Smolt and IXL Long Bar, Hobart

Here is the first of our posts about our adventure in Tasmania! The down “Down Under” as it is sometimes referred to.

On Day 1, we arrived in Hobart, Tasmania where we drove straight to the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) for an afternoon visit. After that, we checked into Hadleys Hotel, which is the OLDEST hotel in the whole of Tasmania! (Much to D2D’s dismay…)

By then, we hadn’t eaten anything since we’d left Sydney (at like 10am), but we were a bit starved, so we headed to the Salamanca area. This area is a bit akin to the Rocks in Sydney in that there are beautiful historic houses, cobblestone paths and alleyways which harken back to the colonial days.

Prior to our trip, we’d looked up and kind of planned where we wanted to eat. Out of Hobart CBD, I had trimmed it down to a few places and we ended up choosing:

Smolt Restaurant

  • Website:
  • Address: 2 Salamanca Square, Hobart TAS 7000
  • Open: daily from 8.30am for breakfast, lunch, dinner

We’d arrived a bit early at 5.30pm on a Sunday night, because we were hungry and also because there wasn’t much else to see at this time in Hobart (after sundown on a Sun night…).

Although the full dinner menu wasn’t quite available yet, by the time we finished looking at the menu and choosing a few things to share, it was well and truly dinner time.

Communal table
Communal table

When we went in, most of the tables appeared to be already pre-booked! This was surprisingly given it was a Sunday night… but luckily they have a big communal table in the center so we got to snag a corner. In the middle was a big bowl of fruits – yum.

Advice? Book ahead to get a private table – even on a Sun night!

The decor of Smolt is interesting, because the private tables make it a bit fancier, but then the communal table makes it quite casual. There’s definitely a European feel to the furniture.

But what is surprising is that we get FREE bread! Yay. Onto the food we actually ordered:

jamon croquettes, smoked peppers, aioli, dill, coriander $17.9
jamon croquettes, smoked peppers, aioli, dill, coriander $17.9

These are the croquettes – hot, crunchy and tasty. But perhaps rather expensive at $18! That’s like $4-5 each! But easy to forget when you’re gobbling it down…

Bar counter
Bar counter

Here is the bar counter. The service here was quite polite, though they did seem a bit distracted/understaffed at times. D2D was very thirsty and it was a bit of a struggle to wave down someone to get our water refilled.

roasted beetroot, asparagus, artichoke, caramelised pumpkin puree, kettering grown hazelnuts, goats curd, crouton salad $19.9
roasted beetroot, asparagus, artichoke, caramelised pumpkin puree, kettering grown hazelnuts, goats curd, crouton salad $19.9

This was the dish I was most impressed with at Smolt.

The photo kind of shortens the dish, but trust me, it was a pretty big portion size (very long plate) and there was just so many different elements! The pumpkin puree spread over everything was delicious. We polished it off, except for the nuts, which were a bit too plentiful…

We also didn’t finish the nuts, because we had ordered quite a bit:

tomato braised tasmanian octopus, grilled ciabatta 23.9
tomato braised tasmanian octopus, grilled ciabatta 23.9

Since we are here, some TASMANIAN octopus. It tastes like normal octopus, lol. This is served kind of like a ‘tapas’ style. But they gave us quite a bit of octopus, and with bread too! Yes, MORE bread we can’t possibly fit in, since we stuffed ourselves on the free stuff…

braised lamb shoulder, fresh tomato, eggplant chips, labne, rocket 25.9
braised lamb shoulder, fresh tomato, eggplant chips, labne, rocket 25.9

Lastly, and the biggest was pizza! This was a pretty good pizza, but we definitely struggled to finish.

All in all, Smolt is a good restaurant which surprised us with its hearty portions and popularity on a Sunday night. Some of the menu seems rather overpriced and in hindsight, I think the croquettes were not really special. The highlights would be the pizza and salad.

Smolt on Urbanspoon

To work off our dinner, we wandered around the wharf to:

Henry Jones IXL Long Bar:

The Henry Jones Art Hotel is a former IXL jam factory reinvented into an art hotel. Surprisingly, the IXL Long Bar was quite empty of people when we wandered in after dinner. It seemed that most restaurants were still busy with diners, or perhaps it was Sunday night and nobody was up for a drink before the start of the working week.

