It's a traditional silver service style restaurant and its Art Deco style, dark wooden dado, subdued colours and low lighting give it a solemn air.
There was a time in my Hobart foodie life when this Girl would often choose the Astor but they changed hands and parted company with a very special maître d'. It's been awhile, so it had been off my radar.
The Two Girls eat out a lot and maybe we’re in a rut, overly fussy or getting lazy, but when this Girl needed a restaurant suggestion recently I was left scratching her head.
Then I remembered the Astor Grill.
It’s a posh steak house and they certainly can cook a perfectly fine piece of meat. So Boozy Friday Lunch Friend tells me anyway, I chose the vego-option. But even to the untrained eye, that eye fillet was cooked to perfection. Boozy Friday likes a rare steak, and it actually was rare, but not bleeding like a stuck pig. They had managed to grill sear the meat, set the blood and present a perfectly consistently cooked piece of red meat.
Boozy described it as ‘aesthetically pleasing’. Read - looked good, smelt good, tasted good, really liked it.
Their red meat cooking credentials was also evidenced by the fact that I was the only woman customer amongst all the middle-aged men tucking into their fancy steaks (...sorry Boozy).
This Girl’s risotto was way too seasoned to be pleasant however. Tasty yes, particularly the first half dozen mouthfuls, but then the overload of salt, pepper and oil (yes, oil, no, I don’t know why, except I’m never ordering a risotto with carmelised onion again) distracted from my enjoyment. The desserts were a great effort though, and made the meal for this Girl. The Astor Grill has some of the better sweets on offer in Hobart right now.
Here’s what we ate:
Eye fillet sitting on a bed of potato and garlic mash and served with a jus.
Caramelised onion risotto with roasted butternut pumpkin, baby spinach, pistachios and shaved Parmesan.
Burnt orange crème, soft slow cooked orange custard with toffee and house biscotti.
Limoncello and chocolate moulleau, soft centred dark Belgium chocolate pudding with limoncello crème (just delightful).
We drank a bottle of the N.V Josef Chromy Pepik Sparkling Rosé, followed by a glass of the Frogmore’s Iced Riesling. You’ll notice a decent Tasmanian contingent on the wine list.
Astor Grill does a $60 three course set menu and a $28 Express lunch for the working elite with two courses and a glass of wine. Check out their website here and inspect the menu.
Our lunch date was on a wonderfully warm day and I was regretting the choice of a venue that I expected to be dark and oppressive during the day. It's one thing to dine at the Astor on a cold winter's night and feel cozy and snug. It's another thing on a beautiful day you don't want to waste by sitting indoors.
On this day, they had opened the blinds and there was a lovely light pouring through the windows where we sat watching Victoria Street go by.
Even though the Astor is a bit old school, it has solid menu options and is generally a good performer. Just beware the risotto.