In an unassuming New Town street lies a gentle giant of an edifice. After a massive two-year long restoration, Maylands, the colonial mansion, former girls’ school and Salvation Army HQ, has been reincarnated once again.
Ironically, the salmon-pink façade of its recent past relegated the estate to obscurity. More monster than monument, the building suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. It was a long-way from fit-for-purpose as a residential institution and offices of a benevolent organisation.
The property was quickly snaffled from decline when it appeared on the market in 2016; the first time in 90 years. New owners, and the family behind Aldanmark engineers, the Gardiners, invested considerable time and resources into re-establishing the building’s destiny as a prestigious stature.
The design has seamlessly incorporated a modern aesthetic while paying tribute to the history of the structure.
Maylands now boasts high-end, boutique accommodation with 12 spacious rooms complemented by an intimate restaurant which caters for around 30 people.
It was the Other Girl’s birthday and it was fitting we stepped out in style, which meant being buzzed in through an electric gate at the property’s entrance. A path from the car park at the rear takes you to the stately front entrance.
A grand home greets you as you cross the threshold, wide corridors, Cowrie pine floorboards, full-length curtains, occasional hall furnishings and contemporary art. We were welcomed into the sitting room for a pre-dinner drink. On a rainy afternoon, paying guests might unpack the Scrabble board provided and enjoy a gin and tonic, wandering downstairs to the cellar to select a bottle to accompany their dinner.
Jo, our maitre d’ for the evening, invited us on a our tour but first things first, we had come to eat. She took us into the dining room where we were seated in blue velvet dining chairs. On our arrival there was one other couple in the room.
When we left the number had swollen to ten. The restaurant is presided over by one Chef. The modest, seasonal menu has a formula – three appetisers, two entrees, three mains, two desserts, except the latter includes a cheese plate and depending on your preference could be counted in or out. You can select a la carte or they will feed you for a fee.
What we ate from the winter dinner menu:
- Imago sourdough with vegemite butter
- Cheddar and black truffle petit toastie, pickle, $10
- Raw Kingfish, fermented chilli, quinoa, grapefruit, $16
- Lamb belly pot sticker, peanut, sugarloaf cabbage, $18
- Stinging nettle risotto, cauliflower, almond, truffle, $32
- Beef short rib, sour carrot, Dutch cream potato, cavolo nero, $38
- Mandarin, a kind of cheesecake, $14
- A couple of glasses of sparkling by the glass.
There is just enough of the Australian-legend to fully appreciate the salty flavour of the butter. In a short time, Imago have established a solid reputation for baked goods, so much so they have closed their retail outlet to focus on wholesale and hospitality.
The toastie is a true comfort food and the petit version was a delicious morsel, miraculously cheese-filled through the finest slices of crispy, buttery toast and topped with a little acidity of the vegetable and zest of the intense mushroom, delicately cutting through the richness of sandwich. Best toastie ever.
Kingfish is the king of fish enjoyed best in its natural state. The pot stickers were fun and robust, served in a plate of three. The Lovely Deputy and I discovered stinging nettle at Dier Makr, he later used it to make risotto for me, after picking the weeds from our pigsty. I have high standards.
The Maylands’ risotto enjoyed the characteristic, green-vibrancy of the nettle and was completed with the crunch of scattered roasted almonds. It was a perfectly wet dish and if you enjoy risotto, I expect you will appreciate exactly what I mean. The usual Parmesan-bite was largely absent on this occasion.
The Dutch creams were prepared in a perfectly roasted slice of gorgeous potato galette to accompany the slow-cooked short rib. The sour carrot was a beautiful juxtaposition on the plate and the elusive cavolo nero finished the dish off. It’s important to eat your greens, oh where oh where do they get that cavolo nero?
Mandarin, a kind of cheesecake was so good that when we finished our respective desserts, I tried to convince the Other Girl to go me halves in another portion. Biscuit crumble filled the base of the tuille cylinder and was topped with mandarin and white chocolate elements and Chantilly cream.
After dinner, we slipped upstairs for a quick peak at two of the luxurious rooms, unoccupied during Hobart’s post-Dark Mofo winter. Spectacular, spacious abodes with all the modern features including a high-end mini bar, large King-sized bed and a deep bath.
Maylands Lodge is the perfect destination for a perfect event – birthday, anniversary, wedding or at the very least, exclusive date night event – with the combination of gorgeous accommodation and fine dining without a ridiculous price tag. It’s modest scale ensures you are never far from the centre of attention.
It’s a marvellous gift to locals that we can book for a meal without accommodation and The Two Girls are looking forward to an opportunity to return and enjoy their breakfast in the not too distant future.
Find them at 40 Swanston Street, New Town Tasmania
+61 3 6169 2777
You can make a booking or reservation via their website – Maylands Lodge