Ginger Brown is one of those cafes that I honestly wouldn’t have known existed if it wasn’t for the internet. Located in South Hobart at 464 Macquarie Street, it’s off our usual beaten track, but with numerous recommendations on Facebook, Eating Tassie, Urban Spoon and other social media we were keen to give them a shot.
From the street it doesn’t look like the largest of cafes, but on walking through the doors it opens up in front of you. The décor is decidedly 60s inspired, comprising old leather lounges and minimalist steel frame chairs with a distinctly ‘ginger and brown’ colour palette (it’s only now writing this review that I put two and two together… Ginger…Brown..duhh…). I was seriously regretting not wearing my suede jacket with leather elbow patches, matching cardigan and horn rimmed glasses.
And was that the dulcet tones of Belle and Sebastian I could hear through the speakers, interspersed with the happy buzz of content patrons? Sadly, no…I can only dream.
Go on…press ‘play’. You know you want to!
While the standard menu was very comprehensive and would satisfy even the most discerning diner, as you can from the photo above, the specials looked amazing!
Crushed pea and mint baked eggs?
Slow cooked miso and honey brisket?
Red wine braised beef cheek?
Ginger and chilli braised pork belly?
That’s some serious winter warming stomach fillers right there!!
For me it was the beef cheek, while Karen ordered the pork belly.
The full description of this dish was:
“Red wine braised beef cheek (yum!) with white onion soubise (wtf?), parmesan spatzle (wtf?), horseradish goats curd (interesting!) and tempura onion rings (yum!)”
It turns out soubise is a bechamel based sauce made of puréed or strained onions, and spatzle is a type of egg noodle…you learn something new every day!
Put it all together and it was a pretty good meal. Very hearty, perhaps a tad on the oily side, but still very tasty and perfect for warming your wintry gizzards!
Again, the full description of this one was:
“Ginger and chilli braised pork belly, on a salad of crispy noodles, daikon and coriander with plum relish and fried shallots”
What a mouthful!
Again, very hearty. The pork was very tender and the Asian spices combined beautifully. Perhaps the only disappointment with this dish was that the noodles were definitely not ‘crispy’. Limp, or perhaps flaccid would be a more descriptive way of putting it! Not enough to detract though from what was otherwise a very good dish.
To accompany our meals we both went for a hot drink.
The hot chocolate was amazing! I love it when there’s a thick layer of chocolate left at the bottom of the mug, and this one had it in spades! You can never go wrong with a marshmallow either!
By all accounts the coffee was a big winner as well, with Karen going back for seconds! mmmm…jaffa…
The staff at Ginger Brown were great, being very friendly and attentive. The timing on the meals was also very good, allowing us to relax and soak up the sights and sounds of a typical South Hobart autumn morning.
The only tiny negative for us was the fact that, due to a lack of available tables, we had to sit at one of the very low coffee tables. It made for some awkward eating, but I guess that’s what we get for choosing to eat at such a busy time!
With such good variety on the menu I’m sure we’ll be back. Ginger Brown is a winner in our books!
EDIT (3 July 2013) – On the advice of a friend who has eaten at Ginger Brown a lot more times than I have, be aware that it can get extremely busy around closing time of the nearby Collegiate Kindergarten. This can mean both a lack of seating and numerous rug rats running amok. I’ll leave it up to you as to whether that’s a good or a bad thing 🙂
Taste – 4/5
Coffee – 4.5/5
Menu – 5/5
Atmosphere – 4/5
Service – 5/5
Value – 5/5
Overall – 4/5