I am reporting back on my trip to Australia. I got so much help from all her on this forum and I wanted to pass on my opinions about the restaurants we went to. I am from SF and was formerly a pastry chef. As a consequence, my husband and I do lot of research and try to go to places that have fresh seasonal food and good wine lists.
Garagistas- We went here on our first night after traveling straight from SF. We arrived at 6:30 and the restaurant was packed and we were told it would be a wait of 30 minutes for a communal table. We eventually were seated at the bar in five minutes and ended up eating there. The bartender waiter could not have been more accommodating and kind. We had the lamb ribs, wood roasted lettuce, spanner crab. Everything was amazing. Our only disappointment was that they only had a few local wines as they serve organic wines.
Smolt- Had a reservation at 7:00 and it was not full. The food was very good not great. It was not as innovative as Garagistas. We had fresh mushroom gnocchi, veal and pork meatballs, a beet salad and local wine. The service was friendly.and professional.
Ethos- although we originally we thought this small place was only open for lunch, we passed one day and discovered it was open for dinner so we made a reservation as the menu looked intriguing. They serve small plates which seems to common in Australia. We had grilled poblanos, roasted cauliflower, pulled pork with tapioca pancakes, and their daily lamb special. The cauliflower (not a big fan) was great, the pork was a bit dry and the pancakes were not substantial enough to wrap the pork. I ordered dessert because it sounded very intriguing. It was probably the WORST dessert I have ever had. It was a steamed olive oil pudding with lemon curd and gooseberries. It was $16 for served in a jar which is fine- but the pudding itself about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and at the most 2 inches high in the jar. It tasted terrible. It was served with about 2T of lemon curd and about 1 T of gooseberries. When the waiter asks me how I enjoyed it, I told him I did not. He replied "Is that because it was swerved in a jar?" I said no because of course anything steamed has to have a container. I went on the tell him about the taste and the small portion and he walked away as I was talking. Launceston, Melbourne next!