Dark Mofo is a bold statement and to present this art at the most unusual time is a revelation in free thinking and risk taking. Who wants to go to the coldest city in Australia on the shortest days of the year and see crazy art? The ten day Hobart festival combines food and art with performance art dominating much of the program. Bravo director David Walsh and Creative director Leigh Carmichael, Hobart hums with energy during Dark Mofo and no wonder the local MP and Lord Mayor support you. https://darkmofo.net.au/

MONA has now become my favourite gallery globally and visiting during Dark Mofo is the perfect excuse. The quality of produce in Tasmania is legendary and to have the best local, Australia’s finest and International chefs cooking in an arena together was an opportunity I could not resist. And a great excuse to share my foodie travels on Instagram.

Winter Feast, not quite a birds nest

Winter Feast

Winter Feast ran from June 17 -21 at Pier Wharf 1 on the southern side of Hobart Harbour. It’s a massive hall, said to be dressed as a giant birds nest housing 40+ stalls for food and drink. It was busy, so scoping what to eat is a testing feat. We first settled on a warm spiced and dark natural ferment organic ciders from Willie Smith. A couple of boutique brews not available elsewhere. Warm and spice helped battle the cold and wet. The dark natural ferment characterised by full body, big mouth feel and dried fruit aromas without being sweet at all, had the heady aroma and flavour of natural ferments I pursue. I was excited to share my experience on Instagram but a photo of a cider was not going to cut it.


Babe going the dog

We we’re intrigued but the salted cod hot dog but it left us disappointed. Mainly due not having enough contrast in texture, a bit of sizzle on the sausage and some crunchy sprinkles would have added much to the monochrome texture of soft sausage, dough bread and wet mayonnaise . Double flop for Instagram, can’t post a dish that’s not delish and it did not look good either. We moved on efficiently finding a sensational seafood stall with champion chowder and magnificent mussels. Chowder chunky with oysters was charming for the chilly night. Seafood chowder is a dish I’ve rarely had and had my mind searching for clues on how they could get such depth of flavour. Now here was my dilemma, I was getting a bit anxious to post on my Instagram and hashtag #darkmofo #seafood and #chowder as I’m a slut for likes on my Insta but soup is certain non scorer, but then, it tasted so damn good.

Sealed in foil the mussels sat in a wood oven beckoning me. It was wet and cold and the fire they bathed in was calling. Soft, plump, tender, juicy mussels cooked in their own juice with a little white wine were delicate and fulfilling as scoops of juice ran down my chin as I sat by the fire. Touch screens are wonderful and my iphone has a great camera but trying to get a decent photo of mussels with wet fingers is a difficult task, my Insta was not going well. Now, the ciders must have kicked in as I forgot the name of this amazing seafood stall and did not get a photo of the stall, except they also did wine and I remember having a lovely Pinot Noir so my best guess it was Barringwood Estate.


Mussels in the wood fired oven





Jake Kellie”s wall of meat and flame


Lamb with Barley risotto and Saltbush

The next dilemma is how much food you can sample at these festivals. Some of the Bao, buns and pies looked so big and hearty I was reluctant to commit that much stomach space. I was tempted by the Mona BBQ but settled on a wall of lamb with the bookcase of coals. It was Jake Kellie’s, of Fat Duck fame, turn to pop up. I am glad the team talked me into taking the barley risotto with my serve, as it was delicious. Again, I am inspired to explore the realms of barley and it’s potential. The lamb was simply kissed by the coal heat, left in its own glory and dressed with crispy slatbush leaves. A triumph of a dish but I only got three little lambs, it was late and there seemed to be plenty there. I did hear other chefs sold out so to guarantee a sample of the super chefs food you’d better go early.

We went early and hit peak hour exasperated by the rain. Inside was an obstacle course of people and prams: Stop; go; stall; reverse, that’s the person in front of me, mind my cider luv it’s hot! I found myself at the Belgrove Distillery stall and picked up a bottle for my collection. Small batch, handcrafted #ryewhisky $145 for 500ml, pricey I know but Rye Whisky is another of my obsessions and I regret not getting the White Rye too. We missed a couple stalls, notably Rough Rice. I was keen to return for their food and natural wine.

We planned to go back to #WinterFeast the next night, this time prepared for seating, eating and drinking but we managed to score a table at Franklin for dinner. My new favourite restaurant. Lunch is pretty simple and tasty but dinner is exceptional. Sitting inside, warm being served magnificent food was perfect for this evening. Tasting a rare ingredient close to source in a resto I respect is at the top of my to do list so the Abalone was a mandatory choice ( $70 ). Sliced and diced, served in its shell with light warm wave foam is a revelation. Tender, juicy, soft and chewy, true unto itself this brilliant dish is, it’s also an Instagram flop.


Wizard in the Kitchen at Franklin


Freshly shucked oysters bathing in sea water


Lunch at Franklin, natural wine, chicken broth and lamb stew



At Franklin we started with the Periwinkles, much better than my dad foraged for me once but with a texture I can not love, a bit testing on my gag reflex. The bone marrow #dumpling was a must try as I’m currently collaborating to get a dumpling onto a menu at a Sydney resto. It is not an Asian style dumpling though, more dough based. It is a tasty dish served in a delicate wild mushroom broth with tiny crisp grains that pop and add a surprising exciting element.

