Sunday, 4 March 2012

Solicit 2012

Caught up with an old friend for dinner at Solicit last week, where we had a faultless meal. It is wonderful to see a restaurant of the calibre of Solicit in North Hobart, quietly powering along and providing beautiful food, under the stewardship of John Mahindroo in the kitchen, and Joan Mahindroo in her efficient FOH role.

To start with, Deb had the dish called Five Tastes from the Kitchen ($21), which comprised, last week, baked oyster benedict, lamb bacon; beef with black bean, sesame seeds; southern fried monk fish, dill aioli; pumpkin salad, chilli lime, walnuts; baked duck, cherries, orange salsa. I sampled it and found it was indeed fabulous, and great value for money.

I ordered Crispy fried prawn pakoras ($24), roast cumin yoghurt, chilli jam, pappadum chips, banana chutney. I had in my head a picture of those familiar triangular shaped fritters, and that is what I expected. Imagine my surprise when I received 4 prawns draped sexily over the side of a bowl! I had asked Joan, when I ordered, how many pakoras you got per serving and she had said three. When she bought them out, she apologized and said the prawns were usually larger than these, so John had given me four. They were fantastic. The flavour combinations worked well, and the condiments on the side complemented the dish beautifully.

For mains, Deb had the $34 venison (spiced and served with a fricassee of mixed mushrooms, rosemary toasted brioche, caramelized beetroot and Yarra Valley Persian fetta), and I had the $33 duck (vanilla cinnamon confit leg risotto, bok choy, crispy duck breast, peppered peaches, stock reduction. As I mentioned above, we couldn’t fault the meal at all.

As full as we were, we decided to finish with a Panna Cotta which I should have written down and described the day after the event, as I usually do. Anyway – it too was bloody beautiful, whatever it was, because I walked out of there with a warm glow in my tummy, knowing I’d eaten the best meal and was more than satisfied.
Posted on by Rita


Anonymous said...

WTF?! did anyone read about this?

the festival sounds mammoth!! typical sydney...all show! trying to melbourne a run for its money.

auslox1 said...

Hey Rita,

I have also attended both the Taste of Tasmania and the Taste of the Huon, and while I enjoyed both events, I hardly drew the conclusion that the Taste of the Huon event ‘shits’ on the Taste of Tasmania.

I may have attended the Taste of the Huon on the same day of you and agree that the weather could not have been more perfect. My partner and I probably formed a small part of the 5 kilometre stream of traffic entering the area while you were leaving, but the wait wasn’t too onerous. While we were travelling down we were contacted by friends who decided to give the whole thing a miss, because of the length of the queue.

The first thing that I noticed was that unlike the Taste of Tassie, there was an $8 entry fee. Now if an event as big as the Taste of Tassie can keep entry to the event free, where do the organisers of the Taste of the Huon get off charging an entry fee. All of the same free events (buskers – cooking demonstrations etc) at the Taste of the Huon were at the Taste of Tassie – in fact I’m sure that there were more free entertainment events available at the Taste of Tassie.

My partner and I did the food circuit of the event and thankfully didn’t find a food van selling dagwood dogs and buckets of chips. With the exception of a couple of food stalls, it was a bit of ‘same old same old’ with these sorts of events. The different vans selling berries and cream, chocolate ecliars, bratwurst sausages, cajun calamari etc etc were at both events. Don’t get me wrong my partner an I both enjoyed the food we ate, and the event in general – but I don’t think it was cause to call that the Taste of the Huon Shit on the Taste of Tassie.

One noteworthy stall was an ice cream van that equated to a ‘Mr Frosty’ van selling soft serve ice cream. It was almost humorous to find that one there, but I thought that The Taste of the Huon could have moved past that one – or maybe the organisers have a sense of humour.

My favourite food was of course Steve’s (RVL) san chow bow in the wasabi lettuce leaf – the flavour was fantastic and I accordingly indulged in a couple of those. Another noteworthy mention was the woman offering tastings and selling the Bruny Island Goat Cheese. There were the 4 cheeses on offer that were hand made by her. She was very knowledgeable about her product from the goat through to the maturing of the cheeses itself.

My other favourite stall was the ‘Punch and Judy’ puppets. It was fantastic to see how one person (I assume that only one person could have fit it that small space) could entertain at least a hundred children, and probably just as many adults – even though they wouldn’t want to admit it.

If the Taste of the Huon were to be full of stalls like these three and not the commercially driven stalls, then I would agree that the it would ‘Shit’ on the Taste of Tassie – but it just didn’t. We had to wonder how much of the produce on sale at the event was actually from the Huon Valley, and not from the back of a PFD truck. We still enjoyed the event for what it was, but didn’t come away gob smacked, as you seemed to have done.