Top 10 places in Hobart to buy food
Supermarket prices in Tasmania tend to be higher than on the mainland. The executives of Coles and Woolworths might argue that it is because of freight costs, but perhaps there is too little competition. We happily support businesses that offer a sense of community, service with a smile and the best of Tasmanian produce. Here is a selection of those and your further suggestions are welcome :-)
Hill Street Grocer
The Greeks have made a rich contribution to the commercial life of Tasmania and, no doubt, made themselves rich in the process. And good on them too. When they operate foodstores like Hill Street Grocer in West Hobart I begrudge them nothing. The aisles are narrow, the fruit and veg move out so quickly that the staff are often in the way as they restock the shelves, the Greek music drives certain people, but not me, crazy and there is usually a line-up to pay. Complain not. The prices are unbeatable, the produce truly fresh and they make you feel like one of the family.
People get passionate about Wursthaus. The manufacturing arm, at Cambridge, supplies smallgoods to the Wursthaus Kitchen outlet at Salamanca and these are supplemented daily with chef-prepared foods, local and imported products and a range of Tasmanian and imported European wines. Parliament House is around the corner and it is not unusual to find political luminaries lining up with everyone else to be served.
Fresh Central Markets
The Salamanca Markets are an institution in Hobart but, for fresh produce, meat and seafood, there is nothing to compare with the Fresh Central Markets in Gormanston Road, Moonah. The Salamanca Markets do not offer fresh meat and seafood, whereas this is available at FCM. The Salamanca Markets only operate on Saturdays, whereas FCM is open every day from Wednesday to Sunday. At Salamanca everything is open air, whereas at FCM it is under roof – warmer in winter and cooler in summer. And in Moonah there is on-site parking, and it is free. Oh, and at Salamanca the prices are geared for the Battery Point crowd, and the tourists. At Fresh Central Markets the prices are what true locals have come to expect.
The Salmon Shop
Tassal, the fish farmers, have a retail outlet in Salamanca Square and nobody appreciates their presence more than me. Last stop on any city visit is to buy salmon cuts or deli items from The Salmon Shop. The prices are good and the staff are well-trained and supervised. You have the unfailing impression that they appreciate your custom, and you cannot say that about every business in Hobart.
West Hobart Gourmet Meats
Can there be a butcher in Hobart, nay in Tasmania, if not all Australia, more enthusiastic than Shane Mundy, the owner of West Hobart Gourmet Meats? And when the boss is abuzz it cannot help but carry over to the staff. But this is not the only reason for their fame. The meat and poultry are from Tasmanian farms. Until chemical preservatives are outlawed you too should buy free-range, grass-fed beef, and this is the place to get it. Twice winners of the Australian “Sausage King” award.
If the world economy collapses then the parade of BMWs and Mercedes and Lexus four-wheel-drives will no longer pull off Sandy Bay Road into Lipscombe Larder and then this gourmet deli, with its fine foods and wines and cakes, will possibly close, and then where will we be? Sandy Bay, for the gentry of Tasmania, is the centre of the universe, and Lipscombe Larder, for this same aristocracy, is the centre of Sandy Bay.
This shop is so charmingly feral that it could have been transposed holus bolus from Mullumbimby, the hippy capital of northern New South Wales. Light the incense! And throw away your vitamins and supplements. All you need are organic greens, pulses and muesli from Eumarrah Wholefoods and you’ll stay strong forever. Buy the bulk items though. It’s a little pricey.
RAW The Natural Grocer
If you have seen the two shiny black Mercedes, RAW 001 and RAW 002, tootling around Sandy Bay then you have realised that it must pay to run a store like RAW The Natural Grocer even though it has hardly enough floorspace to swing the proverbial cat, and some of that area is taken up by a glass-fronted cheeseroom. It’s no sacrifice. The cheese is good and it gives me reason enough to commend them.
Jackman and McRoss Bakery
Bread is a staple of life in Australia but that might change to pasta or rice if all you could get was the packaged, sliced, tasteless fairy floss that is offered up by the supermarkets. Fortunately, in Tasmania, we have Jackman and McRoss to restore faith in the bakers’ craft. They have two retail outlets, one in Battery Point and the other on the outskirts of the CBD, where you can buy their excellent sourdough bread and the incomparable sixteen-hour loaf.
Sandy Bay, Battery Point, Salamanca and West Hobart have their food-speciality stores and delicatessens. It would be tragic if the old established suburb of South Hobart missed out but happily it does not. The Salad Bowl has the measure of them all. This is the way all shops should feel – attractive, welcoming and stocked to the ceiling with fresh and fancy foods.