We disrupt your regular programming to bring you my last flash back to December, when Brad and I were driving around Tasmania before meeting joining his family near Devonport (North West area of Tassie) for Christmas.
The night before we rolled home after a beautiful meal at Garigstes, which was a rather impressive meal. So where could we go for brunch in Hobart that would continue that sweet aftertaste and let the joy of a good meal linger on a bit longer?
Our answer was found in Environs.
This cosy little cafe, filled with natural light, is located just across the road from Jackman and McRoss in Battery Point, but may quite easily be passed by the hoards of tourists with eyes only on the vast display of sweets at the bakery.
Upon walking in, I felt like it had a sort of nautical feel to it, like it could be right across the road from the beach, or on the edge of a pier. Maybe it was the white painted brick walls, with the wooden chairs with just a bit of weather to them and the brilliant blue signage with a simple sans serif typeface. Whatever it was, I loved the bright and light space.
My last soy chai in Hobart was smooth, velvety and delicious. Cinnamon? Yes please.
Brad ordered their 'Savoury Breakfast', with scrambled eggs on a corn cake, topped with hollandaise with bacon, hash brown and tomato. You want carbs and protein? And a lot of it? This is your dish.
I kind of love that the corn cake was more like a pancake too!
I was a bit stuck on what to have for breakfast and in the end went with eggs Florentine. I very rarely order Eggs Benedict or Florentine, as I am usually conscious that hollandaise sauce is not on the best of terms with my hips. But I guess I was on holiday, so whatever goes right?
Gosh, was I glad I ordered it. My eggs were absolutely drowned in a golden and rich hollandaise sauce, that just smothered everything perfectly. And talking about eggs, I was surprised to find three egg yolks, which were all perfectly poached. Three! I'm assuming that's not normal (although if it is, it's pretty good value at $16), and that maybe one of the eggs was a mutant, but it meant that I had an incredibly filling breakfast.
The little addition of sauteed onions also completely made the dish for me, adding a hint of sweetness to the rich hollandaise.
I really wish I had the words guys, I really do. I want to flail my arms around in joy and make heart shapes with my hands. Although we ate deliciously in Hobart, this was possibly one of my favourite meals. Everything was just right. Mmm, egg porn.
From there, after picking up some cheeses at Salamanca, including a very smelly Bruny Island Co cheese wrapped in vine leaves (which ended up being the most delicious thing ever), we made the long drive to the west coast of Tasmania to Strahan.
Okay. Stop for a second.
How do you think Strahan is pronounced?
No it's not 'Straaaah-haaan' (as I think it should be), it's 'Straw-n'. What the heck? I give Brad shit all the time for it. He's originally Tasmanian after all, I'm totally allowed to blame him.
It was a long drive, about 4 or 5 hours all up, but we made a stop about half way between Hobart and Strahan at 'The Wall in the Wilderness'.
We weren't allowed any photos inside, but if you do ever drive by, I would certainly recommend popping in. Firstly, it makes a very nice and clean spot to have a toilet break, but the 100 metre long wood carving, that is still a work in progress is absolutely a wonder to look at. Artist Greg Duncan will have carved about 300 square metres of wood when he's done with the wall. It's amazing to see how smooth and realistic he can make all the figures.
The cabin also has a few other of his pieces around, and you might mistake a wooden glove on a table for an actual glove, as it's carved so realistically!
Our next stop after that was Queenstown, which Brad had been wanting to take me to see. Not because it's particularly pretty or anything, but just because the landscape is quite unique.
It was a mining district back in the 1900's and due to use of chemicals and because of high tree removal and what not, the mountains surrounding Queenstown have a pink and reddish tone to them. And since there are no trees around, it kinda looks like mars or something. It's weird.
Even the local footy ground doesn't have any grass and is fondly (or not so) named 'The Gravel' (for the most obvious reasons possible). Only the toughest can play here!
It was sort of intriguing when we got to Strahan, after having rather pleasant 20+ degree days in Hobart, that the temperatures dipped to a modest 12 degrees or so during the day. Wearing shorts on the way over may not have been my brightest idea!
While staying in Strahan, we took one of the cruises out, that took us to the Gordon River, which is one of the World Heritage listed areas. Gorgeous spot, so lush and vibrantly green. We learnt about the huon pine which grows in the area, which essentially sounds like one of the best woods to work with ever. Water resistant (or proof even?), soft to mold (so perfect for artists) and it didn't rot (perfect for boat making).
On the way we got to see some of the salmon fisheries and learnt how they worked, which was pretty fascinating too. I had notes guys on how they grow the fish here, but I can't find them… :(
We also got a tour around Sarah Island, which was a notorious penal settlement with a reputation as being the harshest penal settlement in the Australian colonies. It all sounded pretty awful the way the men were treated, even worse than Port Arthur which was set up later. Even though they tried isolation at Sarah Island, where it didn't really work, they still implemented it at Port Arthur. Did these people not learn?!
It was also curious to learn, that after the convicts had gotten rid of the chain of command and a respectable boat maker, who treated them properly arrived and turned the place into a profitable little island, where convicts were lining up to be stationed, the authorities decided to close down the place and move it to Port Arthur.
Why fix what ain't broke? Who'll ever know…
And that was pretty much our trip to Tasmania! We didn't really eat out in Strahan, as the place is tiny, and Brad's aunt treated us to huge dinners every night…so why would you really go out anyway? After our two nights in Strahan, we popped back onto the road and made the 4 hour drive back up to Devonport, where we then spent the next few days, and Christmas, visiting Brad's relatives and eating potatoes from his granddad's backyard, which were totally delicious.
38 Waterloo Crescent