Where To Eat And Drink During Dark Mofo
Dark Mofo is a sensory overload of experimental sights and sounds. At its core, the festival challenges us to think differently about the world and our place in it. The festival has helped establish Hobart as a serious contender on the global arts and culture stage, and this year’s program delivers a line-up of weird and wonderful winter rituals designed to surprise and delight.
With so much on offer, it’d be remiss of us not to help you navigate Dark Mofo’s colourful food and drink offering. Here’s a wrap of not-to-be-missed experiences to ensure you don’t go hungry or thirsty during the festival.
Splattering festival collateral and Instagram feeds alike, Dark Mofo’s Winter Feast is one of the festival’s most recognisable food and drink events. The experience is a massive banquet that celebrates cooking with fire.
Guests chefs this year include Formosa Bites (East Coast Tasmania) and Anchovy (Melbourne), Meatsmith (Melbourne) and Meat Mistress (Hobart), Hamlet Café (Hobart) and Miznon (Melbourne), and Holly Davis and Megan Brown among many more stalls. Winter Feast isn’t for the faint hearted: think big flavours, bougie wine, and hordes of discerning foodies.
The fare? When Formosa Bites and Anchovy team up, punters can expect food that straddles Australian and Vietnamese cuisines. The second collaboration is going to get pretty meaty when Troy Wheeler of Meatsmith joins forces with the women of soon-to-open butcher Meat Mistress. They’ll be celebrating local and specialty rare breed meats, epic cuts and classic butchery.
Next up, you can expect those famed whole-roasted cauliflowers from Miznon to collide with local ingredients, herbs and spices from social-enterprise café Hamlet. And for the BBQ fiends among us, chefs Holly Davis and Megan Brown will have you covered when they take to the Heavy Metal Kitchen for a guest stint on the rotating BBQ.
Talisker Winter Feast and Dark Path Wilderness bars
Make sure a visit to Talisker’s Whisky Bars is also top of your list. A Talisker Spiced Hot Toddy – made with Talisker 10 Year Old, honey, lemon, spices topped with gum leaves for an Aussie twist – is the perfect way to kick-start your evening at the Winter Feast, before indulging in a range of signature salty, sweet and peated single malt whiskies.
“Australian winters really do provide the perfect backdrop to cosy up with a Talisker in hand; and the serves that we’ve created for Dark Mofo are perfect to showcase the unique flavours of Talisker while being accessible to those who may be starting their whisky adventure,” says Talisker Whisky Ambassador Katie Nagar.
“And when you’re out in the woods, be nice and good and don’t stray from the path,” runs a quote from Brothers Grim as the preface to Dark Mofo’s Dark Path. This sets the scene for what’s happening on the outskirts of the city; be warned, though, Dark Path requires a lot of walking (approximately 4kms) along terrain home to art and installations twisting and turning from Regatta Grounds to Queens Domain and the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens. Best stay hydrated then.
Talisker’s Wilderness Bar on the Dark Path aims to bring to life the connection between Tasmania’s brooding winters and the Isle of Skye in Scotland so guests can expect a warming seaside experience in a rustic boatshed. On the line-up? A Talisker Campfire Hot Chocolate and the aforementioned Talisker Hot Toddy paired with a Tasmanian blue cheese jaffle. Yes please! “Other drinks will include the festival favourite, Talisker Skye and Ginger and Talisker Boilermakers matched with local Tasmanian craft beer Moo Brew,” says Nagar.
“During the event, the Talisker whisky Ambassador will be hosting free whisky tastings to share stories with festival-goers to help them to understand more about what makes this Scotch so special.”
The Source Restaurant, Mona
The Source Restaurant is Mona’s ritziest offering and the scene of its lavish lunches and grubby after parties. And clearly, no trip to Dark Mofo is complete without visiting Hobart’s most controversial museum, so best line your stomach first.
Ready to go all out? Consider the VIP Chef’s Table experience for $300 per person including food, booze and nonsense. If you’re short on time, opt for morsels from Chef Terry Clark’s breakfast, lunch or dinner menus that offer seasonally sourced dishes. Wash it all down with a drop courtesy of the Mona wine bunker.
Faro’s menu is inspired by the new wing in Mona named after a Greek lighthouse. Executive Chef Vince Trim bangs about the pans out back to serve share plates galore and signature booze, in a setting like no other.
Menu highlights include: classic sangria by the litre, black margaritas, premium jamon iberico, Manchego and leek croquette, grilled sardines, hiramasa kingfish, pork jowl with scotch and crackling, and seared lamb backstrap. But if you want to get into the spirit of Dark Mofo and embrace the weird and wacky, try something more adventurous like feral pig eyes encased in ice balls (upon request when available!). If that doesn’t get your skin crawling, or mouths salivating, we’re not sure what will.
In keeping with Dark Mofo’s mission to push the boundaries and explore the limitless possibilities of the city and beyond, your food journey doesn’t need to stop at the festival’s official programming. Hobart is teeming with culinary delights such as this bar, bottle shop, bistro, and basement piano bar in one, Ettie’s.
It’s the perfect hidey hole AKA Dark Mofo pitstop if you find yourself needing to refuel. Located in one of Hobart’s oldest buildings, but focused on today’s most premium ingredients, this place is home to many contrasts. It’s a casual bistro, serving tasty fare that plays up European traditions in a modern Tasmanian setting.
There are three menus on offer – wine room, lunch and dinner – so Ettie’s will serve you well no matter what stage of your Dark Mofo journey you’re at. Whether it’s a quick stopover for a tipple from the bar’s enviable wine list, a no-fuss soup and sourdough on a lunch break, or slow roasted lamb shoulder come dinner time, Ettie’s has the lot.
Perched atop Brooke Street Pier, diners can look out across Hobart’s majestic waterfront as ferries shepherd gallery-goers to and from Mona. Local produce takes centre stage at Aloft much like many of the highlights on the Dark Mofo food and drink program, so eating here’s the perfect complement to your itinerary.
Make sure you nab a window seat and share from the tasting menu. The considered a la carte menu includes pig’s ear, mountain pepper fragrant eggplant, salt and pepper whitebait, and koji-marinated quail, Sichuan lamb, and Cape Grim beef among other classics. Dessert-wise, you’ve got a choice of fresh mint ice cream, vanilla parfait or quince, leatherwood cream and honeycomb.
If you want someone else to do the choosing for you, there’s a choice of six different banquet menus – including pescatarian, vegan and vegetarian options – catering to even the fussiest eaters among us. Dig in. You won’t regret it.
Serving lunch and dinner, Fico mimics European small seater restaurants that honour the owners’ Italian heritage. Chef-owners Frederica Andrisani and Oskar Rossi spent a year travelling and running pop-up restaurants before landing in Oskar’s hometown of Hobart and setting up shop in 2016.
“Fico is a neo bistro blurring the lines between fine dining and a traditional bistro… we like to call it fun dining,” explain the owners. And we think this is fitting given the many contrasts or light, dark, surreal and dramatic festival-goers can expect from Dark Mofo’s experimental line-up.
It’s best to come hungry, as Frederica and Oskar’s ‘Let Us Feed You’ menu sports classics like warm brioche, blu fin tuna, tortelli aperti, risotto, and Cape Grim beef cheeks. This fare will keep you charged and energised for days. Get amongst it.
Dark Mofo runs until June 23.
(Lead image: Adam Gibson / Tourism Tasmania)
*The writer will be travelling to Dark Mofo courtesy of Talisker Whisky.
Published 11 June, 2019