May 10, 2016
Heading to Launceston for the weekend? Here’s your guide to the city’s best restaurants and cafés.
Best paddock-to-plate venue
You could walk past Geronimo Aperitivo Bar & Restaurant without ever noticing it. The signage outside the restaurant, in an obvious nod to the photocopier business that once occupied the space, is pedestrian. It gives absolutely no hint of the sophisticated, moody den of good food, wine and times that lies beyond it. Wooden slats frame a concrete feature wall on one end; on the other, heavily textured wallpaper sets the mood. And in between the two is plenty of recycled timber and Carrara marble, plus chef Sam Pinkard’s food, which is bursting with regional seasonal produce. Most of it, in fact, is sourced from owner-manager Jeremy Kode’s farm, 20 kilometres south in Tasmania’s Northern Midlands. It’s a textbook example of paddock-to-plate dining and one that might soon give some of Hobart’s finest restaurants a run for their money. When we visited, an amuse-bouche of oysters doused in Champagne vinaigrette and served with salmon roe and chives was a fantastic place to start, while in another course minuscule cubes of silky ocean trout were beautifully matched with salt and vinegar crisps.
186 Charles Street; (03) 6331 3652
Best fine-dining restaurant
Perched on the banks of the Tamar River, Stillwater has been a Launceston favourite for some time now, and continues to inject vigour into the city’s fine-dining scene. It’s housed in a characterful 1830s building with chunky exposed wooden beams, low-set mood lighting and plenty of windows that beautifully frame the water views. But it’s chef Craig Will’s menu that’s the real drawcard here. From the small-plates section, pick the Tasmanian blacklip abalone congee with baby corn and spring onion, while for the main course opt for the duck breast that’s roasted to perfection – its crisp skin beautifully seasoned – and served with sprouted rye and baked figs. A fig sorbet with fig jelly (clearly, the fruit was in season when we visited the restaurant) makes for a delightful dessert.
2 Bridge Road; (03) 6331 4153
Best vineyard dining experience
There’s no dearth of vineyard restaurants in the Tamar Valley, but the Josef Chromy restaurant – a mere 15-minute drive south of Launceston – has to be one of the most scenic. Sights of a placid lake, rolling vineyards and shimmering native bush-clad hills lay themselves like a pack of cards in front of you as soon as your arrive in the winery’s vast, high-ceilinged dining room. Timber tables and leather-clad chairs give the restaurant a refined French-bistro feel, while floor-to-ceiling glass windows maximise the views. The well-seasoned wallaby bolognese served with egg yolk, dense walnut paste and parmesan foam is a delightful entrée – just remember to mix it all well before you dive in. For the main course, opt for the falling-off-the-bone lamb short rib paired with salty olives and sautéed Brussels sprouts.
370 Relbia Road, Relbia; (03) 6335 8700
Best breakfast and coffee
Smack bank in the middle of Launceston city, you’ll find Inside Cafe – an old warehouse space with exposed brick walls and beams and an antique sliding steel door that doubles as a feature wall. On the menu, there’s Toby's Estate coffee as well as breakfast delights such as pesto-infused scrambled eggs with grilled haloumi and spinach (delicious) and parmesan-crumbed asparagus served with poached eggs and a dash of mustard sauce (satisfying to a tee).
10-14 Paterson Street; (03) 6331 7348
SEE ALSO: Where to Stay in Launceston