On Friday's AJ and I aren't usually in the mood to cook so generally will opt for some take-away. Out we went to a restaurant that had elluded us for quite some time - the Beach House in Lower Sandy Bay.
This restaurant has been through a few management changes during our 3.5 years in Hobart, and every time we've gone to check it out it's been closed for dinner. The Lower Sandy Bay locals swear its a good spot for breakfast or lunch being only metres from the beach. On this Friday, our luck was in supply and The Beach House was open for dinner.
The restaurant lies beneath an apartment complex that looks out over the Derwent River, so during your meal you spot any passing boats or just watch the water. This venue would be perfect for a birthday function with a bar stretching its entire length.
We sat down at our table and inspected our menus that listed a simple pub style selection. We opted for the Pork Belly (I really need to expand my horizons - but there wasn't too much else on offer) and the Pumpkin, Spinach and Cheese Risotto Balls.
The Pork Belly was served with a crispy sweet potato garnish. This was wafer-like, crispy and added texture. The two portions of pork belly were placed on wilted spinach and on the plate were three quenelles of roasted capsicum puree. The pork fat had not been rendered down enough for either of us and the crispy skin on top was burnt. The capsicum puree was more like a capsicum dip. These issues weren't fatal - the dish was still tasty, but as I now become a Pork Belly veteran it was not in my Top 10. Overall, I think the best thing about the dish was its plating.
The Pumpkin, Spinach and Cheese risotto balls were served in a rich tomato sauce. The sauce was fresh and well seasoned, the risotto balls were crispy and moist. These kinds of dishes are prepared well in advance. A bit of sauce, plate three risotto balls, pop in the commercial microwave and voila! Unfortunately, the biggest let down was the temperature the dish was served at. An easy fix - but something that let down our enjoyment of it.
Now reading back on what I've said here may look harsh but we weren't paying counter meal prices. Pork Belly, and the components of a vegetable Risotto aren't in the realm of expensive produce for restaurants - so we expected more. In a crowded region of cuisine, Sandy Bay restaurants compete for this small population's loyalty. Suffice to say; we weren't won over.