Dining / A taste of great barbecues

“Hopscotch is a cool concept. It’s massive inside, massive outside and the food revolves around a massive open wood fire in the kitchen,” says dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON

Hopscotch… the décor is as cool as the concept, especially the colourful, bold painting on the side wall of animals socialising. Photo by Gary Schafer

Hopscotch… the décor is as cool as the concept, especially the colourful, bold painting on the side wall of animals socialising. Photo by Gary Schafer

IF you’re thinking that Hopscotch, the latest happening eatery in Braddon, is named after the classic backyard kids’ game you’re wrong. The name is a fun combo of hops (beer) and scotch (whiskies, with more than 50 available).

Hopscotch is a cool concept. It’s massive inside, massive outside and the food revolves around a massive open wood fire in the kitchen.

But how is Hopscotch going to regularly keep bums on its 350 seats?

On the food front, the menu celebrates barbecues of the world, cooked on an Argentinian parrilla (grill) that packs a punch with flavour. Dishes are inspired by Jamaica (jerk chicken), Korea (pork bulgogi), Argentina (brisket), America (burgers), Middle East (falafel) and more.

My advice, at least on your first visit, is to ignore the “usual suspects” unless you don’t like wood-fired food, but then why go to Hopscotch? Chicken schnitzel or chicken parmigiana? Nope. It was slow-cooked brisket ($27) and jerk chicken ($27) for us.

My slow-cooked brisket fell off the bone. The menu promised a red chimichurri sauce. It looked more green to me, but that’s how I like it. Intense flavours? Tick. Lovely smoked eschallots? Tick. Soft maize? Tick.

hopscotch1The flavours of my friend’s jerk chicken were great and went well with the jalapeno and cheddar corn bread. The meat wasn’t cooked through, so the closer she got to the bone the more nervous she got. She didn’t finish it and shared some brisket instead. We pointed the problem out to staff who simply said they would let the kitchen know.

Next time I won’t hesitate to try the chermoula chicken skewers ($26) or road-test how well Hopscotch does a rib-eye ($36 for 400 grams).

We were impressed by the boutique beers available and the wine list. Great varieties of whites and reds, with many not available through regular retail shops. We stayed away from desserts (too full), but thought the barbecue pineapple pavlova sounded interesting ($14).

At Hopscotch you order at the bar, grab a number and settle in. The booths, built from old church pews, look comfortable, high tables have stools (some with and some without backs) and there is a low bar bench.

The décor is as cool as the concept. You can’t miss Hopscotch from the street, especially the colourful, bold painting on the side wall featuring animals having a wonderful time dining and socialising. The wallpaper inside is a montage of old black and white ads and the bright spots of colours here and there bring wood, brick, polished concrete and other elements to life.

In the mood for a casual meal that is just a hop-skip-and-a-jump away? Hopscotch is your destination.
Hopscotch Bar, 5 Lonsdale Street, Braddon. Call 6107 3030.

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