Iain Todd certainly has been a busy little beaver over the last few years!
After regrettably closing the doors on one of Hobart’s best restaurants, Piccalilly, back in 2007, three years ago he opened ethos | eat drink to much sustained, and well deserved acclaim. Still not content, what followed was the establishment of a veritable stable of venues along the southern end of Elizabeth Street. Like a Monopoly king pin, we’ve had the short-lived The Schwartz Sandwiches, a sweet little cocktail bar above ethos, Vita: Nature + Culture, and most recently (if you discount their partnership with Three Japanese), The Providore!
Whew…a glutton for punishment, servicing the gluttons of Hobart!
As with Iain’s numerous gastro-progeny, we had high hopes for The Providore. Promising a charcuterie, cheeses, wholesome salads, traditional English pies, preserves, cook books and baked goods…what’s not to love?!
It was just past midday, and considering that I was going to be producing a three course meal that evening for the Silent Clown in this relationship, we decided to go with a light and lazy lunch consisting of sandwiches for two.
Karen chose the egg and lettuce, while I tried the chicken with pate, coriander and salad. Rookie food blogging error, but I neglected to write down the prices and other menu items…a little over $10 each if my memory serves me correctly?
Fresh ingredients, sensationally soft milk bun and bright flavours. I actually preferred these sandwiches to what they previously served up at The Schwartz. Quality, pure and simple.
Until I felt an almighty CRUNCH between my teeth!
I couldn’t believe it when I found myself fishing an inch long splintered chicken bone from the clutches of my hungry gullet. Knowing the utmost care and attention these guys put into everything they do, I’ve no doubt this is a rare event, but the potential for significant injury was very real. To be honest though, of more concern was the lack of contrition shown when I pointed out the offending morsel to the wait staff prior to the table being cleared. A smile and a nervous laugh was all the sympathy I received, when all I really wanted was a simple apology. Very poor form.
Before leaving, we dawdled up and down the aisles for a little while, exploring the numerous preserves and other delectables on display. All looked delicious and oh so tempting! The salads at the front counter (paid for by the gram), a little less so. We didn’t try them, and hence can’t comment on the flavours, but visually they didn’t really stoke our appetites. On the other hand, the homemade drinks on offer in the fridge were fantastic. I was very tempted by a chocolate milk, but instead grabbed a refreshing cola that was unlike anything I’d ever tasted!
If it’s a light lunch you’re after, then The Providore is likely to satisfy. Their price point is relatively high, but it IS a quality product that they’re delivering to the Hobart public (if you ignore the odd chooks foot).
In saying that, the one item that I was really, really hoping they would have on their menu was a Ploughman’s Platter. They’ve got the bread, they’ve got the condiments, they’ve got a charcuterie, they’ve got the cheese…surely it wouldn’t be that hard? And how tasty would it be?! An opportunity lost in my opinion.
The Providore didn’t quite live up to the heady expectations that had been met by every other one of their establishments that we’d tried to date, but it was still a pretty good feed. For that reason I can’t see it becoming a regular for these Two Clowns, but there’s no reason why it couldn’t become yours!
UPDATE – 12 October 2014 (ie. 3 days after publishing the story)
After reading this review, Iain Todd himself got in touch with me to apologise most sincerely for our experience and the manner in which the issue was handled. I have the utmost confidence that it has been used as a genuine learning experience for their staff, and that the likelihood of recurrence has been significantly reduced.
On an even better note, The Providore HAVE in fact put a Ploughman’s Platter on the menu. Pyengana 18 month aged cheddar, house smoked ham, boiled egg, pickled onion, apple chutney, rye bread and house cultured butter!! I’m not sure if it’s going to be a mainstay, but it was included in both last week’s brunch menu and yesterday’s menu between 9am-2pm. We’ll definitely be making a return visit to give that a try!
Again, a massive thank you to Iain for an incredibly professional approach. To me this underlines the authenticity of the experience that Iain and his team are bringing to both Tasmanians and the many visitors to our shores.
For more information regarding The Providore, drop by their Facebook page here.
Alternatively, you could follow them on Twitter here.
Flavours – 5/10 (until bone-gate it would have been a 9)
Menu – 6/10
Ambience – 7/10
Service – 3/10 (until bone-gate it would have been an 8)
Value – 6.5/10
Overall – 5/10
Online presence – 6.5/10