Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Daniel Alps Strathlynn, Launceston

Rita has been in Launceston for the past two days, meeting and conferencing, and sitting patiently listening to wise words, dispensed by many far wiser than I. Apart from that, obviously food was involved. Now the food at the venue we stayed at was, let’s be frank, pretty ordinary. Last night’s dinner (Pork, pictured below) surprised me a bit and was better than I had anticipated, but having said that, it wasn’t Tassie’s top tucker by a long shot.

So – at lunch break this afternoon, when everyone was dismissed for their 40 minute lunch break, Rita, in an unusual revolution against ordinary food, and in the firm knowledge that Daniel Alps Strathlynn was merely a seven minute car trip away, felt impelled to whizz quietly round there instead of munching out on satay sticks or whatever my fellow conferencers enjoyed today at lunch!

My luck held out, and with only one other table being occupied at Daniel Alps, and with Rita having been upfront in asking if it would offend them for me to have a quick entrée then dash off, the order was placed and appeared within about 10 minutes.

I ordered the entrée sized Crispy skin flathead ($22) which was done simply in, I think, lemon and butter, and served with pan fried new potatoes and some leaves. The dish was straightforward, uncomplicated and exactly as I would have done it myself. In short, it was perfect. I also had one of their beautiful crusty fresh baked rolls with olive oil, also perfect.

Flathead is a superb fish, in my opinion, and doesn't need any kind of enhancement at all to showcase its unique flavour, hence my pure enjoyment of the dish, and appreciation of the fact that they managed to hold off on the temptation to curry it, or batter it, or any other of the myriad methods chefs often use to mask something that tastes perfect with the most minimal preparation and cooking. Not a bone to be found either! Hats off to Daniel Alps!

Whilst waiting for my food, I checked out the shop attached to the restaurant, which sold, as well as wine, a few specific Daniel Alps products, like Truffled Salt ($10.95), an interesting looking Daniel Alps Curry Spice Mix ($15.90) and Daniel Alps Organic Eversley Pickled Cherries ($15.90) – all of which Rita bought.

I scoffed my fish down and dashed back to the venue, in time to appear as if by magic back in the conference room at the same time as the others, appearing, to all intents and purposes, as if I’d been there with them all along! Butter wouldn’t melt in Rita’s mouth!

The service at Daniel Alps proved also a stark contrast to my conference venue. It was prompt, efficient, friendly, informed, helpful and courteous. A truly professional team. I was told that Daniel Alps is yet another restaurant which prefers to source as much of their food locally as is humanly possible - a trait I wholeheartedly endorse.

It was a gorgeous day in Launceston today – sunny with blue skies but freezing cold. The vista at Strathlynn is breathtaking. It is a place where, if you want to impress visitors with one of Tassie’s many wonders, you should direct them or take them. It’s a vineyard and restaurant. It comes 100% recommended by Rita. Go there before you die.

Posted on by Rita


Winter woolly grumpy said...

Good for you Rita...I thought you'd gone into hibernation.
The alps place sounds great and fresh fish with spuds like this is always a winner.
By the way, I didn't notice Wings had been clipped, I'm getting past it.
But it's sad to feel treated this way when you've spent a bloody small fortune in there over many years on everything from spices to tea and knives.
I've been to the new spice place at Moonah and I think I'll go there instead, plus, of course, The Spice shop in central Hobart next to Habitat (another of my favourite places).

Rita said...

That's the way Sir G - vote with your feet! That'll teach 'em!

BTW - Daniel Alps is planning a special Champagne Breakfast on Sunday 31st May. They plan on 6 courses with six different matched wines to accompany it. It is priced at $175, and is strictly limited ticketing.
The food will be:
cheesy gougeres, Angasi oyster blinis, goats curd tarts, truffled eggs and smoked salmon, turkey saltimbocca and confit game.
Call them and book now 6330 2388.

Rita II said...

Hi Rita
I'm heading up to Launceston myself this weekend and being without car, probably won't make Daniel Alps at Strathlynn on this occasion (though it has been on my must-visit list for years). Do you have any other recommendations for Launie? Black Cow sounds a bit too meat-oriented for me. And I don't suppose you can reveal the venue you were actually staying at....??

Rita said...

Hi Rita II - probably not a smart or fair move to name the venue we stayed at but as it's so close to Daniel Alps (as I mentioned, 7 mins by car) I suppose most locals would be able to guess where it was anyway.
I have been asked twice over the last 2 weeks about Launnie places to eat at, so will give you the same recommendations.
I consulted with Ut Si (from Ut Si Cafe in Perth). We both agreed on the following:
High end dining:
Novaro's (you can see the link to them on my blog under Restaurants). Excellent food and service.
Black Cow (for great beef dishes) - this is the new venture for the owners of Stillwater
Fee & Me - very good
Stillwater - excellent, but I have heard a few negatives recently. I'd still go there any time though. Love it.
Pierres - mixed reports lately, but generally supposed to be good. I haven't eaten there myself.
The wineries down the Tamar are great as well.
I asked Ut Si about some cheaper alternatives, but she says she feels that Launceston has either top end or ordinary dining. So bascially, pick wherever you want for middle-priced dining.

Hope you'll pop into Ut Si's cafe in Perth just outside Launceston (although she's away in New York at the moment), if you get the chance - for a coffee or nibble! It's a converted church in the main street of Perth.

Have a great weekend.

Christina said...

Rita II, I can highly recommend the Cataract Bistro for a meal.
It's opposite Stillwater just about.
Rita has my review on her restaurant page.
If you go, I hope you find it as great as we did.

Rita II said...

Thanks for the detailed info, Rita. Much appreciated. Novaro's is lovely, I had a fantastic meal there last visit and Sarah and the staff were so nice too. This time (as per another of your recent posts), I am tightening my belt slightly so Fee and Me and Stillwater are probably too exxy (though a Sunday lunch at Stillwater isn't out of the question!). I always find there are many more interesting places to eat (and decent cafes too) in Launceston than in Hobart (I'm only talking about places in the CBD). And yes, having travelled up the Tamar last year I think I do know the conference venue!

Rita II said...

Christina, just read your post and I agree. Went there last time and it is already on my list!

our man in Canberra said...

Glad Dan came up with the goods. For a number of reasons DA at Stathlynn is my favourite Tasmanian restaurant so I'm biased.

I like that Dan has spent time developing a strong relationship with local growers (Yorktown Organics comes to mind) and the majority of dishes coming out of the kitchen use organic produce.

In relative terms he's not Robinson Crusoe when it comes to this sort of practice, but he was the first I became aware of back in the day.