Dining and whisky tasting in Tasmania

Paul County shares his favourites

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Tasmania dining - Nant Distillery

Tasmania dining - Nant Distillery

Tasmania dining - Common Ground
Tasmania dining - Prossers restaurant
Tasmania dining - Peppermint Bay
Tasmania dining - Castray esplanade food and drink

 

Much of Tasmania's food, wine, beer and whisky is world class and there are many chefs and producers creating memorable dining and drinking experiences with them. This can make it hard to pick the best at any point in time so we asked Paul County share some of his favourites with you.

Paul is behind Tas Food Books, publisher and distributor of the state's finest culinary books, so has a vast knowledge and personal experience of all that is gastronomic in the island state. (See the links below for reviews on some of his books).

In this article, Paul covers the south and the north west with his recommendations for some of the best. Of course, there are many more excellent dining and drink experiences in the state, but we only have so much space available in this article, so come and explore for yourself.

 

Southern Tasmania

Peppermint Bay, down the D’Entrecasteaux Channel at Woodbridge, continues to shine as the Channel’s best food and drink destination.Take the relaxing boat trip from the Hobart docks and explore the coastline.

The menu changes weekly based on seasonality of ingredients and there is something for every age group. My favourite is the sherry braised Cape Grim short rib with pickled vegetables from the bar, dining and terrace menu. They also offer a second more refined menu from The Stackings restaurant menu.
 

After 20 years Prossers On The Beach at Sandy Bay near Hobart is again serving some of Tasmania’s best seafood with Hobart’s only live crayfish tank.

Their new extension and renovation has transformed the restaurant into Hobart’s best waterfront destination, now seating 110. The new Prossers has a lounge and deck area for coffee or casual cocktails / wines. Michael Prosser is back at the helm after recently winning an Australian cocktail championship. 

Try their signature dish – the butter poached scallops with mushroom, lemon, dashi and chives or the chilli salt calamari with Thai paw paw salad and lime and palm sugar dressing.
 

Salamanca has been a hive of activity with the opening of Nant Distillery’s classy and ultra comfortable whisky bar in Wooby’s Lane.  Drop in for a tasting with their knowledgeable staff.  My favourite is their 43% whisky matured in French oak with a sherry finish.
 

One of Tasmania’s most exciting developments is Redlands Estate whisky distillery close to the iconic Plenty Salmon Ponds in the Derwent Valley. Opened in late 2012, it's Australia’s only paddock-to-bottle single malt distillery and one of only two in the world.

The magnificent heritage buildings are some of Tasmania’s oldest and the Estate has Australia’s oldest 1822 convict-built wood fired oven which is baking daily with local flour and grain. The historic Whisky Stable offers the all important tastings, a shop and fully licenced bar. Guided distillery and garden tours are also available.

Author Bernard Lloyd is travelling Tasmania to every distillery – keep an eye out for his Australian Whisky book due just before Father’s Day this year. 
 

Back in Salamanca Place, A Common Ground, operated by Nick Haddow from Bruny Island Cheese, Mathew Evans (Gourmet Farmer) and Ross O’Meara, is cleverly squeezed under stairs at The Salamanca Arts Centre. It offers a delicious range of seasonal Tasmanian products, preserves and smallgoods and tidbits to taste. I left with a secret and indulgent stash of chocolate-coated Tasmanian hazelnuts in my coat pocket!
 

A short stroll away in the front off the new boutique Salamanca Wharf Hotel is Karen Goodwin-Roberts’ smart Castray Esplanade Food + Wine serving quality breakfasts and lunches seven days a week. Karen’s latest book Island Harvest shows off her dedication to cooking with Tasmania’s fine produce, which is reflected in the café’s seasonal menu. [Ed: we've just tried it, lunch was great! Go there if you want to be seen, not for a secret lovers' tryst!]

 

North West Tasmania

Situated on Bluff Beach underneath the Mersey lighthouse, about 5 minutes from Devonport's city centre, Drift Café and Restaurant captures glorious ocean views.

The restaurant, which opens Wednesday to Sunday 11am till late, offers a relaxed casual dining experience. Talented chef Thomas Dicker who established his reputation at Angasi Restaurant at Binalong Bay has established Drift as one of the north-west coast’s most popular eateries.

Try the mouth watering slow cooked sweet and sticky shredded duck tacos with baby radish, chilli and angel tomato relish with lime cream and black cumin seeds.
 

Also in Steele Street Devonport is The Laneway Café and Deli , which serves the city's’ best breakfasts, Bristot coffee and light lunches seven days from 7.30am till 4pm.

Co-owner Alex McVeity is an experienced Barista who worked for a decade in Melbourne cafes. Laneway’s delicatessen stocks only the finest quality Tasmanian and international produce from fresh cheeses and a variety of small goods through to essentials such as local free-range eggs, Ashgrove milk and fresh sour dough breads. They also stock a range of superb Tasmanian wines, craft beers and premium olive oils.
 

Further up the coast in King Edward Street Ulverstone is the curiously named and stylishly decorated Thirty Three Cups operated by talented pastry chef Sky Muir.  Locals say the desserts are to die for and travel great distances to take home the legendary salted caramel slice! Thirty Three Cups offers a small but delicious breakfast and lunch menu and Ritual coffee from Launceston. Their seasonal menu changes regularly.

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