Westend Pumphouse

Licensed $$-$$$   Hat iconHat icon   Glass iconGlass icon
105 Murray Street, Hobart
03) 6234 7339
Open: Breakfast and Lunch 7 days; Dinner Tue to Sat.

With Garagistes, Ethos Eat Drink, Sidecar wine bar and now the Westend Pumphouse within a block of each other, central Hobart’s dining scene has at long last come to life. At least in quality terms, if not yet in numbers. Next door to Garagistes, where the Omph Tasting Room used to be, the Westend Pumphouse opened in March and is the latest venture by the owner of the popular and excellent New Sydney Hotel.

With soaring ceilings and Perspex roofing panels, a round central bar, open kitchen and the vast space broken up by casual lounges, leather banquettes and a mix of bare timber group and tete a tete tables, the makeover from the coffee house has been quite dramatic. It now is a really appealing space, different from Garagistes and Ethos, but with the same welcoming, mod-casual, big-city feel to it.

As much a bar and coffee house as a restaurant, they offer a choice of three different coffee beans and have 23 beers from around the world, 10 of them on tap, an amazing selection of spirits and mixes, a regularly changing blackboard list of wines by the glass and a well-priced and interesting list of different red and white varietals from the mainland, France, Spain and Italy. The ’07 Pierro Mancini Cannonau from Sardinia for example, at $41, was the most enjoyable, food-friendliest drop I’ve had in a local restaurant in a long time

And Chef Klaa Clements’ food from a smallish menu – five entrees, six mains – more than does the place justice with big serves of big, often rustic flavours in contemporary presentations that are more art than pretentious gimmickry. Generous slices of jamon are partnered with wedges of poached and grilled quince, batons of fresh pear and crusty bread; the char of a tender octopus tentacle is offset against the tang of orange and cress; pillows of rocket gnocchi and pumpkin sit on a puddle of goat’s curd; and chunks of delicious, house-made blood pudding on slow-cooked egg gets a tart touch from caper leaves while mustard and witlof deliver a similar balancing tang to a dish of pork cheek with brittle crackling and meltingly tender tongue.

The only dish we had at dinner that I felt lacked balance, visual appeal and needed more work and a bit of a lift was a hare consommé poured over pieces of rather tasteless braised hare. The night’s special was grilled fillets of Bruny Island snapper but I felt the protein-rich menu, which also includes wagyu, duck, goat and salmon, could do with the relief of a fresh salad or two.

To their credit, they buy whole wagyu in and have it properly hung and aged for them at Lindisfarne Village Gourmet Meats before progressively using the whole beast in different cuts on the menu interestingly teamed with yorky, seaweed and marrow. My choice next time perhaps. They also have Hobart’s best cheese room just round the corner at Bottega Rotolo from which they select the ripest and best conditioned to offer in an ever-changing cheese board.

What I found most appealing about the Westend Pumphouse however was not just the space, the attentive and knowledgeable service or the felicitous combinations and plating, but the fact that the food actually felt and tasted like dinner – not always the case these days.

Entrees $17 – $20; mains $32 – $39; wagyu $45; desserts $15; single cheese $11; four cheeses $35.

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