Regardless we decided to try some drinks and THIS is when we met a super bartender!

D2D orders his usual Old Fashioned. Bartender asks us what kind of whiskey we want, listing off a whole catalogue of whiskeys to choose from and gesturing at the wall of bottles behind him. We’re a bit clueless (the cheapest whiskey please?) and the bartender runs off to find a detailed menu of whiskeys to look at. He disappears out the back for a bit. When he comes back, we go with his recommendation: Monkey Shoulder Whiskey. He then proceeds to spend the next 10 minutes making what appears to be a super complicated version of Old Fashioned while we watch and admire.

This guy is like a magician! Everything is done with a flourish and he is determined (as he is examining the box of “special ice cubes”) to accept only the best. He tosses a “bad” one into the sink. He then take two of these ice cubes and using a kitchen knife, proceeds to chisel the ice into two perfect spheres! Seriously, his concentration is as if he is creating an ice sculpture and I worry his knife will slip and take off the skin on his fingers.

I’m undoubtedly gawking during this whole time.

I order a non-alcoholic Apple & Pomegranate Sour ($10), which is created with the same sense of magic and dramatic flourishes.


Perhaps, it’s the fact that the bar was pretty empty, but this bartender was amazing in the time/dedication that he put into our drinks. Bravo! We really enjoyed the show (and drink)! 🙂

This concluded our Day 1 in Tasmania – Hobart.

Day 1 itinerary:

  • 12:45pm: land in Hobart Tasmania and collect hire car.
  • 2:00pm: visit and explore MONA at 655 Main Road, Berriedale ($20 pp), giving the infamous ferry ride a miss as there was no time
  • 4pm: Check into Hadleys Hotel then walked around the Salamanca Square area and Battery Point (though the sun was fading fast)
  • 5:30pm: dinner at Smolt followed by drinks at Henry Jones IXL Long Bar

Sabor in the Hunter, Hunter Valley

During our weekend trip up north to the Hunter Valley wine country, we had afternoon tea at this dessert bar called:

Sabor in the Hunter:

  • Website:
  • Address: 319 Wilderness Road, Lovedale
  • Open: Fri and Sat (10am – 10pm), Sun (10am – 5pm or earlier if sold out), public holiday Mons (10-4pm).
  • Features: desserts, coffee, light meals
Sabor in the Hunter
Sabor in the Hunter

Like many places in the Hunter Valley, the Sabor was situated on a big piece of land! Next door was a little house with a barking cattle dog (chewing up a ball) and birdhouses hanging by the front door.

Anyway, the red roofed place is the Sabor. As you can see, seating inside and out! But since it was a cold/sprinkling day, we went inside…


Here’s a picture of the chocolates on offer, but it doesn’t really capture the MAGNITUDE and MULTITUDE of desserts available behind the bar! These are all showcased and look very big and very yummy – why oh why are our stomachs so small!

The prices range $10 upwards with differences for takeaway/ eat in and pairings with wine.

Tasting platter - $25
Tasting platter – $25

Since the desserts are quite big, we opt for a tasting platter to maximise what we can try. From the end, it appears to be:

  1. Layered cake with chocolate and caramel (I think) topped with a gold coloured nut
  2. Lemon meringue tart
  3. Strawberry mousse (I think) with chocolate curl, strawberry
  4. Tiramisu
  5. Pistachio thing….not too sure….

Each was quite nice (particularly 4 and 5), but we got full too easily. We saw some other people eating a whole tasting plate to themselves! :O

Hot tea
Honey dew green Hot tea – $5

We also ordered hot drinks to warm up from the cold day. Here is my honey dew green hot tea. See that steam? Hot hot!

Flat white - $4
Flat white – $4

D2D also got his usual flat white.


Sabor in the Hunter is definitely a nice spot to treat yourself to some dessert after a long day of driving and wine-ing! It’s also right next to the historic Gillies Bridge where you can take some photos (but don’t get run over!).

What else is around:

Sabor in the Hunter Dessert Bar on Urbanspoon

Baroque Pantry and Bistro, The Rocks

Updated visit:

We recently went back to Baroque, for dinner this time, on a Tuesday night for their Baroque Bouchon $48 three course plus wine menu. This is an changing weekly menu, its name inspired Bouchons of Lyons, which is well known for bistro meals and wines at a low price.


