Monday, 18 March 2013

Westend Pumphouse

I was apprehensive at first, having had a quiet coffee here in the morning with a 25 min wait, I was expecting service in the evening to be slow and disappointing.  However, I was put in my judgmental place when service was swift and professional.  Our waiter had energy and was professionally cool and collected during service, even though he possessed extensive knowledge of the food and produce on offer he failed to tell us at the beginning any changes to the menu, making it awkward when both first and second preferences were unavailable.  But such is life and lucky for us there were plenty more delicious options to fill the gap.

I was a little disappointed with the baba ganoush, always a hit and miss dish with the humble egg-plant, and the corn bread served with it was a little greasy, as it was more like a fried corn batter.  The crispy chicken with hot sauce was tasty and spicy, presented as a bar snack with the sauce in a little bottle, a perfect starter to stimulate the digestive system.  I ordered the sardines with rye and lemon, which I was slightly hesitant as I imagined a nightmare of tinned sardines on toast, but again put in my place with some lovely cured sardines that tasted like my childhood favorite roll-mops. Sadly importation to Tasmania is now banned as a consequence of the salmon industry.  Still Tasmanian producers are coming up with their solution by curing local fish. Anyway back to the 'Westend', served with the sardines, came some lovely rye bread and fresh lemon which cut through the oiliness of the fish, providing a classic salty, sour flavour atop the rustic, earthy notes of the rye.

For mains I had the wallaby fillet cooked medium-rare and served with chimichurri, my first time tasting the Argentinian sauce.  The pangrattatto, a fancy term for chunky bread crumbs, unfortunately resembled the dregs of a deep fryer, however, delicately scattered around the centerpiece were absolutely delicious! There was a mystery sauce, like a  savoury mousse, which took me a little while to pick the flavour as it was so delicate and subtle.  I am making a guess here that it was horseradish, absolutely delicious with the rareness of the game and the hints of preserved lemon in the chimichurri. The Pork chop was exceptionally grilled remaining succulent without drying and the fatty side crisp.  It was served with a fresh coleslaw salad lovingly made with all the classic ingredients, along with a pineapple pickle, a perfect accompaniment to the sweetness of the pork meat and the apple in the slaw.  Our meals were a perfect size, not too big, rich or too little, I was very satisfied with the presentation and assembly of aesthetics and flavours of the dishes.

The Pumphouse is also renowned for its exceptional coffee, and I must say it is very good, offering different roasts for different tastes and experiences.  Alongside this, they offer an extensive wine list, promoting Tasmanian wines (a must for any island state restaurant and bar), offering it by the litre if you wish, alongside an abundance of beer varieties and cocktails for something a bit extravagant.  The restaurant is set out with couched seating and tables for cafe and bar use towards the front, where you can relax and enjoy company, towards the back is a more formal dining area with set tables.  Our table unfortunately had a sticky residue, but we were not sure if this was a non-slip element to the finish of the table, as the waiter seemed to be skilled in lifting up the plates without them catching, and the table itself seemed clean, interesting as I have never seen this before.

The term 'westend' usually implies a classy, and expensive experience, taken from London's more ritzy and glamorous entertainment scene.  Although elements of the Westend Pumphouse inspire this, especially the food, without the expense, the building itself does not exhibit this, having exposed air-ducting, wires, walls cleverly made from recycled milk cartons and untreated timber beams.  Being converted from an old car garage, the Westend Pumphouse fits into a relaxed urban warehouse vibe, enhanced cleverly by opening the front right up in an attempt to capture the energy of the street.  Unfortunately Murray street is not buzzing with urban vibe, dominated by car traffic and views of chemist warehouse.  Whatever, Westend is conveniently located a stones throw from the CBD, with reasonable prices, and relaxed atmosphere I highly recommend trying Westend Pumphouse, for food and drinks.                                      

Here is their link:

The Westend Pumphouse on Urbanspoon

© Tasmaniasfeast 2013.

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