123 Collins St
Hobart, TAS 7000
You know how when you go to those semi-fancy events where there’s some run-of-the-mill caterer, and the best part of the meal is invariably the canapes served before the obligatory chicken-or-beef main? Well if you’re like me, and have ever wished you could have a meal of nothing but itty bitty flavour-packed nibbles, then get a load of Dier Makr, where half of their 12-course degustation ($120pp) consists of snacks. Better still, they offer a Non-Alcoholic Pairing ($60pp) to go with your meal, though like most self-respecting restaurants these days, they have enough wine to keep all but the choosiest connoisseurs happy. The entire meal is a rollicking good time, the parade of treats always made with the freshest of produce, and a fun-loving insouciance that ensures that although everything is considered and delicious, it never takes itself too seriously.
The x-factor: snack time!!!
Rating: 15.5/20 – big city food, small city prices.
The Chamomile Kombucha with Kumquat Syrup is a tangy and bright start, with just a hint of fizz to accompany the bold, rich flavours of the snacks.
The Tomato Tart, Cultured Cream is a mouthful of smoky, crispy goodness filled with a rich, creamy centre. The semi-dried tomato provides a jammy sweetness.
The Mushroom, Walnut is nothing like what its name suggests. It’s actually a super clever take on the classic Japanese egg custard, chawanmushi. The walnut provides a robust earthiness to the delicate egg, providing a fertile terrain for the umami of mushrooms.
Call me basic, but the Potato Vol-au-Vent is delicious. It’s buttery flaky pastry filled with potato cream – how could you go wrong? Meanwhile, the Raw Wallaby, Shiso Leaf is much easier snacking than I had expected. I’m usually pretty iffy on raw meat, but this was so tender and creamy that it was gone before I knew it.
Baby Corn, Fermented Chilli is exactly what it sounds like, and I wouldn’t mind about 8 of them.
Once again, not usually big on oyster, but the Oyster, Cucumber, Fennel was surprisingly mild and refreshing, with just a hint of slightly metallic brine in the aftertaste.
I was not a fan of the Non #1, a non-alcoholic wine that sounded like a delicious bouquet of florals and fruits on paper, but in reality was rather one-dimensional and overly tart.
The Mackerel, Kohlrabi, Tomato takes advantage of the classic pairing of crisp-skinned oily fish and delicately sweet tomato broth. The addition of kohlrabi adds a nice little herbal crunch that stops things from getting too predictable.
The Calendula Vinegar with Tarragon Syrup tastes exactly like a Chinese pickled plum! It’s sweet, tart, and (for me at least) tastes exactly like childhood.
Oh my, the Zucchini, Lovage. This is cold soup like you’ve never had before. Sensuously silky and rich, with a trove of buttery confit zucchini at the bottom, this is Springtime hedonism distilled into a few precious spoonfuls. And the occasional pop of bitter, tangy lemon segments hidden in the soup? Absolutely brilliant, and does an amazing job at highlighting the delicate sweetness of the zucchini.
Not sure how I feel about this Pepita Milk. It’s this bizarre combination between sweet and savoury that tastes like soup stock blended with fruit milk, and a dash of vinegar for good measure. But it does go oddly well with the next dish, the savoury note of the drink becoming more muted, and instead coming across as more of an umami.
The Calamari, Pork Fat, Paprika was another highlight. I’ve never had calamari so succulent, whilst the squid ink sauce, mixed through with a dollop of pork fat, adds a subtle richness in both taste and mouthfeel to contrast with the bitter greenness of broccoli leaf. And wait until you get a load of the tiny bits of pork crackling hidden at the bottom.
Getting to the richer end of the savouries, there’s the Juniper and Raisin to pair. This tastes just like an alpine Christmas, the mentholated note warmed with preserved fruits, seasoned with a dash of sumac.
The Short Rib, Eggplant, Pepper, cooked for 42 hours and then seared, was of course super tender, with the added bonus of little crispy bits at the edges. Underneath is an intoxicatingly smoky eggplant puree, which lends body to the entire dish, whilst next to it is a brightly tangy pickled pepper to counterbalance the heavy flavours. However I do think this is one of the weaker dishes of the night. Whilst everything else was simple, clean, and to the point, this dish had an awful lot of elements (fried beef bits, curry leaf, pickled onion) that don’t seem to have a clear purpose. It lacks the clarity of vision and produce-driven design that have been the hallmarks of this meal, and suffers for it as a result.
The palate-cleanser/pre-dessert of Peach Sorbet was top-notch. The only other time where I’ve had such veracity of flavour was at MaPo; this tastes exactly like biting into a ripe peach, fuzzy skin and all.
The drinks also finished on a high with the Green Almond Sour. Honestly, is there anything better than a fancy bev?
I absolutely loved the fig ice cream served at Dier Makr’s sister restaurant, Lucinda, so the Fig Leaf, Hazelnut, Blueberry was a very welcome dessert indeed. Here, the ice cream is richer, the fruitiness of the fig leaf brought out by the sweet stewed blackberries, whilst the green, earthy notes were highlighted by the hazelnut granita. It’s as if all the elements of Lucinda’s fig leaf ice cream had been taken and expanded upon. If Lucinda’s fig leaf ice cream is like The Old Man and the Sea, then this one here is Moby Dick. Aka old man goes fishing against better judgement, give or take about 800 pages.
To round out the night, a little treat of Sour Cherry Shiso Sherbet, which melted delightfully like a little dollop of concentrated fruit jam on the tongue, bringing the meal to a close.