A Mongolian restaurant. Now that would be food from about as far away from Hobart as you could get. Greenland maybe? Yak, horse, reindeer, whale: they’re probably not going to be big sellers in Hobes.
A Caribbean bar and restaurant on the other hand, now that’s a licence to print money.
Instead of fermented milk, there are rum cocktails and those cute little paper umbrellas.
Rude Boy is Hobart’s Cuban-Jamaican bar.
To conjure the distant tropics and all that comes with, is a no-brainer: the warm sun on your skin, beaches that stretch on for miles, island time, and the never ending partay.
In This Girl’s view, that’s what you’re really buying here, so kick back and relax baby.
Rude Boy will be tremendously successful because it has done a great job of setting a scene and it’s fun.
The décor pays homage to the colonial architecture of the Caribbean – ply bar stools, faux faded paint of the colours of post-Colonial tropics, wrought iron work on the balustrade, stuffed parrots in cages (toys not taxidermy) and a barrel of rum.
The food is relaxed; snacks to enjoy with your drinks which are rum-based, did I mention that?
In Hobart, Caribbean food is a novelty and to be fair, this is food is more in the style of the Caribbean. I once spent four weeks in Cuba. Decades of embargo have taken their toll. There’s not much food diversity: pork, black beans, fish, pawpaw, plantains feature, oh, and rum. After a month I wanted a Thai green curry, Ben and Jerry’s and stone fruit.
Jamaica is there in the jerk seasoning, pineapple and coconut cream but the Cuban and the ubiquitous Tex-Mex/latino concepts and tastes predominate – El Cubano, La Castro, tostones, ceviche, frijoles.
It’s food that goes with drinking and it’s built for sharing.
The Two Girls enjoyed our night there. What we ate:
- Ceviche, local seafood, coconut, jalapenos and mariquitas, $17
- Croquetas el vego x 2, $8
- Plantain mariquitas and tostones with blackened corn salsa, hot sauce and guacamole, $15
- Stack, sweet bammie, coconut rough ice cream and salted caramel sauce, $12.
We drank a swizzle, lime, pomegranate, aromatic spices and white rum, $15 and iced tea with orange pekoe tea, bitter orange, peach, ginger, lemon and vodka, $12. I wished I was lying poolside. And just to encourage the partay atmosphere, these on-tap cocktails are conveniently available in half and full-litre size vessels. Damn being designated driver. Another time.
The ceviche was the standout plate – it was an absolutely delicious East Coast Mako, a thick white fish in luscious coconut, lime and jalapeño.
The croquetas were potato and broccoli and were firm and round and crispy.
Mariquitas de plantanos y tostones are ostensibly plantains done two ways – both in oil – just think low carb chips.
You know how much This Girl hates banana right? Bananas they are not. Sure they’re related, but the plantain does not share the same foul pungency and slimy texture of the banana. Erk.
The hot sauce is made in house and it had a lovely sizzle to it.
The bammie stack – a grated cassava pancake – was a terrific desert option. Cassava is a rare beast in the south and it produced a semi-savoury flavour which was perfect for the cloying chocolate and the absolutely delightful toasted coconut ice cream.
Although we only chose from the small dishes, the addition of dessert meant it was plenty of food for dinner for two.
The Lovely Deputy and I dropped in the week afterwards; the night of the traffic jam on the Southern Outlet. We tried the mucho vego sandwich, $15 and the pork, frijoles and arroz, $20. The vego was predominantly gherkin and sweet potato. The pork dish is more-Anglo than Cubano with sliced cooked pork atop rice with some black bean garnish. It wasn’t reminiscent of the black bean stews in rich pork broth that are ubiquitous in Cuba but it is a safe option if you want one of the larger meals on offer.
There’s a lot of carbon miles required to procure food from the tropics. The plantains and the cassava comes from far north and paper cups are often used in combination with ceramic bowls to serve small plates, an unnecessary use of a resource even if they’re biodegradable.
The Caribbean is a super idea even if there are challenges delivering at 42.8 degrees south.
Rude Boy is a relaxed, young bar with food to keep you going. Definitely worth a visit for fun times.
They’re located at 130 Elizabeth Street, Hobart.
Find them on Facebook – Rude Boy.
Their menu is online – Rude Boy menu.
Bookings for big groups only.
From a different part of the world but in the same spirit of things of another warmer place and time –South Seas Cocktail Lounge.