40 Molle Street, Hobart
0409 283 765
Open: Monday to Friday 7.00am to 3.00pm, Weekends from 8.00am. Takeaways.

The brain child of Emily Briffa and Millie Pardoe, they say “Hamlet is a café with a social conscience”, a not-for-profit, community-based enterprise offering migrants, underprivileged Tasmanians and the long-term unemployed a helping hand by providing them with hospitality skills, confidence and, more than just a piece of paper, practical work experience.

Inspired by working in her brother’s similar operation in Melbourne and working in close cooperation with local organisations such as Workskills and the Migrant Resource Centre here, Chef and Managing Director, Briffa, says they offer three different training programs running from a four-hour shift each week up to 15 or 20 hours a week over a period of one to six months.

Briffa was lured to Tasmania to work with David Moyle at Franklin two years ago and learnt in her talks with various Hobart charitable organisations that a hands-on training enterprise such as Hamlet was exactly what was needed. Then a phone call out of the blue from Millie lead to a meeting of minds before they set off to find the space and put their hearts and labouring efforts into bringing their ideas and the café to fruition.

Despite being tucked away in a car park behind the old Avoca bodyworks, at the end/start of the Cascade Gardens/Rivulet Walk and in a not-yet-fashionable
part of the CBD, Hamlet has been a hit since opening its doors a little over a month ago.

And it’s easy to see why. The breakfast and lunch meus make you feel healthier just reading them.

“We aim to work closely with our suppliers and design menus that are wholesome and nourishing for our community” say the menus. Which translates into seasonal dishes with daily blackboard specials and salads often based on products locals have dropped in, and a display cabinet with baguettes, toasties and their range of tasty treats to eat in or takeaway. Among the specials, there’s a daily risotto and “today’s meat option”

At lunch, we had two Asian-inspired dishes – the Buddha bowl and the Miso Eggplant.

The first was a generous and complex mix of brown rice with wakame, kimchi, seasonal veggies, toasted salt bush with a sesame dressing. Despite the diversity of ingredients, the dish hung together as a beautifully crisp and refreshing whole with a crunchy surprise in every mouthful.

The eggplant dish was marginally less successful with the eggplant meltingly tender but with a little too strong hit of savoury miso, the flavour not really moderated by the accompanying and excellent fresh herb and buckwheat salad.

At breakfast next morning, I enjoyed an equally healthy and complex four-grain chai and coconut porridge with salted caramel and hazelnut praline, served wonderfully flavoured and moist without the need for milk. Other breakfast options included homemade granola with organic yoghurt; avocado, baby pea and fetta smash on Ruby wheat and homemade baked beans with charred leeks and confit tomato with or without poached eggs.

To drink there are the usual run of coffees, a range of specialist teas from The Art of Tea as well as a selection of their own cold-pressed juices.
In addition to their seven-day-a-week café, they are building a catering business which doesn’t leave them much time for a social life or, for Pardoe, time to spend with her child. But they’re both loving it and plan to open a second outlet within the next 18 months.

Poached eggs $9.00; Chai coconut porridge $12.00; Buddha bowl $14.00; Miso eggplant $15.00

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