My first port of call on a three day sojourn to the island was Launceston. I was unaware of the city’s existence prior to one of the helpful bartenders at 1806 suggesting if I had time it was worth flying into Launceston, spending a night there, then wending my way across the island to Hobart.
This turned out to pay dividends almost upon arrival as I had the chance to wander up the Cataract Gorge which offered pretty spectacular views of the South Esk river.
Once I’d done my communing with nature for the day – perhaps week – I toddled back towards town and soon alighted upon Stillwater. My good pal and regular guest quester ABS is originally from Tasmania so suggested this place might suit for lunch. He was entirely correct.
The place is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner service with views across the basin where the Tamar meets with North and South Esk.
I was shown to a table by the window by one of the friendly waiting staff. I was left with the seasonal lunch menu plus an extensive wine list that had a strong emphasis on the wines of Tasmania.
I quickly settled upon the oysters to start opting for half a dozen of the local Moulting Bay variety. I followed with their steak tartare to which I added a side of Vietnamese salad.
The oysters promptly appeared accompanied by an outstanding local Riesling that worked beautifully with its crisp notes. The oysters were very good with an enjoyable bloody mary vinaigrette.
The tartare was absolutely excellent. With cured egg yolk, black vinegar, sesame and nori crackers, the local Cape Grim beef was outstandingly good. It was one of the best renditions of a dish I order not infrequently.
By comparison, the salad was fairly routine but had decent spice and aromatics so brought good freshness and zing.
I rounded things with very good espresso and the remainder of my really pleasing pinot gris from Hughes & Hughes.
So overall, Stillwater served me a really good meal and gave me an enjoyable insight into Tasmanian local produce and some of their excellent wines. I wish I’d had time to come back to explore things further but this was but a fleeting visit to Launceston. If you find yourself in town, factor in more time than I did as there’s a bit to explore in the local scenery and some good restaurants in town with Stillwater among those you must visit.
Blythe scores Stillwater
4/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
4/5 for setting
4/5 for service
giving an overall 16/20
I ate: oysters, tartare, Vietnamese salad
I drank: Tamar Ridge Riesling, Hughes & Hughes Pinot Gris, water, espresso
I wore: untidily untucked shirt
Total bill: $81
Address: 2 Bridge Road, Launceston TAS 7250