Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Hobart, Part I

Over the Easter long weekend, I abandoned all responsibility and escaped for a few days to Hobart, Tasmania. Although various people had tried to prepare me for the chill (and kept reminding me to pack warmly), I didn't quite believe them when they said it would be cold. I was also bemoaning the limited size of my sports bag, which was one third full when I threw in my towel - so regrettably I couldn't bring any of my fluffy marshmallow socks! Fortunately, I survived the biting cold, strong winds, and occasional rain, thanks to my favourite woollen winter coat and trusted scarlet umbrella.

Mures Lower Deck

Arriving in Hobart on a public holiday meant that no retailers were open and that our food choices were limited. As it took longer than expected sorting out the car rental, it was way past lunch time and we were starving. This meant finding food was our number one priority, which was quite an arduous task, what with interpreting the GPS's garbled messages and navigating through the various one-way roads. We happened to come across the 200-over-year-old Victoria Dock, home to numerous fishing boats and fish and chip vendors that were actually feeding the hungry.

My full bladder demanded that we eat somewhere with indoor plumbing, so we retreated into Mures Lower Deck, a cafeteria style eatery with a fancier component on the upper deck. Mures Lower Deck is family and group friendly, with large tables, stuffed toy souvenirs, and ice cream for the kids. As a random note, I thought the water dispensers were peculiarly sophisticated, with chilled and room temperature options.

 Ordering is at the counter and they give you a buzzer, just like in a food court. I won't elaborate too much on the food - it's standard fish and chips, except pretty fresh. Also, I was ravenous at the time and all I remember was devouring my share in an absolute frenzy.

Fisherman's basket: $14.90 (snack), $19.90 (meal)
Breadcrumbed scallops: $11.90 (snack)
Greek salad: $7.90 (small)
Battered fish: $14.90 (2 pieces)

Shark/ fish heads and stuffed animals.

Mure's Lower Deck on Urbanspoon

Next on our agenda was grocery shopping! With technology what it is, we whipped out Google Maps and looked up our nearest Woolies, which was an easy 10 minutes' walk from Victoria Dock. Having paid for 2 hours of parking, we had plenty of time to walk over to Woolies to pick up a few necessities and walk back.

Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens
 It was evening by the time we settled into our temporary home and we figured there was time to squeeze in a bit of sightseeing. We decided on the botanical gardens, as its website stated that it's open all year round. Being the last day of March, we were fortunate enough to have until 6.30pm instead of 5.30pm to look around. I have to say that the gardens were pretty impressive. Though smaller than Sydney's botanic gardens, each exhibit was carefully designed to suit a particular theme. I also really appreciated the considerable variety of plants and flowers. Sadly, I didn't get to see the whole garden because we ran out of time, but there was an arbour of rose plants that reminded me of smaller scale European gardens.

Entry fee: Gold coin donations
Opening hours: 8am to 5.00pm, 5.30pm or 6.30pm, depending on the time of the year
Time spent: approximately 2 hours (you could spend half a day there easily)

  Prince of Wales Hotel
 We decided to head to Battery Point for dinner, which was interesting to look at as a suburb. The houses were cottage-style and had so much character. Battery Point also had a vintage-looking independent petrol station and a convenience store that charged exorbitant amounts for their biscuits.

Cool petrol station!

Prince of Wales Hotel (I keep nearly typing out the word hospital) is located on 55 Hampden Road. The restaurant is located further inside, past the area with locals on bar stools catching up with each other on beers.

I ordered a whole-baked rainbow trout stuffed with herbs and lemon. It came with a side of mango salad and thinly sliced rosemary potatoes. I was actually not expecting much from this meal - simple but hearty pub food, perhaps, but nothing that tasted as good as what was actually served.

The trout was pretty bony, but the flesh flaked off easily, and it was quite easy to avoid any unpleasant stabs to the mouth as long as you avoided the head of the fish. They added just the right amount of lemon to the stuffing inside - a good amount of acidity to kill any fishiness, but not so much as to make you pucker your lips in distaste.

The rosemary potatoes were sliced thinly as if in a gratin, but baked until golden and crunchy. The mango salad was moist from the generosity of the dressing, and it tasted light and tangy from the mixture of mango, spinach leaves, capsicum and french onion.

Rainbow trout ($22.50)
Below is what my travel companions had:

Seafood chowder
The seafood chowder came out burnt (you could smell it from across the table), but they replaced it without a fuss. The garlic bread was lovely and soft.
Cheese platter
 The calamari came drizzled in coriander and lime aioli and served with vegetables.

Panko rubbed calamari

Tasmanian scotch fillet steak

Prince of Wales Hotel on Urbanspoon


  1. omg i had no idea you went during easter break! Botanical Gardens look amazing and you're making me hungry for some fish 'n' chips! OMNOMNOM can't wait for the Cadbury stuff! xoxo

  2. i'm curious, all that powder around the chowder bowl - did it come like that (and is that the first or second bowl?)?

    also the first fish and chips you had looked like fried chicken ahahha

  3. The picture of the seafood chowder was of the first bowl. Come to think of it, I'm not sure what the red powder is - cayenne pepper maybe??

    And yes!! We totally thought it was chicken as well (even when eating it, as the way they cooked it made the flesh firm and chicken-like).