Dier Makr Wine Bar Bistro Cellar

Licensed $-$$   Hat icon
121-123 Collins Street, Hobart CBD
0425 830 141
Open: Open Wednesday to Saturday from 5.00pm, Sunday lunch from noon to 4.00pm.

The great food writer, M.F.K.Fisher, wrote once about her desperate search for an inn before stopping in front of what she called “one of the least attractive buildings in German Switzerland” with dark stairs leading up from the street through a forbidding hallway.

Such were my thoughts as we entered Dier Makr along the darkened hall of what had obviously once, a century ago, been a grand, double-storied town house before it became a cramped maze of airless offices.. With just a sandwich board on the footpath, a few steps up into a long, darkened hall with Aubergine Café and the workings of its kitchen on one side and overflow chairs and tables under an impressive timber staircase on the other, it must be the least inviting restaurant entrance in Hobart.

For Ms Fisher, what followed her inauspicious start, was, she wrote, “the most delicious dish that we had ever eaten”.

While chef Kobi Ruzicka’s food at Dier Makr didn’t reach quite that level of excellence, most of his dishes were exceptionally tasty, creative and artfully presented.

Following extensive kitchen stints around Melbourne and overseas, and opening his own small place in Eltham a few years ago, Ruzicka and his partner, Sarah Fitzsimmons, came to Hobart in the middle of last year. After five months of hard work restoring, removing walls, decorating, installing a kitchen and bar and helping Federica Andrisani and Oskar Rossi at a few of their pop ups, Dier Makr opened just in time for Christmas. With high, original ceilings, creamy white walls, a fully open kitchen and bar fronted by high stools, moody lighting and cool, Delta Blues music they’ve created an attractively atmospheric, intimate dining space.

The ‘a la carte’ – or ‘drinking menu’ as it’s termed – offers six options each simply described by three ingredients such as ‘coquettes, blue cheese, pear” and “chicken liver parfait, figs, saba”. The blackboard daily specials menu is more extensive but just as bare-boned in its descriptions.

We chose the blackboard specials offer of eight courses for $65 plus an additional two from the a la carte menu of which, among a couple of ‘so-what’ disappointments, the stand outs were a fabulous dish of Iberian anchovy fillets moistened with olive oil strongly flavoured with lemon zest; a scroll of beautifully crisp beetroot wafer enclosing pickled beetroot and yoghurt which literally went ‘pop’ in the mouth; perfectly grilled mussels on a beer foam with the crunch of smoked almonds; and slow-cooked pork neck whose succulent sweetness was set against the tartness of grilled peach. Thinly shaved lardo with walnuts and sweet paprika was another unusual but thoroughly enjoyable combination.

On the other hand, the deep-fried crumbs with honey and rosemary disappointingly overwhelmed the delicate flavours of sweetbreads and with the beef tartare, rice crackers and oyster cream someone had been too heavy handed with the Worcestershire.

Someone had also been heavy handed with their list of so-called natural wines. There were no Tasmanian wines on the list and we had to send one bottle of oxidized French white back before the very personable and well-informed Fitzsimmons suggested a Grenache that, although not doing much for the food or our enjoyment, was at least drinkable. It might well be a generational thing or an overstated health thing, but, for me and many experienced, like-minded diners, why go to a restaurant where you’re scratching to find something you want to drink?

Drinking menu $12 to $16 Eight-course degustation $65.

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