Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Pilgrim Coffee, August 2013

According to my Pocket English Dictionary, a pilgrim is not necessarily a character from a John Wayne movie, but is, in fact, “a person who journeys to a sacred place as an act of devotion”. From that definition, I must conclude that my first journey to Pilgrim Coffee in Argyle Street last week was pre-ordained!

Just when you thought you’d been there and done that countless times in your life, along comes something that absolutely knocks your socks off and disproves everything you’ve settled in your head as being the norm.

Yes, I have had in the past, and continue to have, excellent dining-out experiences here in Hobart restaurants and cafés.

Forget any past experiences you might have had at Pilgrim (if they were negative).

Pilgrim is a café where it should be made law that as soon as you enter its portals, you hand over your electrical goods, go to your table, select your food then close your eyes when it comes out, and experience the real-life feeling of the results of excellent culinary training, passion for food product, and experience in presenting same in a such a casual atmosphere as Pilgrim.

This is a café that mentions the word ‘hipster’ on the menu, thus inferring to me that I need to be aged in my mid-20’s to mid-30’s, upwardly mobile and equally trendily kitted out in the latest funky clothes while my ears are plugged in to my headphones and iPod music, and with my mobile phone in the spare hand that isn’t lovingly fondling my glass of latte!

But I’d be wrong with my assumptions about the clientele at Pilgrim. This is actually a place that embraces everyone from old grannies (not unlike myself) dragging along their shopping trolleys (totally unlike myself!!), to the headphone-wearing hipsters of the previous paragraph.

This is a café where you won’t give a rat’s arse about who the clientele are, but will keep returning repeatedly for the epic food adventure you’ll be taken on whilst eating their food.

Most staff are from the Source, and the high-end chef-ing shows through in all the food presented.

This is no ordinary city café. This is a daytime café-style equivalent of the ilk of the old Piccalilli, or Marque IV or Gondwana. This is a café where you’ll get mouthful after mouthful of different tastes, hints and flavours of all the ingredients in a dish.

We had:
  • House made crumpet with quince jam and Chantilly cream ($12??)
  • Popcorn dusted with chipotle and cinnamon (free)
  • Polish platske (potato pancakes), Mundy’s kassler, slow egg, pickled shallots and fresh fennel salad, sauce of sour cream, dill, mustard ($16)
  • Violet French toast - brioche, dredged in cinnamon sugar (I think), Pilgrim (edible) pot pourri, violet crème anglaise and lavender foam ($16)
  • Single origin cocoa waffles with salted caramel, fresh banana and hazelnut cream ($13)
 It’s useless to try and convey the flavours of each of those dishes. You need to get in there and find out for yourself. Our agreed favourite was the Violet French toast, followed closely by the other dishes. I defy you to get a better coffee anywhere else in Hobart too.

Will Priestley, owner, opened Pilgrim Coffee in Argyle Street two years ago, then added to his mini empire a few months ago by securing a Liverpool Street site which was easily accessed internally from their Argyle Street shop, so you now have an L-shaped café. He has travelled the world in his quest to make, drink and source the best coffee available.

His future plans for Pilgrim include establishing a burger bar, with basic but excellent burgers available mostly for takeaway, from 11.00 am till 12.00 am. This sounds like superb competition for Maccas newest Hobart outlet which is just a block up the road in Argyle St.

I don’t want to ever read again a description of café food at a normal, unadventurous café in Hobart. I know they all work as hard as they can to achieve their version of wonderful-ness but I would love Pilgrim to be the blueprint for excellence in the city, and for it to be the norm for us to expect, AND RECEIVE, such perfection and brilliance and innovation in Hobart café fare.

Pilgrim Coffee
48 Argyle Street
Ph: 6234 1999

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