14 Federal Street North Hobart | Ph 03 6234 7711 | $$ | Open daily 9am – 10pm | www.blackbuffalo.com.au
Another pub crawl? Why not I say, and with Helen Ellis, who writes Rita’s Bite and is an industry stalwart, we sidle down to ride the buffalo. Set in an almost wasteland between North Hobart and the Brooker, the Black Buffalo is one of those pubs that aspires to be more than just a gambling/pokie hangout, with drinks on the side.
Buff and bare at the Buffalo
The refurb of the room is still missing…. Something. Atmosphere. It’s trying, with touches of wood and clean fresh accents, but is still soulless. The bar is high these days, and to appeal to foodie punters, which the menu is obviously aimed at, the décor needs to be inviting and … warm.
The service was excellent though, friendly, accommodating, and looking at the happy customers around us, they’re doing a lot right. With a bit of tweaking on the production of the food, it really could, and should stand proud. Let’s hope they get there.
It’s fun doing a pub review, and Helen tells it like it is, as is her wont.
“Initial thoughts on the menu: excellent, caters for all, good pricing, universal appeal, not so big that you have to spend ages trying to work out what you want.”
Here’s Helen’s review, which I hope you enjoy as much as I enjoyed her company.
“Lunch today at the Black Buffalo was interesting.
Initial thoughts on the menu: excellent, caters for all, good pricing, universal appeal, not so big that you have to spend ages trying to work out what you want.
We wanted to try a cross section of the food. There were two platter-type meals we debated. Firstly was the Seafood Feast ($35) comprising ‘course crumbed whitefish, salt and pepper calamari, smoked salmon cocktail, Thai fish vermicelli noodle cakes, herb crumbed scallops and prawn crackers with salad, fries and tartare’.
The other platter, which we ultimately decided on, was the smaller Buffalo Board ($28). The larger one, $39. The smaller one was more than enough for the two of us, and returned to the kitchen with leftovers. It contained ‘sweet potato and rosemary beignets, smoked chicken chowder, mac and cheese croquettes, Chinese five spiced squid with a petite salad and condiments’.
The head and shoulders standout of the whole meal, for me, was the smoked chicken and corn chowder. I’m heading back there again soon specifically for more of that chowder goodness. The smokiness of the smoked chook was the main flavouring, and together with the contrasting textures of the corn kernels, and potato cubes, made for the best lunch ever.
The beignets were fine, flavour-wise, but had been deep fried, so were overly oily/greasy. I feel maybe their cooking oil wasn’t hot enough as they had soaked up quite a lot of it, and were literally dripping oil as you ate them.
The mac and cheese croquettes suffered a similar fate to the beignets…being deep fried in oil that possibly wasn’t hot enough, thus rendering them greasy as well. Their flavour was, to me, a bit ho-hum but if you’re a mac and cheese lover who also liked deep fried food you’d probably love them.
I didn’t taste a single hint of Chinese five spice in the crumb coating on the squid, and that, combined with the same issue as stated above about the cooking oil not being hot enough, made for the squid being not crisply fried, but a soggy, crumby, soft squidy dish with actually nothing to recommend it (which is why that one ended up returning to the kitchen as part of the debris of our meal).
Having said all the above, I’d thoroughly recommend the BB. It doesn’t pretend to be anything than what it is – a suburban pub, with pokies, which offers a great menu of affordable reasonable food for everyone who wants to eat there. I loved the newish menu, and will be returning for more of that chowder soon.”