Take in the expansive sea and sky while you float above the Brooke Street Pier, upstairs at Aloft restaurant.
Or you could give up dining with views to kill and select the chef’s table.
Faced with a booked restaurant but keen to return to one of Hobart’s best, This Girl elected to eat dinner in the kitchen.
Aloft will seat you at their open kitchen for the banquet menu for $75 per person. It’s not that you can’t see the view, it’s just that you have to remind yourself to look up from the well-oiled machinery, while meals are plated up in the large open kitchen, the central design feature of the restaurant.
The dirty work still happens out back, with the cooking of meat and other preparations, but front of house is all about construction and presentation.
This is what we ate:
Masterstock pig’s ear and prickly ash
Steamed oyster and fermented chilli
Grilled prawn, royal gala and tumeric wafer
Drunken chicken wings and buttermilk
Yellow fish curry, beetroot and fennel
Roast pork, burnt cream and mapo sauce
Condensed milk ice cream, sable and coffee
We chose the pork over the alternative option of the koji beef, bbq mushroom and horseradish and the ice cream over the apple financier, yoghurt foam and thyme.
Asian influences continue to feature alongside distinctive Tasmanian or locally sourced foods at Aloft. The Chef’s table is a mix of new and old. Aloft is consolidating. Some plates that have stood the test of time, remain on the menu, like the pig’s ear, tumeric wafer and condensed milk ice cream. They’re evolving some dishes too – the mapo sauce, the royal gala to accompany the prawn for example. This Girl also enjoyed plates that were new to me – the yellow fish with its Sri Lankan-esque flavours and the drunken chicken wings sitting in their creamy buttermilk sauce.
The Chef’s table is an excellent way to experience what Aloft likes best. These are the plates the restaurant wants you to have.
Like the comfort of your own kitchen, there’s an intimacy that comes with sitting at a restaurant’s kitchen, watching as the chefs prepare each plate. It’s personable and you can ask questions. The sable for example, has been baked and the crumbled during cooking then frozen so it needs to be scooped or scraped like ice cream for the desired effect of the dish. It’s French and doesn’t rhyme with table don’t you know.
Like all kitchens, not everything goes right all the time, sometimes a liquid boils over. In this highly organised kitchen, there’s someone to take the saucepan off the hotplate and clean up before it’s barely noticed. Like the best kitchens, preparation is key and plastic tubs of component parts constantly appear and disappear throughout the night.
Aloft opened to the heralding of angels. Now they are taking what they do best and refining it – testing the boundaries, nuancing the menu to establish the absolute best. Aloft is one of Hobart’s most fabulous restaurants. You simply must visit.
Aloft is open for dinner, Tuesday – Saturday (+61 3 6223 1619).