Nice but a bit ordinary
Posted on 11 / 03 / 2011
With the plethora of Asian-style-mock-meat-dishes-on-a-bain-marie lunch eateries in Hobart's CBD I gave this place a try, hoping the more typically western cafe decor would be indicative of a different style of cuisine. As it was the only Vegan listed place on Happy Cow, that was also a drawing card when planning my lunches. When I walked in the door what I discovered were plenty of mock meat Asian styled dishes (not all of them vegan) in a bain marie and déjÃ vu set in once more...
...okay to be fair there IS a wider variety of food here when compared to the other vegetarian eateries in Hobart. There is less mock meat dishes and a bigger emphasis on vegetables including baked vegetables, there's also a couple of stews and curries. There was a bakery section as well but this too was more curry puffs and samosas, and the 'pastie' that I ordered with salad was not the pastie that one remembers one's grandmother making but rather a Yum Cha adaptation of the dish, I think the filling even had soy sauce in it! I think I preferred the dessert better, they run out of vegan cake which was annoying but had a 'rainbow tart' with a base made from nuts which was quite delicious, as was the hauntingly smoky Lapsang Suchong tea with soy milk that I had.
I returned a few days later with a friend, and they had a token western pasta dish in the bain marie...which ironically turned out to have cheese in it. My omnivorous friend seemed to enjoy it, whilst I settled for noodles with the cauliflower and a mock meat dish. It would have been pleasant, had the bain marie been warmer, it was barely above room temperature. Anyway they'd still run out of vegan cakes so the rainbow tart was still the highlight, and still peckish I had a curry puff to go which was probably the most perfectly average tasting thing I've tasted in a while (to its credit it WAS above room temperature).
This sounds like a negative view but it probably must be seen in context: Heart Cafe is probably the best of the 4 or so exclusively vegetarian eateries in Hobart - quite how they all manage to survive in a small city when they're all almost identical repetitions of each other in an already niche market is beyond me but I digress. Its nice, relatively varied and healthy, it is NOT exclusively vegan and therefore should not be labelled as such, to the point where getting vegan cake is gamble (which I lost out on both times).
rainbow tart, tea, pleasant service
lukewarm food, not exclusively vegan