Soon, we said. We’ll publish more about Castray Esplanade Food + Wine… soon. We’ve since written about our meeting with Sharon from Sweet-As rock candy at Salamanca Market as promised. We’ve also talked about RebeccA’s Studio Gallery in Battery Point, another place on our agenda that day. So it’s high time we rounded out the proceedings from our day in Hobart, and shared our thoughts about lunch.
We met Jeanette and Roger Findlay in Hobart at Castray Esplanade Food + Wine for two reasons. Firstly of course, because we wanted to write this article for Think Tasmania. But also because Jeanette and Roger are so passionate about their Tasmanian food, and as gourmet tourists expect a unique, quality experience.
The cafe is located at the entrance of the Salamanca Wharf Hotel. The dining area was reasonably quiet when we arrived, but there was standing room only by the time we’d finished eating. There is extra seating with tables and umbrellas outside for use on a nice, sunny Hobart day. Yes, that can happen!
In Our Humble Opinion
We don’t profess to be qualified food critics, by any stretch. Nor are we professional food stylists, either. What you see here is actually what you get. Well, it’s what we got, at least. Castray Esplanade Food + Wine specifically quote an emphasis on seasonal produce in their printed “ethos on eating”, so clearly the menu will change and you might get something else entirely.
Let’s just say, on the day of our visit, Jeanette ordered corned ox tongue with a cumberland sauce and toasted house roll. The waitress advised us when ordering that the ox tongue wasn’t a hearty, lunch-time serve. But the meal got two thumbs up from Jeanette herself, and envious murmurings from around the table.
Roger seemed pretty pleased with a toasted sandwich of Berkshire ham and aged cheddar with tomato chutney; and I really enjoyed my apricot and honey loaf. Gavin found it quite difficult to decide, wavering back and forth between several options. Finally, he settled on the twice-cooked beef rib and roasted mushroom, with a wasabi and sour cream sauce… and was extremely pleased he did. Not a morsel was left on anyone’s plate.
Meeting Michael Roberts
We did manage to introduce ourselves to co-owner Michael Roberts briefly, but he was so busy at the coffee machine, we agreed to return another day for a quiet conversation. What a chore that will be! Next time, we’ll schedule a visit for afternoon tea. The desserts and cakes looked divine, and the official Think Tasmania coffee connoisseur adjudged his long black to be “excellent”. The breakfast menu also sounded very enticing.
A meeting (in person) with Michael and his wife Karen Goodwin-Roberts is long overdue. We’ve been long-time fans of the Taste Cafe at the Hobart Centre of Learning. Unfortunately we weren’t able to attend the launch of their latest book Island Harvest. I did manage a quick flick at the Castray Esplanade Food + Wine counter, and it would make a lovely Mothers Day present. Subtle hint, kids?
Picnics in Paradise to Island Harvest
Really, they shouldn’t need too many hints, if they’ve been paying attention to me at all. I borrowed Tasmania’s Picnics in Paradise (Karen’s earlier book) from the Tasmanian State Library. Twice! I was trying to convince myself I already owned enough books. Especially cook books, with recipes destined never to be tested in my own kitchen! But I do so love pretty photos, and all things Tasmanian… so of course, I now own a copy of Tasmania’s Picnics in Paradise. It sits proudly on the bookshelf alongside my copies of Tasmania Island of Treasures by Sue Atkinson and Tasmanian Menu by Simone Bett.
Michael Roberts revealed sales of the latest book were going well. He also mentioned a new venture due to open soon in North Hobart. When I asked what the new place would be called, Michael laughed and said “Elizabeth Street Food + Wine”. Predictable I guess, but the food will no doubt be more way more creative than the name.
If the idea of eating locally-produced and seasonal foods, and the terms sustainable and well-balanced diet resonate with you, be sure to read the b-side of the menu at Castray Esplanade Food + Wine. It reveals the source of the fresh island harvest used in their kitchen. Each food choice has also been matched with wine too.
Taste Cafe and Elizabeth Street Food + Wine
This dynamic Tasmanian duo still manage a catering business in conjunction with Taste Cafe. When I queried how they cope with two (and soon to be three) locations, Michael Roberts quickly gave credit to their great staff. We do love to hear such generous praise, and our experience only confirms his words. Not just the food from the hand of the chef on duty at the time, but the service at Castray Esplanade Food + Wine was faultless: quick, friendly and efficient. Just what every diner wants, and a sure fire way to ensure repeat custom.
Castray Esplanade Food + Wine (you’ll not be surprised to learn) is in Castray Esplanade, Hobart. At number 17a near Princes Park, to be precise. And get this… they serve food + wine! For more information phone (03) 6224 6250 or follow Castray Esplanade Food + Wine on Facebook.
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