Replacing cassock with apron, and stone altar with stainless, templo truly lives up to its namesake as a temple to sustenance.
As you walk the streets and wharves of Hobart, look around and the signs of enlightenment are clear to all. Aløft, Peacock and Jones, Pancho Villa…trying them all is a crusade we can all enjoy!
With a respectful nod to the temples of old, templo espouses a liberating sense of simplicity. A menu comprising nine dishes, a wine list (unwritten) of perhaps half a dozen, and floor space for no more than twenty.
What can be more liberating than leaving your meal selection up to the chef? A fixed agenda has its appeal, yet it has no place for us on a gloriously sunny, summer’s day, where lifting a glass of Spanish red is the intended limit of our exertions!
For $60pp you get to try all the dishes on the menu, bar the dessert, with portion sizes designed such that you’re well satisfied, yet still able to fit through the door on your way out!
Selecting our first wine for the day wasn’t difficult by any means, yet for those who prefer a concrete list of options in their hands (and for the introverts of the world) it jarred. There’s no written wine list either at the table or on the blackboard, meaning you will need to talk it through with the wait staff.
In saying that, their knowledge of the well-crafted range of wines was superb, with some excellent suggestions in matching the wines to the various dishes on the Chef’s Menu. Some may prefer this more fluid, conversational approach, yet for those left-brainers amongst us I’d recommend trying to fit a brief summary on the blackboard to give an indication of both what is on offer, and what would be an ideal match for each of the dishes.
The food. Where to start?
I’ve said it before regarding RIN, that a simple thing done well is a thing of great beauty, and that phrase applies to templo to its fullest.
“A simple thing done well is a thing of great beauty”
Was it this tantalising glimpse into Mediterranean culture and cuisine that finally pushed us over the edge in making our decision to move to Europe next year? Who knows, but some would say the timing is too coincidental to be a fluke!
Every single dish showed respect, for their traditional roots and for the freshest seasonal ingredients selected by head chef Matt Breen (ex-Smolt). At the same time there was restraint, with this simple aesthetic allowing each of the ingredients to be noticed and enjoyed.
How often is it that protein is the lauded sun, around which the other ingredients rotate, basking in its magnificence and then forgotten?
The ‘Gnochetti, broccolini and chilli’ was a superb dish that turned these preconceptions on their head. No meat(!), yet such was the skill in preparation that what would normally be the first dish I skimmed over on the menu became a dish standing head and shoulders above all others. Delicately plump gnocchetti, sweet broccolini, the subtlest hint of chilli for a point of difference, and clever use of texture to highlight the primary ingredients.
Another interesting, yet exquisitely simple dish was the ‘Gnoccho fritto with prosciutto’. Flour and pork lard flat bread, still warm, over which is draped the wafer thin sliver of sweet prosciutto. Eaten in one, or perhaps two decadent mouthfuls. Yes.
Another standout for us both was the ‘Pink ling’. Lightly fried, a smattering of pine nuts, green olives and capers. It would have to be one of the best seafood dishes in Hobart.
Dish after dish, so consistently excellent and with impeccable timing between each.
The service we received throughout our meal under the oversight of manager and front of house Chris Chapple could hardly be faulted; ‘como de la familia’.
Laid back, no pressure to stay, more than happy to talk details and explain if needed, yet without making you feel like you don’t belong. Perhaps the only suggestion we would make is that when selecting the Chef’s Menu fresh plates should be used for either each dish, or when there is a distinct change in ingredients. When the individual dishes are this good it’s sacrilege to have one sully the other!
Effortlessly combining the modern brilliance of Franklin with the cosy familiarity of your own backyard on a summer’s day, templo brings to Hobart a much needed window into the best traditions and ingredients of Europe and the Mediterranean.
We are so lucky to have such a venue on our doorstep, and I urge you to sample their wares before these fleeting days of warmth are behind us. In saying that, it’s going to be just as exciting to see how the ever-changing menu adapts to the cooler months and corresponding changes in seasonal produce!
So with all these new temples to food announcing their arrival on Hobart’s dining landscape, on which religion should we all be staking our souls?
For me it’s the wrong question. They’re all worthy in their own right, with each presenting a different face of divinity to the hungry. Just as it’s templo with a little ‘t’, they are just one amongst many. Each has it’s place, and each it’s disciples. For myself though, I find my recent appointment to the Knights Templar to be most pleasing (until next week anyway when the next amazing restaurant crosses our path!).
Don’t trust us? templo has also recently received some very good reviews from our interstate counterparts, with John Lethlean from The Australian enjoying his meal, as did Gourmet Traveller.
Enjoy templo or looking for something similar? Here are our reviews for:
templo is located at 98 Patrick St (replacing Chulo).
You can find their website here – templo
Alternatively, they keep fairly busy on Facebook here – templo on Facebook
Lunch: Thursday to Monday, 12pm-3pm
Dinner: Thursday to Monday, 6pm ’til late