On this visit, we were lucky enough to be there for the last Bouchon menu! After being seated, we were offered a choice between the house white or red wine, with top up. They were very generous with this!

MOULES À LA NORMANDE Mussells with cider, cream and eschallots
MOULES À LA NORMANDE Mussells with cider, cream and eschallots

Entree was a mussels dish with yummy sauce. You can’t really go wrong with mussels and a cream sauce…

Free bread!
Free bread!

We also received complimentary baguette bread with a slab of butter. This went well to mop up the mussel’s sauce as well.

POULET AUX 40 GOUSSES D'AIL Chicken cooked with 40 cloves of garlic
POULET AUX 40 GOUSSES D’AIL Chicken cooked with 40 cloves of garlic

This was the main – beautifully presented and a very tasty collection of different elements.  No wonder – it had 40 cloves of garlic!! Good way to keep the vampires away…

There was vegetables, some beans, mash and what seemed to be a small croquette.

SAINT HONORE ROSE FRAMBOISE Raspberry and rose gateau St Honore
SAINT HONORE ROSE FRAMBOISE Raspberry and rose gateau St Honore

The dessert was also a highlight! This was quite interestingly pieced together, with a slightly hard/crunchy pastry for the bottom square and those five spheres topped on top. Quite delightful and well presented.

All in all, we enjoyed the Bouchon menu and hope they keep going with it! The $48 three course is a good deal, though the portions are quite small. I imagine some people may not feel quite full… Still, a very tasty way to try entree, main and dessert, plus wine and free bread!

Original post:

It’s 8am on a Sunday and we’re headed out to the City for a trip to Cockatoo Island for the 19th Biennale of Sydney. The plan is to breakfast at Cafe Sopra in Walsh Bay but it turns out they don’t open until noon! What kind of cafe opens so late…

Pretty interior
Pretty interior

Instead, we head for Baroque (Pantry by day, Bistro by night). Even at 9am, when the Rocks Markets are still being setup, the tables are getting filled up. There’s tables inside and outside but they still don’t seem to be enough. Soon, there’s even a waiting area for people to get seated.

Baroque Pantry and Bistro
Baroque Pantry and Bistro

Baroque Pantry and Bistro

  • Website:
  • Address: 88 George Street, The Rocks
  • Pantry hours: 8am-3pm daily
  • Bistro hours: Tues to Sun from 6pm
  • Bookings: recommended, do it online via Dimmi and earn points (see their website)

Baroque is pretty much located on the corner of George Street and Hickson Road in The Rocks area. There’s cobblestone paths and markets every Sat and Sun surrounding this popular eatery.

Baroque is kind of a mixed bag. Their website describes it as a pantry, bistro, restaurant and patisserie all rolled into one. Opening in 2009 by the Charkos family who own the popular La Renaissance Cafe Patisserie just down the road, Baroque is headed by Chef Drew Bolton. There’s a lot going on here, including cooking classes (including macaron masterclass!).

Since we there for breakfast, I’ll only talk about Baroque Pantry. So what’s there to eat?

Baroque menu
Baroque menu

Baroque is a modern French style restaurant. Their menu is quite extensive and you can read up on it here. The price is about $10-$30 for breakfast and lunch items. They also serve wines, cocktails and beers.

Flat white $4.50
Flat white $4.50

D2D’s flat white arrives. It’s a bit hot sitting in the sun in the alfresco dining and it’s a shame they don’t have more indoor seats or shaded areas.

Egg Cocotte 15.5 Bacon, mushroom, tomato, hollandaise, served with Sonoma sourdough toast
Egg Cocotte $15.5
Bacon, mushroom, tomato, hollandaise, served with Sonoma sourdough toast

This is my little pot of baked eggs served with Sonoma bread. Although the pot is quite small, it’s packed with bacon, mushroom, tomato and even some spinach. Because of the depth of the bowl (usually baked eggs is in a shallow pan), the egg is less cooked than normal. This might put some people off?

The bread is from Sonoma and must have been slathered in butter before it was toasted, because it tastes so good and feels a bit oily when I pull it apart.

Quite a filling breakfast.

