Dandy Lane

$
10/138 Collins Street, Hobart CBD
0487 203 640
Open: Weekdays 7.30am to 3.00pm, Saturdays (9.00am to 2.30pm. . Takeaways.

According to a recent report in the Mercury, “the state’s café and restaurant culture has become one of the fastest growth industries in the state with new data showing record spending at eateries”.

The report said the latest figures on retail spending from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show “a whopping $624.3 million was spent in cafes, restaurants and takeaway food outlets in Tasmania last year – a 74 per cent increase on the $358.2 million spent a decade ago” and that $164.8 million had already been spent in the first three months of his year.

The article speculated on the MONA effect, the tourism boom and the increased use of social media as contributors to the increase. Added to that might well be the counter-intuitive but historically observed fact that, when economic times are tough, comfort spending on things like eating out, movie going and the like tends to increase.

Whatever the causes, with some 70 cafes within a ten minute walk of Hobart’s GPO and, in 2015, a new eatery opening in the city at the rate of one every fortnight, it is reasonable to assume Hobart was responsible for a major part of this increased spending.

So, in such a crowded and highly competitive scene, it was a brave move when first-timers, Jarrod Wessing and Stephen Mitchell, opened Dandy Lane late in 2016.

Tucked away at the rear of the Imperial Arcade with a second entrance off the attractively revamped Collins Court, you could, and I have, walked past their café and its signs without really noticing it. Until I had a number of people report on how good it was.

We went shortly after opening time on a Saturday morning and watched as business picked up towards brunch and lunch times. So far, Wessing says they’re very happy doing very good numbers at weekday and Saturday lunches and have plans to further expand their alfresco seating in Collins Court with umbrellas and so on which will make the Court an even more appealing mid-city laneway.

The atmosphere inside is cosy with a number of blond-wood tables for twos and fours complimenting the café’s minimalist black and white décor. The all-day breakfast/brunch/lunch menu offers 11 fairly mainstream, lighter dishes plus a choice of six burgers with somewhat more creative combinations and fillings.

The lighter dishes might be mostly mainstream but the servings are generous, spicings are good and the combinations have been well thought through.

Smashed avocado dishes are almost a café fixture around town. But Dandy’s combination of goat fetta, soft herbs, grain toast and a refreshingly sharp lemon dressing through the avocado was one of our better versions. Similarly with the poached eggs and avocado salsa on corn bread in which a dressing of chipotle mayo added an aromatic lift and flavour of Mexico.

Smoked salmon with poached egg, a herb and parmesan rosti, spinach and hollandaise was, but for the generosity of the serving, another café standard. The only dish I found disappointing was the beef brisket hash with limp sautéed slaw where the only component with any texture was the white of the poached eggs. However, the accompanying hollandaise was house-made as is most everything else on the menu and, since the brisket was Jarrod’s “favourite hungry dish”, it will probably remain.

Barista Mitchell’s coffee, using locally roasted Villino beans, is excellent and Dandy’s pure-fruit crushes are wonderfully cold, flavoured and refreshing.

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