Templo

Licensed/BYO $-$$   Hat iconHat iconHat icon   Glass icon
98 Patrick Street, Hobart
03) 6234 7659
Open: Lunch and dinner Thursday to Monday.

There’s no million dollar makeover, no spectacular views, no celebrity chef, monied backers or designer cocktails and all the crockery was purchased on eBay. So the only reason to go to Templo is for the food. And that’s reason enough, for the food is exceptional.

Templo’s partners, Chris Chapple and chef Matt Breen, met at Smolt, Chapple after a number of successful hospitality ventures in Melbourne and country Victoria, Breen after cooking in Britain, Italy and Argentina before returning to Tasmania and working with Hugh Whitehouse at Saffire and, finally, at Smolt and Frank. So they’re a very experienced duo. And they’ve distilled their experiences into a small, delightfully unpretentious and very affordable suburban eatery in what was originally a butcher shop and most recently the Mexican restaurant Chulo. The butcher’s old cold room is now the small, semi-open kitchen, there’s one circular communal table with seating for around a dozen plus four tables for two along the street front window and a couple of stools at the bar.

With an intimate, buzzy atmosphere and delightfully informal but fully professional service, Templo has been a hit since opening almost two months ago, so much so that on the Thursday night of our dinner, those without a booking were being politely turned away or going off somewhere for half an hour or so and then returning, hoping someone had finished and left.

The food is Italian with a generous nod to the sunny flavours of Sicily and is a big step up from Hobart’s usual pizza and pasta Italian scene. The blackboard menu features just seven savoury items which are available a la carte or, the way we decided to go, in smaller serves as a seven-course Chef’s Menu.

While beef carpaccio and veal cotoletta are Italian mainstream around town, both, but especially the classically presented carpaccio, were the best I’ve enjoyed in a long time.

Then there was something completely new to me, gnocco fritto, small lard pastries fried and wrapped around freshly sliced prosciutto. Salty and deliciously more-ish, I’m told they are popular bar nibbles in Florence. And I could see why.

This was followed by a superb swordfish steak on al dente asparagus and gnochetti parcels with brocollini and chilli, both dishes with the signature lemon, oil and anchovy flavours of Sicily.

But the real knock-out dish of the night was strips of cured trevally with simply fabulous sweet-pickled fennel and a citrus and saffron butter sauce. Again a dish and flavours that would do any Sicilian chef proud.

In between these highlights, there were crisply fried, parmesan-dusted polenta and succulent, slow-cooked pork jowl with lovely crackling, the richness nicely cut by a sharpish green herb and lemon zest sauce.

Templo’s market driven menu changes often depending on what’s available on the day with, for example, items such as the swordfish on the menu for a few days and then off until they become available again.

There’s a small, hand-written list of wine, beer and ciders plus a jug of house-made sangria sitting on the bar. And, unlike most licensed establishment which see alcohol as a major money spinner, Templo encourages its patrons to BYO their favourite wine.

“Many people today have interesting wines at home and we want them to be able to bring them along and enjoy them with our food”, says Matt.
And, along with the food, the prices and informality, it’s that sort of attitude that puts Templo among the very best Hobart has to offer.

Polenta $4.00, carpaccio $13.00, cotoletta $25.00; seven-course Chef’s Menu $60.00; corkage $15.00

in Recent reviews