Moonah is determined to be the next Western shore food destination.
It has a beating village heart, unlike the suburbs that flank its Main Road borders, and local heroes like: Kawasemi Japanese Tea House, Salt and the Texas Pantry.
Befitting its light industrial surroundings, a chic restaurant of concrete, steel and wood has risen out of an unassuming Albert Street warehouse.
If their substantial investment is anything to go by, then St Albi owners appear to be here for the long haul.
As a former warehouse, St Albi restaurant enjoys plenty of space. Your real estate buck goes a lot further in the burbs. Your chair won’t bump up against the person behind you and you won’t overhear their conversation. There’s plenty of parking and regular buses too boot.
In the short time it’s been open, St Albi has received substantial support. Maybe its because they’re trying to take the ‘working’ out of ‘class’. Everyone’s feeling a little bit special that special doesn’t have to be so city-centric.
Front of house, Lucy Baker is the glue. Personable, attentive and enthusiastic, she’s just the sort of energy you want managing the restaurant floor. Her watchful eye should help guide newer team members in the art of good table service.
Options are aplenty on their accessible menu which is a big plus. All-time favourites ramped up a notch like: the ubiquitous chicken schnitzel with a sourdough, parmesan and herb crust; Huon salmon with wild rice; or the burger with Cape Grim beef and smoked cheese.
The Two Girls started with the Spanner crab pate ($18) and the open beetroot ravioli ($18).
For mains we chose fish: beer battered fish of the day (Trevalla) with Moo Brew pale ale, chips, tartare and coriander pesto ($32) and the Cajun spiced fish of the day with crisp potato hash and rocket, pear and parmesan salad ($35). We shared a tasty serve of the Albi slaw ($9).
On an earlier visit flying solo, This Girl chose the Salmon Gravlax with crisp potato hash and crème fraiche ($18) and the baked white chocolate cheesecake with candied macadamia toffee ($14).
The mains were the highlight and The Two Girls agreed we would eat them again. Notwithstanding, we tripped over the price tags, which may or may not be sustainable in Hobart’s burgeoning market. We rated the ravioli of beetroot pasta for technical and novelty factors.
This Girl jumps at the chance to eat crustaceans and my preference is the crayfish pate of the Astor Grill with its potted bites of flesh you can see and taste.
Baked cheesecake is also a favourite dessert and in this form, the white chocolate loses some of its usual cloyingness. In St Albi’s version, the cheesecake plays second fiddle to the accompanying toffee.
The food is well presented and easily enjoyed, and the plate sizes are large.
The Two Girls rate St Albi as much for their contribution as their food.
Apparently there are plans to open a café out front – another local coffee source promises to make a huge addition to the area.
St Albi is located at 49 Albert Road, Moonah. Call them to make a reservation on 6228 3257. They’re open 7 days a week, noon until late.
Find them on Facebook here and view their webpage here.