Spiced Jerusalem artichoke mash accompanies the hangar steak. I was expecting great steak flavour to reign supreme but this also melted in my mouth. Add some crisp radish and fresh basil and you have another sublime dish. The wines were also outstanding with great assistance from sommelier who brought us several wines not yet on the list. This joint is so good I wanted go back a complete the trinity by having breakfast the next day but I forced myself to try other places. http://franklinhobart.com.au/




Bone marrow dumplings


Abalone, sensational
















Bacon french toast at Pilgrim Coffee

A great breakfast spot in Hobart is Pilgrim Coffee, try the French toast with maple bacon. This dish is a play on the old school U.S. diner breakfast where you can eat pancakes, eggs, bacon all together and the flavours work well together. I remember seeing for the first time and being disgusted but you cant knock until you’ve tried it and its surprisingly good. https://www.facebook.com/PropertyOfPilgrim Plus crazy food concoctions are popular on Insta.

MONA is exceptional and worth a trip to Hobart itself. It may be worth a couple of visits as the material is so stimulating its hard not be overwhelmed. http://www.mona.net.au/ The exhibitions during Dark Mofo match MONA in intensity. The Bass Bath is an installation where you enter a dark room and get hit with 2100 hp Sub Woofer bass system and light show. The Fire Organ jets bursts of hot flame as the organ chords pump air into the system, quite theatrical and camp. The Shadows Calling by Patricia Piccini and Peter Henessey is surprisingly humorous, a play on modern sexuality in a funny macabre fashion. There are films and plenty of performances some epic in proportion. I did not attend Wild At Heart, a two night sleepover in Cradle Mountain, through a lack of commitment, somebody please tell me what is was like? http://darkmofo.net.au/wild-at-heart/


Source at MONA

At MONA our decision to dine at Source was made by the evacuation of the wine bar, it was the only choice left. Source is the high end resto at MONA, its very good and a beautiful place to sit I found the food just a little tricky. Both my dishes were served with foam and I could not find the relevance of why the foam was on the plate. I also would have preferred a little sizzle on my food for taste, colour and texture. I did get some photos of #decanterporn for my Instagram account as the wine list is exceptional.




Los Pollos Hermanos from The Standard


A friend put me on to The Standard but I was not ready. Have a chicken burger he said. https://www.facebook.com/standardburgers We checked out of our room and I was rather hungover. I did not expect a counter in a loading dock with milk crates as seats. I expected a warm diner where i could get a hair of the dog. I could not read the menu fast enough and ordered a Los Pollos Hermanos. A fried chicken #burger with bacon jam, hot sauce and blue cheese dressing, with my head, what was I thinking? Sounds like a brilliant combo but there was too much zing for my zang. This burger was similar MONA, pushing the limits of your comfort zone but not right for my sensitive situation. I can’t call this one, I’ll have to try it again as my friend calls it the best in Australia. I was also keen for an Instagram jackpot, although the food was all great I think everyone was sick of me posting and a big fried chicken burger was surely going to break the siege but alas I could not even manage a post



Dark Mofo is a great #festival and would be better with a group of friends. Next time I’d Air B & B a place to stay, find a great spot to sit at Winter Feast and indulge all night. It was cold but with a jacket, hat, scarf and a spot by the fire with mates would be like glamping. Having more people would allow you to try more food and drinks and enable you to keep a spot to dine at, take an Instagram and hashtag #selfie cause that hashtag always gets likes.


Streets of Hobart


Ogoh ogoh at Dark Park


Food Trucks at Dark Park


Fire Organ at Dark Park


Winter Feast


Ferry ride from MONA


Pies, I did not try these


BBQ, I did not try this


no shortage of drinks at Winter Feast

Food, travel



Three Days In Byron

Three Days In Byron

Low tide at Main Beach

low tide on Main beach

For as long as I can remember Byron Bay held a reputation as a mythical destination, a place of beauty and wonder. Then you get there, or try to get there but there is too much traffic, the streets are filled with dirty hippies and people trying to live an alternative lifestyle, man…. They too flock to the mythical beauty. And then it happens, you chill, swim in the warm water, feel the sand between your toes and you realise Byron is a truly beautiful place.


this guy is amazing, streets of Byron

I first went to Byron as a teenager on a surf safari, I would have resembled one of the hippies with long locks and beaded necklace. We’d smoke weed and get loose. Not much seems to have changed as I ended up in the emergency room, six stitches and a black eye later, I can confirm Byron has the most efficient emergency room I have ever been in. As a guy, you get strange look when you take a bloody and bruised faced girl into the hospital. It was an unfortunate incident of an eyebrow meeting a table introduced by a loose Berkenstock . Babe was not very happy.

Happy to be on tour we were though and this was more a food than surf safari. The Farm At Byron Bay has just opened with the Three Blue Ducks. I’d heard about The Roadhouse and we managed to find some other great food. A couple spots were missed, that happens after a hospital visit, until next time. Doma is at the top of the list when we return, a country café run by Japs doing crazy food, yes please.  And The Italian At The Pacific and Folk are also still on the list. If you’ve tried them please let me know what you think.

