With 26 seats, Ogee is designed for couples, or perhaps four very close friends, with tables that encourage intimacy and conversation over a Gatsby-esque playlist, that switches to ’70s disco as the night rolls on. Drop in for a glass of wine and a small plate or settle in for the evening and work your way through the perfectly curated menu and wine list.
We plan on the latter and prepare our palates with generous slices of sourdough served with a swipe of sea urchin butter. The menu writing is understated and “raw beef, pommes dauphine” is a bowl of hand-cut beef topped with a glistening egg yolk and served with piping hot bites of fried mashed potato, lightened with choux pastry. The beef is meltingly tender and, combined with the potato, makes a perfect mouthful. The menu changes weekly (ours is date stamped) and this week features tender stalks of sweet white asparagus in a velvety mussel velouté and buttery braised leeks topped with a sauce gribiche and sitting on a bed of freshly made, still warm ricotta.
Chef Matt Breen is known for conjuring up delicious plates from two hotplates and a toaster at Sonny and it’s a pleasure to see him in action in a full kitchen here. Main courses tonight include two house-made pastas, pan-fried Spanish mackerel and a golden-crusted veal schnitzel. Plump nubs of sautéed gnocchi are a standout – enveloped in a cream sauce and scattered with assorted mushrooms purchased that morning from the Farmgate Market just a few streets away.
The knowledgeable front-of-house team, helmed by Rachelle Guastella, is on hand for drinks recommendations. The list is a mix of Tasmanian, Australian and European offerings, with plenty available by the glass, as well as some classic cocktails. And the name? It comes from an architectural term meaning an S-shaped line or moulding and is the brainchild of Guastella. The dessert menu is brief and to the point. A wedge of aged Tasmanian cheddar, a scoop of brioche ice-cream or, our choice, a slice of dense, almost pudding-like orange cake topped with chinotto fruit and swathed in a duck egg bavarois. The citrus flavours are reminiscent of the Americano that started the evening and, as darkness falls we reluctantly leave this glowing suburban gem.
374 Murray St, North Hobart, Tas
Chef: Matt Breen
Opening hours: Dinner Thur-Sun
Price guide: $$
Bookings: Walk-ins only.
Verdict: Small but mighty.