If you can put aside anything you might know about food costs, you’ll probably really like the simplicity of Templo. The tiny restaurant is positioned in an unadorned grey shopfront, on the blurry line where the Hobart’s CBD meets the inner ‘burbs.
There are twenty-four seats, divided amongst high stools facing the tiled timber bar, low stools at a round, communal table, and a few coveted tables, with the lucky few in backed chairs facing their eating companions sitting along a banquette window seat. Exposed bricks, polished concrete floors and the golden light of the long Hobartian twilight gentled by blinds complete the picture.
The room’s only decorations are two rows of colourfully labeled wine bottles resting on thin, timber wall-mounted shelves. The wine list, along with today’s nine-item menu, is inscribed on a chalkboard that surrounds the kitchen hutch. From the thirty-strong list that ranges across Italy and Australia’s southernmost states, most are unfamiliar, so I take a stab in the dark at a pinot Rosé. The 2016 Patrick Sullivan Pink Pound Rosé ($60/bottle) is soon presented by one half of the gentle, softly-spoken floor team. It turns out to be a dry, pale pink blend of pinot noir, sauvignon blanc and gewürztraminer, wrapped up in a camp label that positions it as a summertime quaffer for aquatically inclined boys and their blue-footed friends.
It’s just the ticket with Carrots Green Garlic ($16), the first of our three dishes to arrive. True to the cucina povera (cooking of the poor) aesthetic of co-owner and chef Matt Breen, it’s a simple dish that showcases stumpy, blackened carrots against a green garlic base and hordes of pepitas.
Handmade daily, the Tagliatelle Guanciale ($25), is the staff pick of the two offered pastas. Even ordered as al a carte, it’s a modestly sized bowl of toothsome pasta ribbons with lemon rind, slivered zucchini, olive oil and shavings of house-cured pig jowl. It’s impressive in simplicity, if not in generosity.
Last up were some juicy pink Beetroot Ricotta ($16). Here the root vegetables were charred briefly then bound in blackened whole shallots under a handful of crunchy almonds.
Watching plates land across the intimate dining room, I realise that I probably should have ordered the Chef’s Menu ($70/head) like (almost) everyone else in the packed restaurant's first sitting. It delivers a tasting portion of almost all the menu items. My stumbling block was doubting my ability to stay the long meal course perched on a high stool in a doorway. Our tiny table already required us to share each course from the same bowl, because side plates and wine couldn’t both fit. And while I can certainly see the charm of Templo, I felt like I understood its narrow appeal after a relatively small taste.
98 Patrick Street, Hobart
Ph: (03) 6234 7659
Heading to Tasmania? Does My Bomb Look Big In This? has you covered...
The Taste of Tasmania: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 & Part 4.
Breakfast (Hobart): Born in Brunswick, Dandy Lane, Room for a Pony & Macquarie St. Food Store.
Lunch (near Hobart): Willie Smith's Apple Shed & The Dunalley Store.
Dinner (Hobart): The Source, Franklin, Frank & Templo.
Beyond Hobart: Freycinet Marine Farm, Harvest Launceston & Mudbar Restaurant.