Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Grub Cafe, New Town, and our Food and Wine Club

You know how Rita likes to get out there and explore places, and find new cafes for you to try? Well, have I got a beauty for you today.

Leaving my doctors this afternoon, I found myself driving past Grub Café in New Town Road and remembered the suggestion made by commenter Tenielle last week that we consider Grub as a possible venue for a meeting place for the Hobart chapter of our proposed Food and Wine Club.

I stopped and went in. What I found impressed me SO much. Penny Brewer is the owner/operator. Penny is a mere 24 years old, and what she has learned in the year she’s been trading is astounding, for one so (relatively) young. I wish I had her head on my own shoulders at that age.

Penny has thought through the current economic crisis and made the decision to stick with the tried and tested, older style plain and straightforward menu items, and keep the costs below $10.

She went to a Salvos shop and bought an $8 pile of 70’s and 80’s cookbooks, then went through them all to find a range of simple but tasty sounding recipes which she felt would work or that she could adapt to her needs. Hence she has $10 menu items like Meat Loaf, Potato Bake and gravy – which I just couldn’t resist, so decided on the spot to have it for lunch there and then.

Now let me tell you, I consider myself a master at these old dishes, having made them countless times over the decades and perfected my flavours and methods eons ago. The Meat Loaf I had at Grub today was absolutely breathtaking. It astounds me even now, thinking back to lunch time, that someone has achieved what I never thought any commercial cook could in a café environment. Myself, I don’t have to guess or think when I make something like this. It’s tried and tested, contains a combination of ingredients I know I love, and fulfils that warm cosy inner feeling of true happiness after I’ve eaten it. Today was no different.

Penny had similar pies and various other reliable menu items, totally recognizable by all and sundry – something which is vital if you want to attract your local demographic.

The cafe is a tribute to hard work, staying power and taking it slowly. Penny started out quietly, and has made adjustments and amendments as she went along and as she could afford them - an extremely wise decision when you consider how things could have gone had she splurged bigtime up front. It is a casual, friendly little cafe where everyone should feel at home.

She is open 7 days a week, and Friday and Saturday nights as well. She does all her food as takeaways as well – so if you’re heading out New Town Road on your way home each night – why the hell wouldn’t you pop in there and grab a serve of one of her genuine home-cooked delights to eat at home? In fact if you’re NOT heading out that way you should pop in there! Give North Hobart a miss and drive the extra 2 minutes to New Town. I certainly will.

Oh and by the way – she has agreed to let us meet there for our Wine and Food Club – so I have booked a first meeting there for Monday evening May 18th at 6.30 for a 7.00 start. It will be an open slather night – so bring along whatever you like to cook, or a platter of something, and let’s all share it, chat about food and whatever else we want to, and decide where we go from there. If it works better for you, why not bring your plate of food along and drop it off at Grub during the day. I'm lead to believe Penny would be OK with storing it there. I’d love you to come along. Please don’t be shy or scared. It would be good if we could have an indication of numbers, so if you call Penny at the café on 6228 6450 and tell her, that would be lovely. And another bonus – we can have alcohol there too!

See you there soon!

Posted on by Rita


Tassiegal said...

Had b'fast there AGES was quite nice. Might pop in tomorrow when I need a break. As for the food/wine club, I may not be in the state, but if I am I will do my utmost to be there!

Christina said...

Yep, count me in Rita.
Well done to you for being so organised.
Looking forward to it.
Now what to bring!

Katrine & Frederick said...

Penny is a fantastic cook and The Grub is just great!

Of course, it just makes it all better when it is a really sweet and chatty girl serving it!

Anonymous said...

Why such an early start ?

Rita said...

Anon 12.05 - to answer your question:
*cos daylight savings has finished and it's dark then (hence way harder to persuade yourself that anything is worth leaving the comfort of your fire and ugg boots)
*cos we thought it might be more convenient for people to come on their way home from work, rather than have to go out later
*cos we don't know how long we're going to take, so an earlier start is probably better
but....if anyone wants to suggest an amended time, for good reasons, please do so. We are so not close-minded about this!

Anonymous said...

Followup from my 12.05 question -
Thanks for the feedback Rita, reasons for having it a bit later
- Have barely left work by this time, and then need to get home and take the pooch for a walk. Yes it is dark and cold, but needs to be done. Doing this after a full tummy and a glass (or two) of wine is not going to happen. Sorry pooch.
- It doesn't allow time to get home from work and feed the kids
- To come on the way home from work poses a problem - I don't have facilities (ie decent size fridge) at work to keep what I would bring along. A platter would be fine, but what if everyone who works brings a platter. On these cold, dark nights something warm and delicious would be the preference to feast on.
- Also need time to get home from work and collect the pre-made meal and do any last minute preparation for it
- Not sure of the format - do we have access to oven/stove/kitchen facilities or we bring our food along ready to go? So would need to factor in cooking time.

Rita said...

Anon 5.26 - sounds perfectly rational to me. How would 7.00 pm sound?
Yes - there are 2 domestic type stoves there, hence 2 cooktops and ovens. Also microwave. It would be preferable to have at least done some small thing towards making/cooking/preparing your dish.
You wouldn't want to start from scratch, but it would be fine to complete your preparations there.
Bring along what you need, ingredient-wise, to complete your dish, then finish it off there.

So, will we have it as 6.30 or 7?

Suntot said...

Perhaps we can do 6:30 for 7. That way people who work early will still be able to have a normalish night. All families can still be feed, dogs walked and food perfected!

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't everyone put their lives on hold for that poor anonymous who reveals life story and sad litany of reasons for not liking the start time.
Look, if it doesn't suit, DON'T COME, OKAY! For God's sake.

Anonymous said...

PS, someone is going to have to quietly have a word with this cafe owner (pictured) about presentation.
It was good, Rita, you told us ...but just slapping it on a plate like this...I won't say what it looks like!

Peter said...

Anon 8.50
I think someone doesnt need to have a word with 'this cafe owner' Her name being Penny as stated in the review. I'm sure she will be reading this and look at the picture and agree with you that this is not the best looking meal. That being said from the looks of it she is working her butt off to make a living and learning to adapt where needed! If you have been in there and given her a go you would understand the concept behind her food alot better and be able to see the array of delicious food she offers in her cabinet. How is meatloaf supposed to look?
Might i suggest a few salad greens next to this, Penny to brighten it up a little?
Just a thought...

T. said...

Hi Rita!

6.30 for a 7 start seems to be the go???!! I can then go home finish off my dish and head over to New Town!! Don't want to be taking my dish to work to sit in the fridge and have hungry eyes looking at it all day! Now to decided what to cook. If i make it over to Grub early i can always sneak in a wine or two.

Anonymous said...

Yes peter, full marks to penny...I meant it constructively.
Maybe the meatloaf in a few slices, fanned out.... perhaps work a green or red into the ensemble.
We're trying to help here.

Anonymous said...

remembering that Penny is trying to keep things to under $10 and keep things simple. I know you will say a garnish here and a few salad items there and chuck in a tomato for some more colour wouldnt take much or perhaps more $$, but remember the philosophy Penny set out with.