equally interesting choices. Was tossing up between ratatouille risotto and goats cheese and hazelnut ravioli. In the end I ordered the ravioli, because it was served with a sticky shiraz glaze (hmmmm, red wine on winter days and I'm anyone's). The entree size was plenty for me. It was tasty, and allowed the subtle flavours of the hazelnuts, the goats cheese, and the fresh pasta to come through the wine glaze. Yummo.

If only I could have spent the afternoon drinking, eating, talking. (Really, I'm beginning to think I have an oral fixation!)

GW ;-)

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Satis - My Heart Aches for Brenna

We gathered newspapers and headed to Satis on Sandy Bay Road for a Saturday morning cuppa. We knew the cafe in the old ramshackle house-and-garden setting next to the Metz was for sale, but had put it out of our minds. It had been on the market a while. Whenever we dropped in we'd ask Brenna if there was any progress on the sale, and "Nah, not yet" was always the answer. But today we were met with new faces and signs reading: "Juice Bar" and "Under New Management". The garden furniture was gone, the sparkling fish pond drained.

Boo hoo, where's Brenna gone?

We settled down on the verandah for coffees and muffins. The wicker chairs were still there, with their plump cushions. But inside the display of gorgeous teapots and pretty dishes and cups and saucers was greatly diminished. A sign said 50% off (better be quick). No more teapots. They will be replaced by "Tasmanian Craft" we were told. Oh.

There were some books on the counter (something about breaking bad food habits - whatever they might be), and a rather large Ganesh-style elephant with a great gob of resin for a teardrop from it's eye. It all smacked of something far too serious.

The good news is that there are little dainties to nibble on from Jean Pasqual. Bad news is the coffee seemed a little watery. But maybe this is just a teething problem. The service is warm and friendly, and the location is great (got to sit on the verandah, no matter what the weather). The sad shame is I only corrected someone the other day who accused me of having another favourite cafe with the reply "No, Satis is my favourite". Well, maybe it was Brenna who was my favourite.

Satis is still there, still pretty, still serving Chai Lattes. But it's just not the same. However I wish Satis the best of luck in its new guise. And I'm sure I'll get over my broken heart for the lovely Brenna. Eventually.


GW the HRB.