Tag Archives: tasmania

The Highland Restaurant, Tasmania

Flashback to Tasmania: pine trees, endless 100km/hr roads and roaming wallabies. Let’s skip ahead to Day 5. We started with a vegan breakfast in Launceston then D2D drove us the long and winding 2 hrs 15 minutes to the infamous Cradle Mountain.

Cradle Mountain is located in the north west center of Tasmania and is infamous for the very popular week long hike from Cradle Mt to Lake St Claire. Needless to say, we didn’t have that long in Tasmania, so we opted for a shorter walk doing the Dove Lake Circuit.

After that walk, we settled into our accommodation at the Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge. Here, we pre-booked the night feeding tour at Devils@Cradle as well as dinner at the Highland Restaurant:

Highland Restaurant:

First up, the service is impeccable. We arrive like half an hour earlier than planned (since Devils@Cradle is so close), but the staff are very welcoming and seat us immediately next to the roaring fireplace – yes! Nice and warm…

Our waiter introduces himself to us by name as well as his colleague. We are then offered the menus to choose from, which offers two or three courses  ($60 pp or $70 pp) with about five choices for each course. We decide to be indulgent and get the three course.

The menu is interesting and contains a page which actually outlines the chef, their philosophy and where all their produce comes from. Essentially everything here is sourced as locally as possible within Tasmania.

First up, they serve us some free lodge baked bread which I gobble up with butter.

Fish entree
Fish entree

This is D2D’s entree. Sadly I can’t remember the exact details, but as you can it was seared Tasmanian fish  with cucumber wrapped fish roe.

Soup entree
Soup entree

I get a chorizo, bean and tomato soup, which comes with olive bread. Lots of bread so far!

Notably, on their old menu (the one on the website), you could actually order wallaby on your entree. But we’d just seen Tasmanian devils ripping apart some wallaby meat, so it wasn’t too appetizing…

longford beef eye fillet, dutch cream mashed potato, broccolini, herb roasted mushrooms, red wine jus
longford beef eye fillet, dutch cream mashed potato, broccolini, herb roasted mushrooms, red wine jus

For once, I get a big meaty main. This is the Longford beef fillet, some nice green broccolini and piped mash potato topped with mushrooms.

It’s very tender, cooked at medium rare. Luckily there’s not mash overkill, as I’ve already eaten a lot of bread.

tasmanian lamb cutlet, spinach besan cake, asian salad, spiced pistachio, dark aged soy
tasmanian lamb cutlet, spinach besan cake, asian salad, spiced pistachio, dark aged soy

D2D gets the Tasmanian lamb cutlets. It doesn’t look like much, but was very tender as well and gave us enough room to fit in dessert.

Dessert!
Dessert!

The good thing about this menu is that it’s not just 3 courses, with no choice (and both of us eating the same thing). With about five choices for each course, we got to choose different things and share half half.

This was their lemon/lime tart dessert, if my memory serves me right. The tart comes in little square blocks, with strawberries, crumb “soil” and a big scoop of sorbet/gelato on top. Nice presentation.

Dessert 2
Dessert 2

Again my memory totally fails. But I remember being satisfied at the end and nic e and warm next to the fireplace – that’s all that really matters right?

That brings us to the end of Day 5 of Tasmania! How quickly it goes – because we’re soon on a flight back to Sydney…

Day 5 Itinerary:

Highland Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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Tombolo – Tasmania

Tombolo (1 of 6)

Tombolo Freycinet Cafe

This little gem of a cafe opens 
for breakfast, lunch and dinner

We ventured away from freycinet national park where we were staying, 
to avoid the uninspiring prospect 
of hotel breakfast...

We made the right choice.

Tombolo (2 of 6)

We were really impressed with the mountain views from our table

the mountains in freycinet have a striking resemblance to the US mountains so often seen in movies and tv. 

fantasic view

Tombolo (3 of 6)

a relatively small space inside but this cafe offers a variety of food and drink options which 
included eggs 

which is the most important aspect of a good breakfast

Tombolo (4 of 6)

mocha and coffee 
perfect boost to start the morning 
with a long drive ahead of us

Tombolo (5 of 6)

the racer breakfast!
poached eggs salsa cheesy meaty ham on top of a crunchy toasted sour dough 

surprising not as heavy as it looks 
taste as yummy as it looks

Tombolo (6 of 6)

bacon egg roll 
fried egg 
simple, and it works 

the racer is better!

