Themed restaurants. Love them? Hate them?
To be honest, most I’ve been to have been pretty average. Raising the art of misdirection to obscene levels, luring you in with bright lights, objets d’ art and shiny stuff….mmm…shiny stuff…
Oh yeah…and food. Can’t forget that.
Having heard stories of the ‘kitsch’ interior and nautical theme, The Drunken Admiral has never quite risen to the top of our ‘must visit’ list of Hobart restaurants. It’s not that we haven’t wanted to go, it’s just that there’s always always been something better on offer.
There comes a time though, when the stars align. When fate takes over and there’s a palpable cosmic convergence…
That’s right folks, not only had we had run out of restaurants, but we also had an Entertainment Book voucher burning a hole in our pockets!!
Bring on the dancing fish and saucy wenches! Or was it the other way around…?
Located on the wharf at historic Sullivan’s Cove, The Drunken Admiral is the old dame of Hobart’s restaurant scene, catering to locals and tourists alike since 1979. If the name of the restaurant wasn’t enough, one look at the menu is all you need to very quickly work out that seafood is the priority here!
Chowders, stews, grills, tagines…the number of ways they suggest you consume your fish is seemingly endless!
A friend had recommended the Fish Market Chowder (apparently a perpetual favourite since the restaurant first opened), so that was my first dish of the night ($14.90).
Chowder isn’t exactly a mainstay of my daily diet, so this was a new experience for me. Super creamy and chock full of a myriad of salty, seafoody tid bits, this was a winner! I was particularly happy that it wasn’t scaldingly hot either. There’s nothing worse than watching your partner gleefully smashing their entree of tasty octopus tentacles while you impatiently glare at your dish with accusatorial longing for the next 10 minutes, waiting for it to cool down!
The bonus with this dish is the neat little addition of the recipe underneath the bowl. Well worth a try at home, so long as you’re able to do your maths and scale it down by about 90% (2 pints of cream anyone?).
As suggested above, Karen had the Tasman’s Tasty Tentacles ($21.90). Marinated Tasmanian octopus cooked and tossed through a mixed leaf salad. While not anything too amazing, it was a nice, light start to the meal.
Before describing our main courses, I’ve got to preamble this by admitting that I obviously don’t read menus in their entirety! Prior to this meal I would have sworn black and blue that I would read every word on a menu before placing my order, but this was subsequently proven to be a blatant falsehood! There must some sort of ‘food wank’ filter that gets applied between my eyes and my brain when reading menus, sifting the factually useful terms such as ‘salmon’, ‘wasabi’ and ‘broth’, from the pretentious ones such as ‘stickily moreish’, ‘warm baby’ and ‘veritable feast’***. Amongst all this my filter got a little bit too excited and also managed to ignore the term ‘hotrock’ from the descriptions of both our main courses!!
So when they arrived at the table, Karen looked on with knowing anticipation, while I uttered a rather confused yet excited, “What the…?!!’
This was the Hotrock Salmon ($33.90)…
How good does that look?!! (except for the dodgy lemon under the plate…I honestly have no idea what happened there!)
And it tasted just as good as it looked! Sticky sweet sauce and a pink salmon centre. Delicious! (but not the rice…that’s just for show apparently)
My main course was the Seared Scallops ($36.90)…
It’s up to you how long, or little, you cook your scallops for, removing them from the scaldingly hot river rock when ready.
The scallops were very tasty, with the garlic, soy and parsley marinade complimenting the sweetness of the scallops beautifully. The Greek salad was good, but nothing to rave about.
All in all, a tasty and really well presented meal.
Until the salad.
Seriously, don’t even bother going anywhere near the complimentary salad bar. It’s NASTY!! Dry rice, limp salad leaves, insipid olives…I gave an involuntary shudder…
After all my reservations regarding ‘themed’ restaurants, The Drunken Admiral doesn’t fare too badly. The sheer volume and variety in maritime paraphernalia goes to show that real effort was put into curating the interior of the restaurant, giving it a unique ambience that I’m confident won’t be found anywhere else in Tasmania! Thankfully the staff didn’t break out into any impromptu sea shanties, because that would have been a little too much to bear!
While the quality and flavours were there, I still didn’t feel that the relatively high prices (for Hobart) were justified. To be honest I got the distinct feeling that they were catering predominantly to the tourist market, with local traffic just a bonus.
Regardless, we had a great night and would certainly consider a return at some point in the future.
Taste – 4/5
Coffee – NA
Menu – 4/5
Atmosphere – 4/5
Service – 4/5
Value – 2/5
Overall – 3.5/5
***All terms which I’m sure will pop up at some time or another in this blog 🙂