Occasionally, Gourmet Traveller disturbs its Sydney-centric equilibrium and casts it net further afield than even Melbourne. But then David Moyle is practically royalty. Not quite a culinary Queen Mary, but close.
This month, Franklin secured what This Girl believes is a rave GT ‘Hobart review’.
It hasn’t fared as well with reviews by the regular punter. The experience of Urbanspoon visitors suggests that the customer service is less than desirable and the food is underwhelming and expensive.
Two Girls were impressed by our first encounter of tapas and Spanish vino however and looking for a venue to impress Sydney guests, This Girl chose Franklin. I also wanted to find out more about what Moyle was up to in that big kitchen of his with its Scotch oven.
Franklin’s atmosphere on our Friday night was a far cry from its over-populated first couple of weeks. The service was neither perfunctory nor effusive. We found a very chilled restaurant, quietly going about its business, attractive, smart and professional.
The sea is the star attraction on this menu. For a state surrounded by water, Moyle plays homage to place by his choices.
We shared the following plates:
Grilled octopus, paprika and fennel, $14
Grilled snapper, nettle sauce, $34
Wood roasted hanger, radish and grilled onion, $34
Wood roasted abalone in kelp, dry oyster sauce, $86.
Each of these meals was exquisite, perfectly prepared and delicious. The nettle sauce was a gorgeous contrast to the snapper, holding its own but not overwhelming the fish. The octopus and hanger were without fault.
In twenty years of eating out in Hobart, I don’t recall ever seeing abalone on a menu that wasn’t limited to shavings atop something far less impressive.
Moyle has a thing for abalone. Apart from having a local licensed supplier, he’s had a long-term love of the mollusc. A surfer from way back, abalone has been part of his palate from youth. And his abalone was delectable, peel back the kelp blanket it’s roasted in and enjoy each succulent sliver. Now we know what’s cooking in that oven.
There were three dessert options. We ordered one of each and didn’t share:
Lemon and bay leaf icecream, $12
Almond and Lake Pedder honey cake, $14
Goat milk sorbet with roasted nectarine, $12.
There is no love lost between Moyle and the sweet course. He’s keeping the options simple and light. My sorbet and nectarines, accompanied by strawberries on this occasion, were well executed, but a little savoury for this Dessert Queen.
Last weekend I made a Tres Leches cake to take to a friend’s birthday dinner. I calculated that I could easily go for my thirty minute run and get back to take it out of the oven in time. Turned out on a plate, it was a little dark around the edges to serve, so I made it again.
My companions appreciated their dessert choices but didn’t rave about them.
Unless chocolate and/or meringue appears on the next menu, in future I’ll order all my plates above the line where Moyle’s star qualities shine brightest.
GT also reported on excellent value, but then they pay Sydney prices.
These are astounding plates. Some come with hefty prices and no sides. This eating is not for the faint-hearted. But it is food to be revered.
And of course, the restaurant itself is stunning and showcases one of Hobart’s most gorgeous buildings.
A visit to Franklin for dinner is a quality investment.