Setting up shop during a pandemic was a risky move, but if the crowd at Dāna Eating House (Dāna) on a Friday night is anything to go by, it’s one that’s paid off. With tables of diners chatting and laughing over drinks, the music and conversation buzzes off the monstera-leaf-green walls. Low-hanging rattan lights and worn wooden floorboards give the newly opened South-East Asian fusion venue in Hobart’s CBD a relaxed vibe.
Owner Ollie Lancaster created Dāna alongside his brother Dan. “We didn’t know at the outset whether the project would even get off the ground given the current circumstances. But we’re extremely happy with how Dāna has been received so far and it has been amazing to have such a wonderful community supporting us,” Ollie said. “One of the coolest aspects has been the fact that by supporting us, local charities also receive support and we are extremely grateful that we can help make an impact in this way.”
True to their ethos of generosity, Dāna partners with Goodwill Wine to donate 50 per cent of the profits from their house wine sales to rotating charities. Diners can also match Dāna’s donation.
Buoyed by the fact our dinner is going to help others in need, we’re lead through a low brick archway, which is a beautiful reminder that you’re in another of Hobart’s historic buildings.
We sit and order a glass of Bellebonne Vintage Cuvee ($17) and, from their cocktail list, a Generous Lover, a white rum and strawberry cocktail with a zesty kick ($18).
Our drinks arrive and our server explains how the made-to-share menu works – either order à la carte or the banquet-style ‘Chefs Feed Us’ menu. Having already eyed a few options, we choose five dishes. We turn our attention to the wine list. Dāna offers a carefully curated list of wines with some spectacular choices for true wine buffs. We opt for the Sinapius Clem Blanc ($70) from the Tamar Valley.
If you’re up for something more à la mode, the ‘minimal intervention wine of the week’ offers a wine from a vineyard embracing sustainable winemaking.
First up are Cloudy Bay oysters ($4.50 each). Cool and fresh, they’re served with a slice of lime and Chinese pea shoots. Next is Dāna’s silken tofu ($11). Made in-house, the tofu is served with coconut nectar, sesame, coriander and fried shallots, giving the dish a crunch.
The Vietnamese doughnuts – think the Vietnamese version of a bao bun – ($16 for three pieces) are next. Our server suggests we order an extra so we have two each – it’s a good suggestion – they’re delicious and a standout.
We share a generous main of drunken lemongrass chicken ($25) accompanied by a Japanese-style kimchi, and it pairs well with the crunchy Vietnamese slaw ($14).
Although sufficiently full, dessert is too good to pass up – two quenelles of chocolate and mandarin mousse ($15), dusted with macadamia crumb and accompanied by a tart rhubarb puree. Sprinkled with crunchy bittersweet carob nibs, the mousse is a great finish to tonight’s meal.
Dāna’s ethos is simple: eat good, drink good and do good. With melt-in-your-mouth dishes, a cracker wine selection and friendly, attentive service, it’s sure to become a go-to spot.
131 Murray Street, Hobart 0416 161 756