Definitely check out this cafe if you are around the freycinet area, 
or have hotel breakfast..
but this is better

Tombolo Freycinet on Urbanspoon

Machine Laundry Cafe, Hobart

At the start of our Day 2 Tasmania trip, we checked out early from Hadleys Hotel and then went to grab breakfast at one of the most popular cafes in Hobart, before hitting the road for a 1.5 hour drive to Port Arthur.

So what is this popular cafe?

Machine Laundry Cafe:

Machine Laundry Cafe
Machine Laundry Cafe

Early in the morning, this place was already busy with customers having breakfast (and doing their laundry)! We had to sit outside for a bit to wait for a table inside, but the staff were very helpful and gave us menus to peruse in the meantime. There are also tables outside, but this was Hobart in May and it is freezing already.

We only have to wait like 5-10 minutes before being seated inside.

Machine Cafe-2

This is a relatively small cafe, with one half fitting the kitchen and the other half fitted with laundry machines. Yes – there’s a bit of novelty to eating breakfast while watching a row of tumbling washers behind you.

On the wall, they have some cool posters (which are also on their business cards). On the far left (the green/white shirt), it’s labelled herbal tea. The next one (black panties) is labelled short black. And the middle (white bra) is called flat white.  Hehehe…

Old New Egg Dish - $13.90
Old New Egg Dish – $13.90

I ordered the Old New Egg dish, which is basically scrambled eggs with feta on garlic sourdough with beetroot relish and wild rocket! I’m not too sure what that green liquid-y circle is, but it tasted ok too.

And, well, you can’t really go wrong with FETA – yum!

D2D's breakfast
D2D’s breakfast

To be honest, I’ve kind of forgotten what D2D ordered, but it looks like haloumi (a lot of it) on top of avocado smash and spinach and sourdough! Maybe there’s some salmon in there…

MLC is a pretty popular place, so we were lucky to duck in early to grab our breakfast. By the time we left, the tables outside were all filled up!

Something else I also noticed after Day 1 of Hobart is that most places seem to accept credit card! This was a nice surprise as we were a bit worried about running out of cash and struggling to find an ATM for our particular bank. This also made it easier for us to track out expenses and later work out how much our entire trip cost.

Ok, so after breakfast, we headed off to Port Arthur as the main feature of Day 2!

Day 2 itinerary:

  • Breakfast at Machine Laundry Cafe and check out a few of the shops in Salamanca which opened early
  • 1.5 hour drive to Port Arthur, which is the best preserved convict settlement in Australia. To visit, the Bronze Pass is $35 pp and includes an intro walking tour and cruise ride.
  • 2.5 hour drive to Redcliffe House, Swansea where we stayed for our Day 2 accommodation. The Redcliffe House is a historic BNB with farm/vineyard.
  • Dinner at the Bark Mill Tavern, which was surprisingly good because of the hearty portions, fireplace and people.

Machine Laundry Cafe on Urbanspoon

Smolt and IXL Long Bar, Hobart

Here is the first of our posts about our adventure in Tasmania! The down “Down Under” as it is sometimes referred to.

On Day 1, we arrived in Hobart, Tasmania where we drove straight to the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) for an afternoon visit. After that, we checked into Hadleys Hotel, which is the OLDEST hotel in the whole of Tasmania! (Much to D2D’s dismay…)

By then, we hadn’t eaten anything since we’d left Sydney (at like 10am), but we were a bit starved, so we headed to the Salamanca area. This area is a bit akin to the Rocks in Sydney in that there are beautiful historic houses, cobblestone paths and alleyways which harken back to the colonial days.

Prior to our trip, we’d looked up and kind of planned where we wanted to eat. Out of Hobart CBD, I had trimmed it down to a few places and we ended up choosing:

Smolt Restaurant

  • Website: http://www.smolt.com.au/
  • Address: 2 Salamanca Square, Hobart TAS 7000
  • Open: daily from 8.30am for breakfast, lunch, dinner

We’d arrived a bit early at 5.30pm on a Sunday night, because we were hungry and also because there wasn’t much else to see at this time in Hobart (after sundown on a Sun night…).

Although the full dinner menu wasn’t quite available yet, by the time we finished looking at the menu and choosing a few things to share, it was well and truly dinner time.

Communal table
Communal table

When we went in, most of the tables appeared to be already pre-booked! This was surprisingly given it was a Sunday night… but luckily they have a big communal table in the center so we got to snag a corner. In the middle was a big bowl of fruits – yum.

Advice? Book ahead to get a private table – even on a Sun night!

