Page 19 - foodservice magazine August 2019
P. 19

Chalked on a blackboard hung on the front door of Tom McHugo’s Hobart Hotel is a list of vegetable growers – Fat Carrot Farm, Provenance Grower, Rocky Top Farm,
Suzi + Liz, Felds Farm and Golden Valley Farm. It’s a simple gesture, but it’s also a sign of how close to nature Hobart’s hospitality industry is, and how the best of those pubs, restaurants, bars are using that to their advantage.
The pub’s hyper-seasonal, hyper-local menu is also a mission to distinguish the current operation from the pub’s debaucherous past when INXS blared from the upstairs karaoke machine.
“Through the ‘80s and ‘90s it was the place to come and get rowdy. Every second person you talk to who’s over 40 will have a story about how they used to dance on the bar,” says chef-owner Tom Westcott, who took over the pub two and a half years ago with his partner Whitney Ball. “It’s certainly a lot calmer now.”
Before getting the keys, Ball and Westcott had cut their teeth in some of Hobart’s best restaurants. At the time, both were working over the road at the lauded Franklin, with Ball running front of house and Westcott in the kitchen. Ball had worked in a pub before, but Westcott was green. Still, the opportunity of a CBD corner site in a capital city was too good an opportunity to pass up.
Westcott’s early ideas of a pub were stereotypical. You’d go, drink copious pints soaked up with a schnitzel or a steak, and then wash your meal down with more ale. But as he started reaching out to his valued suppliers, Westcott and Ball realised that in order to stay true to themselves, they needed to take a different route – one that started with a chalkboard.
The dining room and front bar at Tom McHugo’s.

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