Dined there for the first time in around three years last night, and had one of this year’s best meals.
Searching back through the memory bank for that elusive flavour ‘hit’ from meals eaten in Tasmania this year, I can say only three places stand out for me.
These three are Pilgrim, Frogmore and Monty’s.
I ate hundreds of fabulous meals in 2014, as well some real shockers, but the above three stand head and shoulders above all others.
Price doesn’t come into it at all, but it seems, if you’re to take the above list as a given, you have to pay the higher bucks to get the better standard of food. Having said that, there are more times than I care to remember when I’ve (happily) paid top dollar for food which has ultimately been extremely disappointing, so price and standard of food don’t necessarily go hand in hand.
I am honoured to be a quarter of a group of enthusiastic food lovers and diner-outers who eat out approximately every two weeks. We rate our food, discuss all dishes thoroughly and comprehensively, select our next venue, then pay a quarter of the bill each (which includes a tip). There is no quibbling about who had an extra drink, or who didn’t have the garlic bread, or whatever. Just an extremely civilised pig-out! None of us have any food allergies, and all of us eat meat and fish, so that makes it very easy to find a menu full of choice for us.
Last night was Monty’s, and it surpassed all previous venues in service, menu and food standard.
Two of us decided on an entrée for entrée and another entrée for main, as we had perused the dessert menu and really loved the sound of the Peanut Butter Mousse. Along with some side dishes at main course time we were actually absolutely stuffed by the time dessert time arrived, so shared the one mousse. The menu description sounded way too good to leave it out of the equation.
So, our table feasted on the following:
Robbins Island scallops, squid ink, almonds, salted grapes, juniper ($20)
Huon Atlantic salmon, Dijon, keta (roe), cauliflower, pickles, rye ($19)
Apple Isle pork belly, braised octopus, cacciatore, granny smith apples ($19)
Kindred organic quinoa, smoked tofu, grilled asparagus, pickled mushroom, bbq sauce ($18)
Rump of Wild Clover lamb, celeriac puree, potato fondants, baby cos, black olives, salt bush ($27)
The three sides comprised mini roasted potatoes, heritage tomatoes and wilted greens.
The peanut butter mousse was $15, and I’d give my eye teeth to have another one served up to me this very minute!
Not to be too anal about it, but every one of the above mentioned dishes comprised so many elements, which, strangely, complemented each other perfectly. The dessert had nine elements to it – and you could distinguish every single one of them. I think chef Terry’s ingenuity, experience and skill in the kitchen proved, with every dish, what a master at his craft he really is.
(Remember, an element is not a single ingredient. It is something made from a few different ingredients, and blended together with other elements to result in a combination of textures and flavours which hopefully all work well when mixed together.)
There is a huge difference between a great meal (many of which I have been lucky to have had this year) and an outstanding one. This one was outstanding.
I need also to add a postscript about the exemplary service, mostly from Elysia Mannix who I was absolutely delighted to recognise at the door greeting me as I arrived. Elysia has extensive experience in the art of waiting and customer service, and it really shone through last night. She has previously waited on my tables at Henry Jones, Piccalilli and Ethos. I sincerely hope delightful mine host Lucy and chef Terry keep her on there, as she really knows her stuff, and has that uncanny ability to intuit exactly what is needed/expected from every table. Her cheerful, nothing’s-a-bother attitude is noteworthy and I salute her for her devotion to her craft.
I have already highly recommended Monty’s to several friends/readers who were curious about Monty’s. I recommend you, too, if you take eating seriously, to take the time to dine there. You’ll come back and thank me!