The decor of Smolt is interesting, because the private tables make it a bit fancier, but then the communal table makes it quite casual. There’s definitely a European feel to the furniture.

But what is surprising is that we get FREE bread! Yay. Onto the food we actually ordered:

jamon croquettes, smoked peppers, aioli, dill, coriander $17.9
jamon croquettes, smoked peppers, aioli, dill, coriander $17.9

These are the croquettes – hot, crunchy and tasty. But perhaps rather expensive at $18! That’s like $4-5 each! But easy to forget when you’re gobbling it down…

Bar counter
Bar counter

Here is the bar counter. The service here was quite polite, though they did seem a bit distracted/understaffed at times. D2D was very thirsty and it was a bit of a struggle to wave down someone to get our water refilled.

roasted beetroot, asparagus, artichoke, caramelised pumpkin puree, kettering grown hazelnuts, goats curd, crouton salad $19.9
roasted beetroot, asparagus, artichoke, caramelised pumpkin puree, kettering grown hazelnuts, goats curd, crouton salad $19.9

This was the dish I was most impressed with at Smolt.

The photo kind of shortens the dish, but trust me, it was a pretty big portion size (very long plate) and there was just so many different elements! The pumpkin puree spread over everything was delicious. We polished it off, except for the nuts, which were a bit too plentiful…

We also didn’t finish the nuts, because we had ordered quite a bit:

tomato braised tasmanian octopus, grilled ciabatta 23.9
tomato braised tasmanian octopus, grilled ciabatta 23.9

Since we are here, some TASMANIAN octopus. It tastes like normal octopus, lol. This is served kind of like a ‘tapas’ style. But they gave us quite a bit of octopus, and with bread too! Yes, MORE bread we can’t possibly fit in, since we stuffed ourselves on the free stuff…

braised lamb shoulder, fresh tomato, eggplant chips, labne, rocket 25.9
braised lamb shoulder, fresh tomato, eggplant chips, labne, rocket 25.9

Lastly, and the biggest was pizza! This was a pretty good pizza, but we definitely struggled to finish.

All in all, Smolt is a good restaurant which surprised us with its hearty portions and popularity on a Sunday night. Some of the menu seems rather overpriced and in hindsight, I think the croquettes were not really special. The highlights would be the pizza and salad.

Smolt on Urbanspoon

To work off our dinner, we wandered around the wharf to:

Henry Jones IXL Long Bar:

The Henry Jones Art Hotel is a former IXL jam factory reinvented into an art hotel. Surprisingly, the IXL Long Bar was quite empty of people when we wandered in after dinner. It seemed that most restaurants were still busy with diners, or perhaps it was Sunday night and nobody was up for a drink before the start of the working week.

Regardless we decided to try some drinks and THIS is when we met a super bartender!

D2D orders his usual Old Fashioned. Bartender asks us what kind of whiskey we want, listing off a whole catalogue of whiskeys to choose from and gesturing at the wall of bottles behind him. We’re a bit clueless (the cheapest whiskey please?) and the bartender runs off to find a detailed menu of whiskeys to look at. He disappears out the back for a bit. When he comes back, we go with his recommendation: Monkey Shoulder Whiskey. He then proceeds to spend the next 10 minutes making what appears to be a super complicated version of Old Fashioned while we watch and admire.

This guy is like a magician! Everything is done with a flourish and he is determined (as he is examining the box of “special ice cubes”) to accept only the best. He tosses a “bad” one into the sink. He then take two of these ice cubes and using a kitchen knife, proceeds to chisel the ice into two perfect spheres! Seriously, his concentration is as if he is creating an ice sculpture and I worry his knife will slip and take off the skin on his fingers.

I’m undoubtedly gawking during this whole time.

I order a non-alcoholic Apple & Pomegranate Sour ($10), which is created with the same sense of magic and dramatic flourishes.

Magic
Magic

Perhaps, it’s the fact that the bar was pretty empty, but this bartender was amazing in the time/dedication that he put into our drinks. Bravo! We really enjoyed the show (and drink)! 🙂

This concluded our Day 1 in Tasmania – Hobart.

Day 1 itinerary:

  • 12:45pm: land in Hobart Tasmania and collect hire car.
  • 2:00pm: visit and explore MONA at 655 Main Road, Berriedale ($20 pp), giving the infamous ferry ride a miss as there was no time
  • 4pm: Check into Hadleys Hotel then walked around the Salamanca Square area and Battery Point (though the sun was fading fast)
  • 5:30pm: dinner at Smolt followed by drinks at Henry Jones IXL Long Bar