Hobart and Launceston are well known as popular destinations for wine and food lovers, but there are also plenty of gourmet discoveries to be made across the island state.
Opening image: Old Kempton Distillery by Tourism Australia.
Ashcraig Thai Restaurant
A small orange cabin in Tasmania’s far south – several kilometres from the nearest shop – is the unlikely venue where you can discover some of the most authentic Thai food in the state. Ashcraig Farm at Nicholls Rivulet outside Cygnet, is an organic fruit and vegetable farm that sells produce to several of Tasmania’s top eateries, but it is also home to a Thai restaurant that draws in locals and those in the know. With a chef from Isaan (known for its spicy chili-accented food), Ashcraig serves up dishes like tom kha soup, massaman beef, basil chili and tom yum stir fries, and a range of curries. Eat in or takeaway from Thursdays to Sundays. BYO. Call (03) 6295 0901.
The Farm Shed, Bicheno
This is a regional one-stop shop for wine lovers and spirit aficionados at Bicheno on the east coast. The Farm Shed/East Coast Wine Centre offers tastings and sales of wines from every wine producer on Tasmania’s East Coast – between Triabunna to just north of St Helens – including many that do not have their own cellar doors. There are several wines in Oenamatic machines so you can have a taste before you commit, and there are also flights of Tasmanian whiskies and gins on offer. Now under new management but offering the same experience, The Farm Shed is open seven days during summer. Look out for wines from smaller vineyards like Hurly Burly, Ossa and Boomer Creek. Visit thefarmshedtas.com.au.
Hursey Seafoods, Stanley
No trip to the north-west of Tasmania is complete without enjoying a seafood feast at Hursey Seafoods on the waterfront in the picturesque hamlet of Stanley. The Hursey family (featured on TV series Aussie Lobster Men) has their own fishing fleet and runs a large wholesale fish operation as well as a restaurant with takeaway and fresh fish sales. The restaurant backs onto the Nut Reserve and the large lobster on the roof means it’s easily spotted. Dishes include seafood marinara as well as fish tacos and fresh southern rock lobster (Tasmanian crayfish) served with Stanley saltbush butter. The décor celebrates the family’s fishing history with wooden oars, old portholes, a ship’s compass and old fishing charts. Call (03) 6458 1103.
Cinnamon and Cherry, Franklin
A small village overlooking the Huon River is the unlikely home of a small café specialising in gourmet treats from Turkey and the Middle East. It’s the ideal spot to stop for a bite en route to the Hastings Caves or Tahune Airwalk. Think warm Turkish bread and a substantial range of Middle Eastern dips, or just pop in for Turkish coffee. The menu is vegetarian-friendly with a selection of vegan and gluten-free options. Choose from delicious house-baked bread and pastries, both sweet and savoury, or home-made cakes. After feasting, take a walk along the banks of the improbably pretty river. Call 0419 410 845.
Love Lucy Boots, Westbury
Coffee in the morning, wine by night. Love Lucy Boots is a new dual-purpose venue set in an 1870s house in a small town in the north of Tasmania, just 25 minutes from Launceston. Love Lucy Boots Wine Room sits only 15 people and aims to showcase wines and small plates with a focus on regional and family-owned businesses. The wine and food list changes regularly, depending on the season and what new wine discoveries have been made. The venue offers a takeaway espresso bar from 7:30am-9:30am Friday to Monday, offering pastries and sourdough breads. Once evening hits, wines take centre stage. Visit lovelucyboots.com.au/
Triabunna Fish Van, Triabunna
The setting may be rustic, but the seafood here cannot be beaten in quality or price. Think fresh-cooked local fish and crispy hot chips served with tartare sauce, a slice of lemon and a choice of vinegars. Take a seat overlooking the Triabunna’s fishing fleet and pull out a BYO bottle of local wine. No corkage. And cost per head? Just $12. Triabunna Fish Van is around a 90-minute drive from Hobart and the ideal spot to stop for anyone travelling on the Great Eastern Drive from the capital to tourism destinations like Bicheno or Coles Bay. The menu also features scallops, squid and other sea creatures and all the food is freshly cooked while you wait. The van is open daily from 11am-6:30pm. Visit thefishvan.com.au.
Old Kempton Distillery, Kempton
Turn off the main highway between Hobart and Launceston and discover the sleepy hamlet of Kempton. Here historic sandstone Dysart House, built in the 1840s, is home to one of Tasmania’s best boutique distilleries and a country-style cafe and providore with friendly service. Throw in beautiful gardens and whisky tours and tastings and you have Old Kempton Distillery – just a 40-minute drive north of Hobart. In addition to a range of single malt whiskies, you’ll discover Embezzler Gin, Barley Vodka, Lavender Malt and Apple Liqueur, distilled from Tasmanian apple cider. The brick stables, once home to 22 horses, now house a Tasmanian-made copper still. Visit oldkemptondistillery.com.au.
Mewstone/Hughes & Hughes Wines, Flowerpot
Family-owned-and-operated Mewstone cellar door is only in its second year but is already drawing crowds in the D’Entrecasteaux Channel south of Hobart. Jonny and Matt Hughes offer structured tastings of their Mewstone (estate) and Hughes & Hughes (grower fruit) wines at their architecturally designed cellar door, which offers spectacular water views from the estate vineyard. The wines tend to be small batch and inclined towards non-interventional winemaking. The cellar door is open 11am-4pm Friday to Sunday and guided tastings are $25 per person. All booked tastings are seated, and each group is hosted by a member of the cellar door team – and occasionally by Jonny Hughes himself. Visit mewstonewines.com.au.
For more to explore in Tasmania, check out the new dawn for Devonport’s dining and drinks scene.