Dier Makr – Introduction
Dier Makr is one of the best restaurants in Hobart if you are looking for clever food cooked by a talented chef who uses the best ingredients from the best producers in Tasmania. It also has arguably the best wine list in the state and one of the best in Australia.
The restaurant was closed for much of 2020 due to COVID restrictions, however after a serious refurb and a change of approach to the food it is back and is certainly kicking goals!
We should add here that we feel liberated to be no longer reviewing restaurants for commercial organisations (after many years doing so for the ABC, Qantas In-flight magazine and Gourmet Traveller). We stopped for two reasons. The first was that we started importing natural wines from France in the 2000s and the business grew much quicker than we expected to the point where we are both working almost full time on this endeavour.
The second was that the wine business and our interest in cooking also meant that we have become friends with a number of chefs throughout Australia and rather than reviewing their establishments we would prefer to help spread the story of what they are trying to achieve and what they have done in the past. So don’t think of this as a review, but rather a story we have written about chef Kobi’s approach to cooking and wine.
Dier Makr (ask them about the name when you are dining there, but it is pronounced DIE-ER MAKE-ER) is named after a song from a Led Zeppelin album from the distant past.
The venue is the brain child of Kobi Ruzicka who moved to Hobart from Melbourne to establish the restaurant. Kobi has cooked at leading restaurants overseas including Relae in Copenhagen (which used to be one of our favourite restaurants before it closed during the Covid crisis) and In de Wulf in Belgium (now also sadly closed). We have become regular diners here.
Kobi is a very talented chef who can turn the most humble ingredient into an amazing treat. Each night there is a menu (see below) consisting of five or six dishes which are all based on the best available ingredients.
Dier Makr is open in the evenings from Thursday to Saturday night with two sittings on Friday and Saturday. The menu is fixed and bookings are required here as they always have a very long waiting list.
Dier Makr: Food and Drinks
When you eat as many delicious dishes and drink so many different and interesting things (we did the alcoholic and non-alcoholic matching, the latter all well thought through concoctions devised by @juicybruce) as we did on our most recent visit then it confirms our opinion that Kobi is really kicking goals here.
We were given the menu at the end of the evening, but as each dish (and drink) arrived we were given an excellent description of each.
There were 12 dishes listed but they were all relatively small, while big enough to clearly get a sense of what Kobi was trying to convey with the dish. Every morsel was cooked perfectly and was precisely seasoned.
The first dish was a tiny tart which was filled with house-made goat curd, pieces of dried tomatoes, the same size as some excellent local myrtus berries, and shavings of Mexican tarragon. A stunning dish.
We then segued to a series of snacks including a slice of pig’s head terrine, a skewer of very tender octopus interlaced with pieces of kipfler potato, a deeply umami-influenced taste of baby corn with seaweed butter and finally batons of celtuce and kohlrabi from two different hyper-local producers.
We then moved on to the four small protein-ish dishes. The first two featured extraordinary seafood from our favourite supplier in Tasmania, namely Kyeema in Launceston. They have the most varied supply in the state and they always have sustainable varieties such as mackerel and wrasse.
The mackerel had been seared on the skin side only and was served with peppers from the clever organic growers at Valley Fresh and curry leaves which had been fried to perfect crispness.
As an aside, we were told that the idea of cooking it on the skin side only was that this would crisp the skin and provide enough heat for the flesh to gradually cook through. And exactly that happened. It reminded us of a visit to The Pier in Sydney many years ago where we were served a fillet of fish and told to start at the thin end so that by the time we got to the thicker end it would be set. This shows perfect cooking technique.
We then moved on to a delicious piece of bay trumpeter served with braised leek hearts grown by one of our favourite organic suppliers, Seven Springs. Despite the hype it’s hard to find fish of this quality in a Tasmanian restaurant.
The pasta dish that followed was like a ravioli but made somewhat like a Chinese dumpling and was filled with celeriac purée and with summer truffles shaved over the pasta at the table. The pasta sat in an umami-laden broth made from slippery Jack mushrooms.
The final protein course was some stunningly flavoursome Littlewood (near Richmond) lamb, once again cooked to pink perfection. Valley Fresh again starred with a burnt eggplant purée that went so well with the lamb as did an accompanying dish of braised butter beans from Seven Springs.
he final dessert was a pear tarte tatin with verbena ice cream. Missing: @littlewoodberryfarm lamb with mint sauce and braised @sevenspringsfarmtasmania butter beans and baby corn cooked over fire in their husks and smothered in seaweed butter (it was a very mess at photo). It came at the same time as the sourdough miso with celtuce and kohlrabi, which was much kinder to the camera.
A dish of apple and fennel granita, the first of two desserts, was made from apples that Kobi had picked from Sue’s generous apple tree. It was a perfect refresher after the protein and set us up for the second dessert.
It must give the many local growers who sell to Dier Makr so much pleasure to see their produce used so respectfully (including the single tree apple orchardist).
We finished with a pear tarte tartin with a verbena ice cream sitting on top. This was another excellent example of perfect pastry making and an excellent note to end the meal.
We should also mention that one of us chose the wine pairing which was selected with care and cleverness. One of us chose the non-alcoholic pairing and every match was interesting and the drinks themselves had been prepared with a great deal of thought and skill, think lemon verbena kombucha, a drink based on walnut milk, a beetroot drink incorporating toasted green tea and a range of spices and a rye drink with honey and honey vinegar to name just a few. Both Dier Makr and The Agrarian Kitchen are really excelling in the area of non-alcoholic drinks.
Recently we had another meal to enjoy the start of the summer vegetable season, and we were not disappointed. Our meal started with a delightful mini-tart of zucchini and ricotta and then took us on a journey through a perfect chawan mushi to a brave plate of peas and broad beans (including broad bean leaves) and on to confit ling cheek with a vin jaune inspired sauce served with fermented potato bread. These and the other dishes served on the way were all of exceptional quality. When we get a chance we will add some photos of this meal to show just how perfect it was!
It is also possible to drop in here to buy a bottle of wine from their very interesting cellar. Their bar in front, which is called Lucinda, has quickly become one of the best places to drop in for a glass of wine or three and for great snacks as well as more substantial dishes.
Street: 123 Collins St
Town/Suburb: Hobart, 7000
Phone number: +61 3 6288 8910
Reservations: Reservations necessary
Opening hours: Check the Dier Makr website