Reading recent views of this restaurant, nearly dissuaded us from going, but I'm so glad we did. We were greeted promptly by the efficient maitre'd (not sure what the other reviewer was saying about having to stand in the cold - just shut the door!) who showed us to our table upstairs. It's great what they've done with the place since it was Onba and we can't wait to come back in summer to take advantage of the lovely outdoor balcony area.
We were served by a friendly, waitress who was so knowledgeable about the food and wine, we knew we were in good hands. Believe me, in Hobart, it's a refreshing surprise to have wait staff who can describe the details of a dish because they have actually tasted it and who know exactly what wines will go with each course. As it turned out, this was particularly useful, because the first two wines we chose were no longer in stock!! Perhaps a wine menu update is in order?
Our entrees (potato croquettes and a Tassie scallop special) were lovely and arrived in good time. The scallops, in particular, were perfectly cooked, clearly fresh and went brilliantly with the crispy prosciutto and cauliflower purée. Obviously, we ordered steaks for mains, because this should be what a grill does best. They were amazing. Cooked to perfection (and, as a rare steak eater, this is vital) and suited nicely to their accompaniments of a divine chunky mash and a nice take on a house salad: Waldorf inspired. Totally worth paying extra for the Wagyu too - so melt in your mouth, like butter! The recommended wines (a Grey Sands white with entree and a smooth local Cab Sav with mains) could not be faulted.
Whilst the dessert menu looked good, we were both so full it just wasn't possible! Would we come back? Absolutely, but we would try to sit upstairs again to have the same waitress (tall, slim, short hair); her knowledge and friendly, professional manner truly added to our evening.
All in all, a wonderful dining experience. As experienced foodies, we both agreed it was in our top 10.
*just a note to explain our star ratings for atmosphere and romance - it is noisy. We loved the bubbly air of people having a good time, but if you're wanting a quiet, romantic dinner, then maybe try a mid-week night. Fri/sat seems flat out and very noisy.
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