For real, honest food it’s hard to beat Tom McHugos and I found myself there twice for lunch in the same week.
I first wrote glowing words about them soon after opening early in 2017 and since then the kitchen team led by Tom Westcott has gone from strength to strength. The menu is ever changing and always features some truly exciting dishes amongst the usual pub fare. It’s all so incredibly cheap as well which makes it even harder to consider anywhere else for a meal.
Lardo on toast is a perfect little starter. The pork fat soft and tender while the chutney provides a burst of flavour atop charred sourdough. They make pretty much everything in-house here and the charcuterie is always excellent.
The fried chicken is one of their most popular dishes and rightly so. Incredible tender pieces are spiked with black pepper and served crispy. The creamy dressing balances things out. Very more-ish and great with a brew.
I can’t say no to liver parfait and this one was faultless. A generous mountain, it was rich and creamy offset beautifully by a lake of crab apple jelly in the middle. Not quite enough toast encouraged thick lashings to be placed upon and it was all so very good.
Scotch eggs are a favourite from my childhood and sadly lacking from most modern menus. These were a case study in the beauty of contrasts: soft runny duck egg, delicately flavoured meat, crispy golden coating, tangy chutney. I could have happily eaten two but I’m greedy like that.
Steak and kidney pie was momentarily another flashback to my childhood, but this one I actually relished eating. (Sorry mum, I know you read these). Homestyle, peppery, with big tender chunks of meat and offal. A great winter meal.
The menu, as mentioned, changes often to make the most of what is in season and available. There are two dishes constant though, being a chicken parmagiana and sirloin steak. Both are priced at $12 which allows you to pick and match sides from a large selection without breaking any budget. I chose a mustard and a mouthwatering, yet unphotogenic, pickled egg and beetroot dish for my steak which complimented nicely. There’s a lot of different sauce and vegetable combinations to try for next time.
It’s not just about the food though. The tap list is a who’s who of exciting Tasmanian craft brewers. The cellar abounds with interesting and worthy drops. Service is friendly and, importantly, knowledgeable.
Tom cooks with confidence and skill, presenting a menu that delights each and every time. Frequent diners are indeed rewarded with new treats each week and I look forward to my next sitting.
Find them on the corner of Macquarie and Argyle Streets in Hobart, phone 62314916