Cats love boxes…
They also look pretty ridiculous.
A man is not a cat, so why the obsession with boxes?
We see it everywhere we go.
Dark skin = immigrant
Islamic = terrorist
Tattoos = social degenerate
JJJ listener = music snob
Sandals = tourist
It seems that no matter how complex life is, we’re always compartmentalising and breaking it down into bite-sized pieces.
I’m as guilty as the next bloke, but sadly, it reminds me of the way I tackle a project at work… Objective. Deadline. Process map. Milestones. Prioritise. Attack…
While it’s not what I’d call a barrel of laughs, it IS effective at ensuring an outcome.
“How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!”
The thing is though, that life isn’t a project. Last time I checked it wasn’t an elephant either! Life is totally random and full of unexpected surprises, and it’s those twists and turns that make for the best memories.
You can make the box as pretty as you like (bedazzlers unite!), but as long as there are four walls and a lid, its always dark on the inside.
Fiebiger is not a cat. Nor is it an elephant (although we DID tackle it one bite at a time!). Fiebiger is an enigma on Hobart’s dining landscape.
As a microcosm of life, we also see food being sampled, boxed up, and filed away for future reference under categories such ‘German’, ‘Modern Australian’ or ‘Vietnamese’.
Fiebiger defies labels, and I can honestly say that there a very few venues that successfully achieve this. Is it desirable though? It certainly breaks with convention, and with that comes an element of ambiguity that some may find unsettling. Is it safe to open the box?
The five course Set Banquet is how I would recommend that you immerse yourself in the Fiebiger experience. For $55 you’ll be taken by Ralf (Chef) and Helene (Front of House) on a flavour exploration of global proportions!
As with any multi-course meal, there were some stand out dishes and there were some that didn’t quite reach the same heights.
The wallaby mince cabbage rolls were just sensational, and are a great option to suit the ridiculously cold weather we’re currently experiencing in Tasmania! The seafood soup was also a winner, with both of us loving the rich flavours, perfectly cooked seafood and judicious use of spice.
The rockmelon (cantaloupe) sorbet was a gorgeous little palate cleanser, introducing us both to an herb known in Germany as Waldmeister, translated by Ralf as meaning ‘King of the Forest’. The sweet almond-like flavour underlined the creaminess of the melon in a really interesting way. I’m sure this must be a legacy of Ralf’s childhood, as I’ve never seen it used in Tasmania previously. Some research suggests that it used to be all the rage back in the 70/80s, with excessive consumption potentially resulting in mind-altering outcomes…?! We didn’t have enough to test the theory!
Surprisingly, I also really enjoyed the chia seed dessert. Definitely not a dish I would normally order, this was an opportunity for me to clamber out of my box and try something new. Who knew chia seeds could have such an interesting texture?! Plump little bubbles bursting in every mouthful, paired with some delicious Tasmanian blueberries and a wedge of feijoa. Delicious!
The rice paper rolls were also an education of sorts, with edible nasturtium leaves and coriander the garnish of choice. I was initially disappointed, thinking the balance of flavours to be off-kilter, but eventually realised that by combining a little bit of everything on the plate into one (large!) mouthful it evolved into a really interesting melange of flavours. Similar to the woodruff, this was the first time I’d eaten nasturtiums, and their peppery astringency won’t be forgotten in a hurry!
Only one aspect of the meal stood out as needing some attention. The potato dumpling that accompanied the venison was extremely dense and I was more than comfortable leaving it to one side while I cleaned up the delicious venison and cabbage. The use of herbs and spices was plentiful throughout. Seasoning is very much a personal preference and in the case of the venison some may see it as being a little heavy handed. For myself it was on the edge, but not uncomfortably so.
The service provided by Helene throughout the evening was the right balance of friendly and efficient, and the impromptu visit by Ralf at the end of the evening was a welcome opportunity to quiz him regarding his background, philosophy on food and plans for the future. It was interesting hearing him speak of his time in Germany as a fifteen year old, working in the kitchen and dodging the pots and pans thrown by the head chef! Here’s hoping that it’s not too long before he too has an apprentice in the kitchen, but without the pot throwing of course!
Dining at Fiebiger is to take a brave step outside the box. Where most venues focus on a particular cuisine, the common thread throughout Ralf’s menu of ‘global fusion’ is that of spice. Every dish offers something a little bit different, in many cases exposing you to something foreign, but by the end of the meal you will actually felt satisfied that not only have you fed your hunger, but you’ve been educated in previously unexplored nuances of herbs and spices from around the world (many of which they grow out the back in their own garden).
The location of Fiebiger is a tricky one at this point in time. Situated on Liverpool Street where Mama’s Homemade Dumplings and an Indian restaurant previously eked out an existence, they are removed from the Elizabeth Street food strip and the foot traffic of an evening isn’t high. The impending construction of the new Myer building, and possible transformation of Liverpool Street into a more pedestrian friendly thoroughfare will help, but it’s critical at this early stage of their life that they get good word of mouth advertising.
Fiebiger is unique, eclectic and challenging, but most importantly, it’s rewarding.
Don’t be a pussy. Open the lid and let the light shine in!
For more info (including breakfast, lunch and dinner menus), drop by their Facebook page here: Fiebiger on Facebook
All day breakfast: $8 to $20
Lunch: $7 to $20
À la carte dinner: $9 to $28
5 course dinner: $55pp
127 Liverpool Street
(We both agreed it was probably between a 3.5 and 4, so we rounded up!)