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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Pigeon Hole Cafe


Barely more than 12 months old, tiny Pigeon Hole in West Hobart has carved a tidy niche for itself. It's café, gourmet edged, with a little retro style thrown in for good measure. With only 16 seats it’s a tiny venue – but it's big on promises and it well delivers. On the corner of Goulburn and Molle Streets, it's just far enough away from home, and close enough to everything, to encourage a move to West Hobart purely to have Pigeon Hole as your local.

After a favourable mention in Gourmet Traveller magazine and a smattering of awards – most recently an "I love FOOD" award for 2009 – Pigeon Hole is no longer a well-kept secret. Word spreads fast in this town, and the hole in the wall space fills fast with locals and travellers alike clambering for great coffee, a spot of lunch or a chat with the very professional and very unpretentious owner/occupiers who put on a constantly stellar performance.

Chef Jay Patey (of restaurant 373 fame) runs an impressive one man show in his tiny kitchen, turning out a daily selection of tasty treats influenced by seasonal and locally available products. Perhaps you may have a white bean, garlic and lemon soup with house-made bread, or you might choose from a selection of the famous paninni, with inspired filings like salami, cornichons and provolone, or fennel, chilli and mozzarella.

Breakfast options are limited, but the house-made baked beans on toast with a generous helping of Parmesan are belly warming. Simple options like Miellerie honey on toast prove a popular choice, and the butter is churned and pressed on premises. There is no fuss here – these guys make the restaurant game look easy. Oh, and the coffee is good too.

It's obvious that the focus here is on quality, not quantity, and the pricing is generously fair. And the presence of the owners of a rival Hobart café enjoying themselves over their Saturday breakfast on a corner table has got to be a good sign. In fact, the only fault I can find is that they aren't open on Sundays, but Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest after all.

Pigeon Hole 93 Goulburn Street West Hobart (03) 62369306 Open Tue-Sat, 8:30am until 4:30pm

6 comments:

stickyfingers said...

We were referred there by Steve Cumper of The Red Velvet Lounge, so knew it had to be worth a detour to on our arrival in Tassie.

Pigeon Hole's rustic approach of serving food on wooden boards is a nice touch that we didn't expect in the broccante style venue. There was a great vibe, the hosts are wonderful and warm spirited people. I think the good people of Hobart are yet to feel comfortable with the communal table idea ;) but we loved sitting in the window & were expecting people to hop on it too. Perhaps we looked too much like scary tourists?

On our visit we really enjoyed both the eggs en cocotte with jamon serrano and the toasted sandwich with caramalised onion & Gruyere. The fact that they use wonderful local produce is a big drawcard, and the 'real milk' offsets their beautiful coffee wonderfully...oh and did I mention the hot chocolate....? *swoon*

steve said...

At risk of sounding like a suck, I love pigeon hole. I admire Em & Jay's commitment to quality & their cafe stands as a benchmark for other operators.
I also like the way they have decided not to open nights & Sundays-people need a life. Perhaps this ia attributed to their continued zest-the fact that they can have a life outside of work? Bitta balance goes a long way innit?
I hope Hobart doesn[t go the way of all the other cities, everthing open 24/7 & if this is their way of putting the brakes on, I applaude them.

Lucy said...

That's pretty much my only criticism of Pigeon Hole - that it's not open on a Sunday. By all means close on a Monday and Tuesday, but in a fairly residential area doesn't it make more sense to open on Sunday?

Oh, actually I do have one more gripe - why have they not had their amazing mushroom panini (check your spelling) on the menu of late?

Other than that, Pigeon Hole, if you were human I'd marry you!

Anonymous said...

the wages on a sunday from a space of 16 seats means it's a no can do for the pigeon hole. you've have to turn a grand to break even and then some.

Maggie said...

Indeed Anon I totally agree about the money issue for a Sunday. Pure selfish wishful thinking on my behalf!

Iron Chef Shellie said...

This was on my list of places to try when I was in your fair city just on the weekend, but it was the only place I didn't get to.

Alas, maybe next time! I wish I had found your blog before I went to Hobart!