David Moyle is not a fan of garnishes on fish.
"It's like a truckie in a tutu," says the Franklin chef. "You're dressing up something that is quite beautiful in its brutality, you know? It's a bit strange. I like to leave it as it is."
Any visit to Tasmania should include dinner and a drink at Franklin. The restaurant and bar opened in October 2015 in downtown Hobart and it's really quite beautiful in its raw elegance.
The kitchen is helmed by Moyle, who hails from Port Fairy, Victoria. Moyle cut his teeth in Italian-style kitchens before being appointed head chef at Circa in St Kilda were he remained for four years. A keen surfer, he spent three and half years at The Pacific Dining Room in Byron Bay, before heading to Tasmania and manning the pans at The Stackings, Peppermint Bay, and then taking the reins at Franklin.
"I was only going to spend six months or so in Tassie and now it's been four years," he says.
Moyle says Franklin is predominantly seafood focused. "I found a lot of the secondary produce in Tasmania was underutilised. Everyone was cooking it at home, but no one was using it in restaurants. Things like octopus, calamari, sea urchin, periwinkles and clams."
Small plates might include leek and local sea urchin served on a nasturtium leaf and dressed with a tiny garland of native flowers, steamed periwinkles with aioli and lemon, or a plate of grilled beef-heart mortadella (warm mortadella is a wonderful thing).
At the centre of the kitchen is a Scotch oven that wood-fires delicious things like whiting, abalone, and whole pigeon. The whiting is plated whole with head attached and a couple of lemon leaves.
Moyle's penchant for minimal intervention flows through to a wine list heavy on natural, organic, and biodynamic drops.
"For me I suppose it's all about things being as close to what they once were," says the chef. "Just like with garnishes on plates, I don't like additions to my wine. It's not a stance or anything, it's just what we enjoy to drink here."
The Franklin dining room is fiercely industrial with polished concrete and an open kitchen. One of the things you immediately notice is how far apart the blonde-timber tables are spaced. In a room of Franklin's size in Sydney or Melbourne, most restaurant owners would be trying to squeeze at least another 40 seats in.
Moyle says it was absolutely a conscious decision to space the tables so far apart. "You've got to look at your positives. Being in Tasmania the overheads are a little bit less so you sort of can take those risks a little bit more.
"I like the idea of dining rooms being completely dynamic," he says. "Different spaces so people can have a quick meal or sit down and have a full on focused meal. Or they can not even think about the food and just interact with the person in front of them without having to pull stuff apart."
30 Argyle Street, Hobart, 03 6234 3375, franklinhobart.com.au