How does it feel to be a year older? Some people like to fuss about a birthday, have a big party and surrounded by people. Others prefer a quiet and personal moments with the significant other half, family and close friends. And, there are others who prefer not to make any fuss at all and not celebrate and live it like any other day.
Last year I kept saying to myself that when I hit my half century benchmark, I would like to spend it big in Shanghai. But as time went by, I decided not to do anything at all, but a dinner with my partner. Then early this year, the girls in Sydney called and planned to visit us for a weekend. I suggested to them that if they are planning to visit in the weekend, why not come over on my birthday weekend and we can all go out for dinner. We have not seen them for several years and look forward to catch up.
They arrived on Thursday.
I took the Friday off to mark my 50th birthday, and spend time with the girls. My partner had to work. He had booked a restaurant for four of us at 7 pm. I took the girls out – driving along the Channel. First stop was The Shot Tower in Taroona. We went up the tower. The view from the top was breathtaking. There is 318 steps to climb! It was quite a challenge and not for people with weak knee like me, but I still made it. There is a $7 admission fee. It is a historical industrial building and listed in National Trust.
Driving out of the parking lot, we had to drive towards the back of the building that wrap around the garden to an exit point. The ground and trees were very colourful with autumn leaves.
Next stop – Kettering. A sleepy little town but gets very busy on the weekend and during the peak tourist season. This is the main spot for catching a ferry to Bruny Island. The view is stunning with sailing boats and fishing trawlers moored in the sheltered bay.
We were starting to get quite hungry. So we continued with our road trip towards Woodbridge. Our next destination – Peppermint Bay (PB) for lunch. The last time I was there was probably more than 2 years ago. It had been a disappointment after disappointment in the last couple of visits during that time, so my partner and I swore we will never go back again after we felt the food was not only a let down but over priced.
PB is one of our favourite restaurant when we lived down in the Huon Valley, and frequented the place at least once or twice each month for the first few years we moved in the area. That was the time of Chef Steven Cumper, who started the restaurant with his professional FOH team – Justin, Jordy and Andrew at the time. I have decided to give PB another go after hearing from Sue Dyson and Roger McShane that the food is good again. About a year ago, there was another change in the kitchen (yes, again) with a new team headed by Head Chef Dave Moyle and FOH manager Ben Lindell, with a new menu. I had the pleasure to speak to Ben after I had finished my lunch, and was told of the changes he had made to the restaurant, the smaller menu and formal dining room. I am pleased to say that our lunch was wonderful and the service was great. The price was right and reasonable for the quality of the restaurant and venue. I was especially taken away on arrival after I parked my car and saw the new outdoor seating, which is a work of art itself – the design of the wooden platform and choice of squarish outdoor tables and stools on a lush green lawn overlooking the channel and Bruny Island.
The food. If you have not been there for awhile, it is about time to go back and find out for yourself. It is worth the visit, and being served by the hospitable manager, Ben and his team. The girls and I had a wonderful time – the food and the view. It is a real gem to have such a food destination to go to within Hobart vicinity.
After our lunch at PB, we decided to head home and rest before dinner at a Thai restaurant. My partner was still at work.
The girls and I got home and we had a couple of hours to rest before going out again. I called my partner about five wondering if he is ready for me to pick him up from work. He was working a bit late. He called me about twenty past five and said he was ready to leave. I got into the car and picked him up. We got home. He looked tired.
By seven we were ready to leave the house for dinner. My partner had two rental DVDs to return at a nearby video shop. We hopped into the car. My partner was driving. We got to the video shop. He got out to return the videos. As he got out of the car, I decided to take the wheel seeing that he was really tired. When he came back into the car and I started the accelerator, he said we are going to The Ivory Cafe. Now, that was not the original plan. He was supposed to book another restaurant. I started to sense there is something going on which he had not told me. I was beginning to feel anxious and a bit nervous.
The Ivory Cafe is an intimate and cozy little cafe, which I had previously blogged. The cafe is run by Chef Khun Piya and his partner, Donna at the FOH. They are a great pair and team together.
I parked the car on the street – a short two minutes walk. My partner walked in first. I followed next, then the girls. I was surprised, really surprised to see my partner had arranged a small and personal party for my birthday. He had booked the whole restaurant and arranged a special menu (especially the trio dessert) with Chef Piya. It was a very special night, which I had absolutely no idea at all, and later hearing from the others how my partner had planned this for three months. It was a very good night with great company and my dearest friends from Sydney. The food was wonderful and everyone gave a round of applause to Chef Piya and Donna after the party.
This was just the beginning of my weekend of celebration with our friends from Sydney.
The next day, we went to Salamanca Market, then lunch at Tricycle Cafe, MONA (which I had previously blogged) in the afternoon, and dinner at an Italian restaurant in West Hobart, Paesano.
Tricycle Cafe at The Peacock Theatre inside The Long Gallery, Salamanca Place
The Tricycle Cafe reminded me of the old Red Velvet Lounge – eclectic and bohemian style with fresh, soul food – creative and interesting. This was my second visit and the food was consistent and as good as my last visit.
On Sunday, our friends from Sydney took us out to dinner at Me Wah in Sandy Bay. The place was fully packed. The food and service was exceptional and top class for a Chinese restaurant. It is the best Chinese restaurant in Hobart.
That is when my birthday was finally over – a big finale at a classy restaurant in Hobart.
I had not expected such a wonderful birthday enjoyment. It is the best birthday I ever had.