At first glance I was putting my rudimentary, actually let’s make that non-existent, German language skills to the test.
Schwartz = black doesn’t it?
No, it doesn’t.
Before Google came to the rescue my mind was already leaping ahead, making ludicrous leaps in logic, like a case of Chinese whispers gone horribly awry!
Younger sibling to Ethos | Eat Drink (located directly across the road on Elizabeth Street), casual vibe, funky stylings…I’m thinking ‘black sheep’ of the family…??
No, it isn’t, because if it was it would be “Schwarze Schafe” (thank you IMDB).
I honestly don’t know where the name comes from. Perhaps the most likely explanation is that it’s an homage to the legendary Schwartz’s Delicatessen in Montreal, Canada, famous for their smoked meat sandwich served on rye bread with yellow mustard…? I honestly don’t know, and regretfully, I didn’t ask.
It doesn’t matter really. All you need to know is that they make sandwiches. Atypical sandwiches. Sandwiches with real substance, style and panache. Sandwiches that force you, in the best way possible, to remember how good a sandwich really can be!
Forget your boring old ham, lettuce and tomato, your chicken and mayo, your tried and true BLT…the staff at Schwartz have carried over the passion for unique, sustainable cooking for which Ethos is renowned, squeezed it between a couple of slabs of Pigeon Whole Bakers best bread, and offered Hobart a broad and ever-changing menu of sandwiches that should please even the fussiest eater!
- Beef, black bean and chimmi churi;
- Scrambled egg, cheese, bacon and BBQ sauce;
- Smoked chicken, carrot, tarragon and eggplant
And that’s just the start!
The day we walked in they had a number of tasty options pinned up on the wall, but I just couldn’t go past the roasted pork with BBQ sauce, lettuce and pickled cucumber ($13) on brioche, while Karen opted for the beef brisket with pear chutney, kraut and mayonnaise ($12) on sourdough.
What can I say about the pork sandwich?
sloppy juicy, crunchy…classic flavours prepared with great attention to detail and in just the right balance. The coriander was an unexpected addition that topped it all off perfectly! Sure, it was a little messy, but the flavours were all there in abundance. My only tiny criticism is that the brioche was a tad on the sweet side for my liking, but perhaps that’s how most prefer it?
The brisket was also a success, full to the brim (does a sandwich even have a brim?) with all manner of delicious ingredients. Again, the bread was the only let down, with the sourdough being extremely crusty making it really difficult for Karen to take a bite. Luckily she prefers to deconstruct her sandwiches anyway, but it’s one of those little details that can ruin an otherwise fantastic meal.
However, similar to our recent meal at Burger Haus it was actually a drink that stole the show for me at Schwartz Sandwiches! Again, it was a chocolate milk that left me lost for words…
Hand made from single origin chocolate and ethically sourced from across the globe, this was just what the doctor ordered! Before taking your first sip though you need to give your biceps a work out, ensuring the bottle is sufficiently shaken to break up the thick chocolate at the bottom of the bottle. Rich, creamy and of the highest quality all the way through to the final drop, this was the second best chocolate milkshake I’ve ever had the pleasure of drinking! The only thing that stops this from being the best is that while it does have the better flavour of the two milkshakes (slightly), unlike the milkshake from Burger Haus, it lacks a certain element of refinement which to me makes all the difference.
While the food was great, I did feel that the ambiance of Schwartz was a little off-kilter. Very funky decor, including a working record and cassette player; handmade touches here and there, from the menu on the wall to the pin board showing the location of the various ingredients they have sourced from across Tasmania…they’re all great in isolation, but together they don’t seem to gel. It’s certainly not something that would stop me eating there in the future (because I definitely be back for seconds!) but it’s one of those things that could really round out the whole experience just that little bit better.
The staff at Schwartz show an obvious and enthusiastic love for both the individual meals that they keep serving up, and the larger concept, ideology and ethics that underlie the establishment.
Passion and commitment to quality are sadly lacking these days, yet at Schwartz they seem to be bucking the trend and are offering Hobartians the opportunity to simultaneously fill their tummies and broaden their horizons at the same time. They are a credit to Hobart’s food scene and I’m confident they will continue to fill this niche market for the foreseeable future!
Taste – 4/5
Menu – 4.5/5
Atmosphere – 3/5
Service – 4/5
Value – 4/5
Overall – 4/5