87 Macquarie St
Hobart, TAS 7000
Tom Mchugo’s is a pub, but it’s not just a pub. It’s one of those things that people like to call gastropubs, never mind how disgusting the name sounds. Aside from your usual parmas, and maybe a steak, nothing on the menu is what you’d expect of your standard watering hole. Instead, it looks more like what you might expect to see on the lunch menu of an edgy new winery. Think haggis fried bao, braised beef tongue with broth and ‘many herbs’, and devilled cod on buckwheat toast. There’s also a great selection of veggie-forward dishes. But Tom isn’t pretentious, despite what the menu might make you think. The space is buffed up to a casual shine, with a very old-timey rabbit warren layout that is so cosy that it might just induce you to stay until closing. And if the fireplace doesn’t get you, the fried pie with ice cream will.
The x-factor: basically the best pub food you’ll ever have.
Rating: 14/20 – pub but not.
I’m having a grand old time with tomatoes in Hobart. The FCF Tomatoes with Roman Basil and Blue Pea Miso Dressing ($14) was highly yum. The miso dressing was a creamy and energetic replacement to the mozzarella you’d usually find accompanying tomato and basil. Is it a salad? Is it a side? You choose.
The Sauteed Eggplant with Lamb Sausage, Parsley and Green Coriander ($16) is the definition of a must-order. It’s sticky and caramelised in the style you’d normally expect from an indulgent Chinese stir-fry, but the onion-forward lamb sausage turns it neatly around into a British pub affair. It is such a clever bit of fusion cooking, and utterly delicious to boot.
But also, make sure you get the McHugo’s Pastrami and Pepper Gravy Roll with Chips ($18), because it is utter comfort food perfection. Smoky, peppery pastrami (super tender), sweet brioche roll crisped up on the grill, savoury gravy dripping onto the bed of golden fries – if you want a dish to spark joy, this’ll do it.
I know the side of Sauteed Greens with Preserved Garlic Sauce ($6) looks pretty crap, but I assure you it’s not. The range of leaves used here results in a fascinating array of flavours and textures, especially given that they’ve chosen a range of leaves not usually served warm. Coupled with a generous dose of lemon and garlic, this is actually both tasty and surprising.