Croque Madame 22 Croque Monsieur served with a fried free range egg
Croque Madame $22
Croque Monsieur served with a fried free range egg

This is D2D’s croque madam – basically a ham and cheese toast with fried free range egg on top, served with a side of salad. This is a very fried dish! So the salad helps to balance it out.   This is a pretty big serving, much bigger than my mini baked eggs.

All up, the bill comes to $42 for two breakfasts and a coffee. Pay inside and you’ll see:

Inside Baroque
Inside Baroque

Their patisserie kitchen! No wonder there is little seating inside, they have a big open kitchen taking up most of the space. Here’s a couple paying before us, sporting sunnies for the day ahead.


Baroque Macarons are quite a favourite in this town. They are $3 each (or $2.70 takeaway), and you can get 3 macarons plus a coffee for $12. As I said above, you can even make your own in a Baroque Macaron Masterclass.

Dessert time
Dessert time

They also have a wide range of other cakes and delightful desserts. Unfortunately we were too full to try any after breakfast.

Before we head off, here’s one other little secret:

Strawberry garden
Strawberry garden

Next to the alfresco dining areas are a series of potted trenches . I initially thought they were just decorative plants, but a closer inspection revealed… strawberries! This one isn’t quite ripe yet. They also had some other herbs like lavendar, mint, oregano and dill!

I guess if you want you can grab some herbs and sprinkle onto your meal!

What else is around?

  • The Rocks Markets set up right outside Baroque and up to the end of George Street every Saturday and Sunday.
  • La Renaissance Cafe Patisserie is just down the road if Baroque is too packed or you want something more casual
  • Museum of Contemporary Art
  • The Circular Quay wharf area makes a nice walk around the water to either Opera House or Walsh Bay

Baroque | Bistro Bar Patisserie on Urbanspoon

Butchers Block

Butchers Block-1

butchers block in Wahroonga
this is the back of the cafe which is conveniently located right next to a big carpark

Butchers Block-2

weekends this cafe is super packed and busy for all the lazy brunchers 

...lucky for us we arrive on a late afternoon monday

Butchers Block-3

while it's a monday, and late inthe afternoon, the cafe is still quite full with people enjoying a coffee or having a late lunch

Butchers Block-5

mocha, tutor tales go to (coffee) drink

Butchers Block-6

chai honey latte 
comes with lots of herby leaves and drizzle of honey on the bottom of the cup 

plenty of tea for at least a full refill

Butchers Block-7

the lunches here are HUGE 

the combination of light crispy flakes, a whole sausage sliced into two and a healthy amount of cream and avocado
this is a unique take on the very well known nachos

the use of the crisps instead of the usual corn chip was interesting as they were light and crunchy alternative

Butchers Block-8

caesar salad - the butchers block take 

the use of a whole poached egg
the homemade croutons 
the grilled chicken
the prosciutto
the light but tasty caesar dressing 

for those who get the salad thinking it will be a light alternative for lunch will be in for a shock because this is once massive salad 

...I still finished it because it was amazing

The Butcher's Block on Urbanspoon



Perfect sunny day for brunch at the incinerator


as expected, being the Easter weekend, there were lots of families up and early brunching

They also had an Easter egg hunt early in the morning that we just missed out on.


open kitchen 
where chefs and waitstaff are hustling and bustling to get the food out


this is basically all of the inside, not big but a number of outside tables are also available


House smoked salmon, cucumber, horseradish yoghurt with poached eggs

fresh veges, omega 3 oils, calcium, protein, grainy fibrous toast
this dish has all the healthy elements packed into a tasty meal to start the day


special of the day 
chorizo bits, beans, poached egg, avocado and garnish of veges and grass accompanied by a long thin toast 

a bit short on the chorizo as it only comes in tiny tiny broken up pieces but it was still a satisfying meal to eat


they use grounds coffee i assume


assortment of sweets 
I see cakes, tarts that all look yummy but we didn't see these until we already left our table!

...Otherwise I would have had no hesitation to give the lemon tart a taste


Incinerator art space
unfortunately was not open at the time were were there


The outside of the incinerator cafe,
its unique looking architectural design screams contemporary and modern


I was talked into a post brunch exercise walk by tutortales... (which actually ended with us walking all the way from willoughby to Chatswood)


oh wells, at least it was a perfectly sunny and nice day with bright blue skies

The Incinerator Cafe on Urbanspoon