Raw salad and snapper

raw salad and snapper, Three Blue Ducks

Half Kg Castanza

500 gm TBONE aka Castanza, Three Blue Ducks

The Three Blue Ducks have taken their mantra seriously, moving personal to Byron, trips back to Bronte on rotation. Ducks staff tending fields farming their ingredients, it’s a fabulous concept. The set up is much bigger than their Bronte sibling. Most of the food comes directly from the farm. I had a half KG T-Bone steak raised a few hundred meters from where I was sitting. It was a glorious piece of meat, my only gripe is I shared it, must be the quality that had me craving more steak as I only eat half that amount of meat. The bone was mine to gnaw on, my precious…


how chill is this? Three Blue Ducks


yeah baby, The Ducks


Grab coffee, treats and go sit in the macadamia orchid

The Ducks kitchen breaks down their own carcasses so the cut of meat and menu will depend on what’s on hand. Luckily my friends allowed me to try their food. The coffee rubbed brisket is tender and tasty, sweeter than I imagined as the coffee rub becomes a sticky glaze keeping the meat tender and juicy. Served with a slaw with nice acidity and bite to balance the sticky brisket. Snapper and lentils was a daily special I also got to try, light pan fried fish and lentils , to my surprise, this combo works well together and the cream sauce is cleverly at the bottom of the plate so you can easily manage how much indulgence you want on one plate, it’s delightful. And as I’m obsessed with cheeseburgers I had to go back just to sample The Ducks burger, it is sensational, house made bun, pickle, relish, cheese and beef. I don’t know of any other resto that can make that claim. However, I could not get a burger takeaway for Babe, probably too much too soon for the kitchen?

Kingfish capaccio

Kingfish Capacci0, Harvest


Beet an cheese salad with dehydrated olive, Harvest

Another stand out in the area is Harvest Café in Newybar, about a half hour from Byron. We could not get a table in the restaurant proper, what make a reservation? We could get great bar food including feta and beet salad with dehydrated olive, grains which added a delicious salty textural element. The house cured charcuterie board included bresaola, salumi and house pickles. There was nice heat from one salami and house pickled carrots and cauliflower, it’s a lovely way to eat, meats on bread. Kingfish carpaccio looked sensational served with micro salad and watermelon radish. It is a good dish but needed more contrast, a bit more zing in the dressing or spices would have elevated this number to exceptional. Simply stunning are the sardine and yes, there from a tin. Sitting in the breeze on the deck of an old Queenslander and eating local produce like this pure pleasure.

IMG_2253 (1)

I’l Buco, kickass pizza

Pain and the aftermath of the blood incident Babe needed some TLC so we stayed in. I spied a little hole in the wall pizza joint, cross checked Yelp and Google Maps and got some authentic crisp pizzas from Il Buco. It is the only pizza I’ve had in Byron so I can say, hands down, it’s the best pizza I’ve had in Byron. It is excellent.


Roadhouse Breakfast


Chooks at The Farm


Sunset from the hills

The       Roadhouse has quickly become a Byron institution. We went for breakfast and I’d heard the smashed peas is a dish to try and of course I had to get the local honey smoked bacon. It’s a giants feed. Served on Paleo nut bread with turmeric pickled cabbage. The sweet smashed peas work well with the local free range eggs and the thick cut salty sweet bacon and the sharp pickle adds balance and bite . I found the Paleo bread a little heavy and very filling, it probably tasted and felt too healthy for me, just give me some old school white bread or leave it for a separate order.  The Dood had house granola, it was her first food safari and she said she needed something light, what a lightweight. House made granola toasted crisp, the accompanying yoghurt was delicate and light, the berries sweet and tart. The Coffee here is exceptional. Again, no takeaway bacon and egg roll for Babe.


view from The Farm

The best things to do in Byron would be the beach, the hills, visit friends and cook some meat on fire. The water is clean and warm, the sand is so fine it squeaks when you walk. The mountains behind Byron have many waterholes and its worth a visit to find one, you can visit Doma while your looking. We saw friends, ate meat from the fire and watched the sunset from the hills. It is spectacular.

Byron Bay is popular because it is beautiful. Even with a street scape of Subway’s and commercial juice bars Byron forces you to love her. The buskers encouraged by the council, good and bad, the backpacking hordes, the hippies and wannabe’s, millionaires,

The Farm at Byron Bay

The Farm at Byron Bay

surfers and everyone who just wants to be somewhere beautiful to live, make up this gorgeous ocean town.

Where to Stay

Kiah Bliss apartments $500 an night for a modern luxury three bedroom apartment 100 meters from the beach.

The Atlantic.

Camp in the bush behind the beach

Travel info

Flights about $220 return from Ballina, Flying to the Coolangatta is also an option, then you get to visit Zepickle in Tweed Heads. You will need to rent a car. Ballina is 30 mins and Coolangatta is 1 hour from Byron.

Drive time to Byron from Sydney is about 10 hours.