It’s many a Chef’s dream, including mine. A small seasonal menu always changing as produce comes to hand. A vegetable garden out the back with well established fruit trees and free roaming chickens to provide the freshest ingredients. A small yet functional kitchen that includes an outdoor wood fired oven amongst the greenery. All set in a beautiful converted church in a quiet town that passers by make an effort to travel to. Chef Julien De Sousa is living the dream but not stopping there as he makes the most of everything he is given.
I’d heard a lot of good things about Ut Si over the years and it had been high on my list of places to try for quite some time. Sadly before I could visit it changed hands to become Phoenix and the Wolf with some very mixed reviews. In April 2016 though it reverted to its previous owners and Ut Si was reborn.
The building seems to rely on reputation alone as little signposting is given. Driving into a small car park we step out onto the edge of the edible gardens. There’s a few tables spotted among the trees but the old church invites us in and we are greeted with an open space filled with curios, art and preserves. At the end where once an alter stood there’s the Chef working busily yet calmly, alone.
The menu changes often. Consisting of only seven savoury items on our visit it was still perfectly sufficient and balanced. Less is more they say….
A sausage roll, much bigger than it appears in the picture, is laced with fresh herbs and enclosed in some wonderfully light and flaky pastry. The salad is straight from the garden and simply dressed as it should be.
Excellent bread and thick cut bacon were the stand outs of a well made Eggs Benedict. The Hollandaise was below expectations but that was the only hiccup and still would be raved about by most.
The Charcuterie was really where he shined. It’s a dish that can often be an invitation for an apprentice to open a few packets from the supermarket and present them on a plate. Not this one. The majority was made in house or local, it contained warm elements as well as some wonderfully oozing room temperature brie. The hot smoked salmon with a lemony sauce and the slices of sausage obvious highlights but there was nothing on this board that wasn’t exceptional. At $25 this is likely the best value meal you’ll find in Tasmania.
Dessert finished things well, rustic and full of seasonal pickings including some extras from the trees outside. I suspect they gave us an extra large slice as we were sharing which was a nice touch.
Service was casual yet excellent, we were well looked after beyond what would be expected but never felt intruded upon. Beverages were perhaps lacking with a request for a simple juice for the kids unable to be met although they did enjoy the more exotic ones available.
Ut Si is well worth travelling to if in the area. It’s also well worth travelling to if not.
Ut Si Cafe 86 Main Road, Perth, Tasmania