Some of Australia’s top chefs have taken up residency in hotels. The functional hotel restaurant, one step up from room service, is a thing of the past. In new generation hotels like the Accor chain, food and beverage offerings are a serious concern. These hotels are creating a dining experience in its own right. A good reason why guests should stay in and why locals should visit.
The new Ibis Styles hotel on Macquarie Street has lured chef Andy Third from the Westend Pumphouse to establish their bespoke restaurant, The Good Guy Bar and Asian Kitchen.
The Two Girls sat down with Andy during the week, surrounded by boxes, to find out what he had in store for Hobart’s newest restaurant.
The starting place will be the bar, figuratively and literally. It’s the doorway into Mr Good Guy.
“The idea is to bring people in for a drink and build from there, enticing them for a meal starting with small nibbly bits. The menu will include a lot of small plates and it will build up to curries, wok dishes and some larger protein-based dishes, all designed for sharing. Anyone familiar with Andy’s work at his former employ will be looking forward to Mr Good Guy.
“It will be South-East Asian street food, with Tasmanian produce and a twist,” Andy said.
“The owners are Singaporean so that’s a huge influence. You’ll also see a big focus on Thai, Vietnamese and Malaysian flavours.”
The choice to focus on a cuisine and steer away from the traditional hotel bistro gives weight to Accor’s commitment to creating a unique dining experience.
Tip: Mr Good Guy is a common term to address a friendly stranger in Asia.
So what’s on the menu?
“We’re going to do a curry puff with chicken and scallop. It will have traditional elements but it will be our nod to a scallop pie. I’m going to do a Massaman curry with wallaby shanks. I’m also planning a Thai style grilled whole chicken.”
Hang on. Planning? What?
Andy says it’s all so new he hasn’t been able to do much testing but this afternoon he’ll take to the kitchen. Promise. The Two Girls are feeling the pressure on Andy’s behalf but he’s a seasoned professional. Ibis Styles Hobart opened yesterday with the first breakfast service this morning. Andy told us it was going to be a traditional buffet but it was likely to include a congee and a stir fry dish.
He’s got a bit of time to get his creative juices flowing. Restaurant service won’t begin for a couple of weeks yet.
He has a super strong vision for Mr Good Guy and Tassie produce is a key ingredient. There will be free-range eggs, Marion Bay chicken and Scottsdale pork. The prawns will be sourced from Australian waters and don’t be surprised if you see salmon on the menu.
“I’m keeping my eye on what’s going on with salmon farming because I support increased scrutiny on the industry.”
As far as the drinks list goes, there will be the Accor standards but Andy’s vision also extends to increasing the Tasmanian content and moving into local gins and whiskeys.
“It’s a way you can value-add to the drinking experience because rather than just having a gin and tonic you can go away with a little story about the gin and the different botanicals used in it.
We’re also working on some cocktails that can be prepared table side on a mobile trolley,” Andy said.
Ahh…the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely drinkers.
“It’s the theatre of eating and drinking. With the kitchen being so dominant in the middle of the room there’ll be a lot of theatre here,” Andy said.
Expect other differences between Mr Good Guy and hotel restaurants. Hobart’s Ibis Styles is not pitched at big conventions. There’s no room service. Guests can ring through and collect their order ‘grab and go’. It suggests takeaway lunches might be in their future.
Their staff selection has focused on young, funky, extraverts; people who can tell stories and engage with guests and patrons. It’s another value-add.
Mr Good Guy is a great gig for Andy. Apart from the careers opportunities that come with being part of a multi-national hotel chain, Mr Good Guy will be his place to shine and we are in no doubt he’ll be able to pull it off. We’re really looking forward to the opening and watching this new additional to Hobart’s food scene develop and grow.
Keep an eye on the restaurant opening by following Mr Good Guy on Facebook or Instagram @mrgoodguyhobart.
For content we’re linking to an old Westend Pumphouse post for some insight into Andy’s work – Yum Cha and a Gin Trolley.
Find Ibis Styles at 173 Macquarie Street Hobart.