Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Belly's (Latrobe NW Tasmania) 06/2016

Latrobe is about eight km from Devonport where the Princess of Tasmania disembarks passengers from Melbourne, across Bass straight. It’s a typical small Australian town with one kilometre long main street lined, on both sides, with all sorts of shops, cafe’s and bars, food stores and supermarkets, banks and junk stores and lots more.
Belly’s, attached to the local RSL branch, sits at one end of the street. Friday night is a busy time. They have takeaway and the rather loud ‘phone rang incessantly, as the restaurant filled steadily.
Apart from a menu up on chalk boards

there is fairly straight forward menu which included a soup of the day, `starters and basic mains including pizzas, burgers, fish, steaks and a paella, spelled with one l. 
the decor is very plain and dated,

the table settings basic.
I started with a mushroom soup which was large, rich and full of mushroom flavour.
I enquired about pasta, which was not on the menu. A moment later the waitress returned offering marinara, carbonara or aioli! Nevertheless I decided on the saffron seafood and chorizo paella. I came after a short wait.
I would be better described as a risotto including flakes of parmigiana cheeses and a very good creamy rice. Not what I expected but very tasty, plenty of seafood and not overwhelmed by the chorizo which could be removed if desired. Too full for dessert I will come back for a meal another time.
Only a couple of weeks later and i did come back. This looked too good to resist and not too expensive either.

 It turned out to be excellent.

 Everything was as promised with some nice prawns and scallops hidden in the sauce which was perhaps a bit light on for garlic. 500gm of steak with all the accouterments is a very big serve. Nevertheless I did try a chunky chocolate cheese cake which was almost like chocolate fudge with no taste of cheese at all!

There is a nice selection of reasonably inexpensive Tasmanian wines.
lick on pic to enlarge.

Score: 14/20

Ghost Rock (Port Sorell NW Tasmania) 06/2016

On the outskirts of Port Sorell few people would come across this place by accident and most would pass by at 80 km/hr unaware of what they were missing. Signage is sadly lacking on the approach roads to a place that really is of interest to tourists.
Perhaps this is Ghost Rock!
Set on a hill above the vines the 

Cellar Door tasting area is at the side of a simple cafe style dining space. The area is run by Scott Wolfson, an enthusiastic young man. The place has a very clean look about it.  When I arrived every table that was occupied had on it a huge antipasti plate, The Ghost Rock Platter, a serve for two or three people.
Other dishes on the menu include foccacia and pork belly and apple pie. basically they do not cook in the kitchen.

Decor is plain and simple,

but the views are attractive.

I had to have the platter and requested a small one. It’s an advertisement for Tasmanian produce. 

Marinated mussels, three different presentations of salmon, smoked salmon 41degree salmon rillette, hot smoked salmon, pesto, black garlic marinated in balsamic vinegar, olives, a slice of beef sausage sun dried tomatoes, stuffed bell pepper, red capsicum, eggplant, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, pickled onion, smoked chicken breast, chicken liver pate on a bed of leaves and four different cheeses with toasted bread and biscuits plus a bread roll and butter. Every element of this platter was excellent, very fresh and full of flavour. The black garlic exceptional
I enjoyed this with a sparkling non alcoholic Elderflower drink, a delicate Tasmanian specialty.

I finished with a raspberry parfait, ice-cream and a double espresso. 

The only tiny negative was the ice-cream  which had become too soft and been refrozen leaving little ice crystals in it. A truly surprisingly satisfying lunch.
A small area is set aside for Tasmanian handicrafts and souvenirs. 
A beaut place to visit and taste their many prize winning wines at reasonable prices and enjoy a great taste of Tasmania.
Score: 14/20

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Touchwood Cottages (Stanley, Tasmania) 06/2016

Stanley is a touristy little town on a peninsula in the far NW of Tasmania. It's a rugged

attractive place with steep hills great views

and a massive rock called the Nut.
Image result for stanley the nut
I dropped into the small restaurant and souvenir shop attached to Touchwood Cottages

for a cup of coffee and a muffin for morning tea.

It was first class. Their scones looked just as good too.

Mecca (Burnie) 06/2016

Another day another dinner. 
This large dining room, originally a hotel, with well spaced bare tables was full of solid citizens eating substantial sized meals.

The room had some character with pressed metal ceiling 

and little nooks.

 The laminated menu had a fair range of dishes and I chose a seafood platter.

It was very large for one person and I took away almost a half of it when I could eat no more. It was what might be called rustic. A big meal, simply presented with two sauces and a wedge of lemon. Plenty of taste.
Unfamiliar with the white wines I asked for a taste of the Ghost Rock, a local vineyard, pinot gris. I got half a glass and was not surprised that the glass I eventually ordered was well above the standard glass.

Prices were reasonable.

Score: 13.75/20

Monday, June 13, 2016

Rialto (Burnie) 06/2016

Very simply decorated it had lead glass windows depicting the famous bridge on the door

and the window to the street.

There is an ancient cash register on the counter as you come through the door.

My waitress had no idea of the owners of this Italian restaurant were from Venice, in fact I doubt that she knew where the Rialto Bridge was. This was hardly of any importance, of course. She was there to convey orders and deliver food to the table. 
I started with a minestrone soup which looked and tasted like a thousand others. A request for bread was met with "We only serve garlic bread" Which I thought a little limiting. Parmesan was available but I had to ask for it and I also had to ask for water. For a main I chose a scaloppini marinara. 

The veal was totally covered in a thick layer of seafood including plenty of scallops and prawns. They were in quite a light sauce and tasted good but, when I found the veal it was in small tasteless slices.
That was about enough for one night.
Score:13.75 /20

Baltimore (Burnie NW Tasmania) 06/2016

I would not have found this place in an old train station on the edge of Burnie but for the recommendation of a young waitress at Mandarin Court when I asked about a French style European restaurant.

The train is no longer used for dining but the restaurant is decorated partly in a manner reminiscent of a railway dining car. 

The other half of the venue is like any regular restaurant 

with a bar at the far end.

I think my adviser was struck by the knowledge that they had snails on the menu. Of course I ordered them. 

The came in pairs in crumbed batter. Nicely spiced and seasoned they were excellent.
There was an attractive choice of mains 

and I settled for the Kassler. This is a lightly cured (salted) and lightly smoked cut of pork usually neck or loin, often served with sauerkraut. (Apologies for the photo's - they do not do the place or the food justice)

It was an excellent, quite substantial dish, the pork thick and moist with a nice glaze and just cooked accompanying vegetables. A good example of very sound cooking.
My waitress, the owner and wife of the chef, easily talked me into a chocolate, caramel panacotta which was also very good. 

A little more expensive and a lot better than any where else I went to in the area.
Score: 16/20