13 July 2018
Whether you’re in need of scallops or strawberries, natural wines or finely-balanced cocktails, Tasmania, once known as the Apple Isle, has it all, and with effortless style to boot.
Timbre Kitchen at Velo Vineyard – Legana
In this airy, modern space, the lightest of touches makes for a vibrant atmosphere among Tasmanian vines. On the plate, chef Matt Adams keeps it simple. Flatbread is charred black from a wood oven, almonds give a lift to classic roast chicken, and a dusting of sesame seeds crunch between your teeth on a modern devilled egg. You’ll come for the food, but find yourself lingering long past the chocolate 'pâté' dessert for the extensive wine list – and the service.
Franklin – Hobart
Housed in a former 1920s Ford showroom, Franklin’s industrial décor and open-facing kitchen puts the focus on the food. It’s simple, delicious fare that showcases Tasmania’s stunning produce, whether that’s in the main event, like rosy-pink lamb, or in the trimmings: pickled leek flowers, green garlic butter, vin jaune sauce. Franklin is often listed among the world’s greatest restaurants, so book ahead and savour the experience.
Bangor Wine & Oyster Shed – Dunalley
It may be on the route to the Port Arthur Historic Site, but this cellar door and farmgate shop almost warrants the trip alone. Breathtaking scenery is somehow all the more delicious seen through a glass of local cool-climate wine. Here, a paddock-to-plate philosophy is taken quite literally, with the vista showcasing exactly where your meal has come from. Treat yourself, and go for the full dozen of freshly shucked Tasmanian oysters.
Fish Frenzy – Hobart
It’s not where you’d go for a candlelit dinner, perhaps - but for fresh, straightforward seafood, you’d be hard-pressed to beat the options served here, beneath vast turquoise-and-white canvas umbrellas. Brown paper flutes hold deep-fried local fish and chips that shatter as you bite into them. And if you’re looking for a step up from the classics, a smoky fish chowder is an admirable addition to the menu, as are ocean-fresh scallops and twisty calamari.
Red Velvet Lounge – Huon Valley
The Huon Valley isn’t just Tasmania’s bread-basket: it’s the island’s vineyard, mushroom farm and cheesemonger, all rolled into one. At the iconic Red Velvet Lounge in Cygnet, chef Steve Cumper serves up this bounty with aplomb and swagger. Vegetarians and vegans alike are spoilt for choice, while the omnivores will struggle to choose between proper corned beef and liver, bacon and onions. Repeat visitors often find themselves unable to get past the mushrooms on toast.
Geronimo Aperitivo Bar & Restaurant – Launceston
It would be easy enough to miss the discreet hole-in-the-wall Geronimo altogether, though you’d kick yourself for it later. Amid a richly textured environment (timber, marble, wallpaper - somehow, it works), oysters sparkle with Champagne vinaigrette and salmon roe. For a main course, consider the whisky smokiness of crispy pork belly on a bed of cauliflower puree. It’s European fare with a New World twist, while late-night hours encourage lingering over one more cocktail for the road.
Get Shucked – Bruny Island
At this rustic spot off the mainland, oysters take centre stage. Get Shucked promises bivalves so fresh they’re like a kiss from the ocean (their tagline is “Fuel for Love”), served almost every way you can possibly imagine. Eat them cooked and coddled at the wine bar and linger over Tasmanian brews and tipples, or get them raw to go from the drive-through and eat them from the backseat, as brine and lemon juice drips down your fingers. Chewing very much encouraged: you'll want to taste them for as long as possible.
The Source – Hobart
The restaurant of the Museum of Old and New Art, on the Derwent River, could easily trade on its high-culture neighbour or its dazzling views. Instead, the restaurant often called Hobart's most beautiful does its best to keep focus on the food. Go hungry, and treat yourself to a French-inspired nine-course degustation menu of fish and fowl alike. Gamey rabbit meat is spiced, diced and served up in a sausage, while whole roast duck crackles beneath the knife. A wine pairing is especially good value, with glasses from the region and further afield carefully selected to highlight French-inflected cuisine. You may need to be rolled into your taxi home.