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: http://www.smolt.com.au/
  • 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.

Magic
Magic

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
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