Monday, 14 March 2011

White Sands Estate

Mike - a reader of Rita's Bite - sent in his review (below) of White Sands Estate at Four Mile Creek (up the East Coast, past Swansea). I am very grateful when someone sends in a productive offering like this, as one of the aims of this blog is to inform those who might be interested about an experience at any given eatery. Given that I haven't been up the East Coast for around 2 years now, and not likely to get there till later this year, I thank Mike most sincerely for his review.

"White Sands Estate, Four Mile Creek

Eating off the beaten track in Tasmania is almost always likely to lead to some disappointment – often poor service, disappointing food, slip-ups that mar what should otherwise be a pleasant and seamless experience are the norm. And you grow to expect that in every instance not everything will work as planned. So you become wary about ordering anything other than standard and predictable fare – steak, parmigiana, fish and chips, anything bolognaise are usually safe. Avoid at all cost anything that sounds remotely exotic because it will be sure to disappoint.

So it comes as an extraordinarily pleasant surprise when you chance upon a restaurant out of the way that does things very well. Such was the case with the Brewhaus Bar and Café, part of the food and accommodation set up at White Sands Estate at Four Mile Creek south of St Helens.

White Sands has transformed the previous Cray Drop Inn into a spacious, modern, well designed resort hosting a couple of restaurants, brewery, 3-4 star accommodation units and conference facilities on a stunning site right on the coast. Light and space dominate the restaurant areas with capacity to effortlessly absorb people.

On the Sunday of a long weekend the Brewhaus was comfortably filled with travellers, family groups, locals and in-house guests. Staff were immaculately presented in smart uniforms, the welcome mat was clearly out and from the outset you got the impression that this was a place serious about its hospitality.

A glass of the in-house brewery’s IronHouse Pale Ale was perfect, a full-bodied ale with plenty of malt and citrus overtones, enjoyed sitting on the expansive sun deck looking out to the Tasman Sea. A glass of their Monteith’s Crushed Apple Cider was also perfect.

The lunch menu was limited but appealing. The lager battered flathead just as you would expect in a location known for its fish catch – fresh, flavoursome, perfectly battered; the tossed mescalin salad also fresh, the chips hand cut and not overfilling the dish. The baby squid stuffed with chorizo, capers and parsley exquisite.

The wine list was interesting, well thought out and well-priced and included wines that were affordable enough to try. Thus the 07 Domaine Merlin Sancerre from the Loire Valley, France at $44 was in that league, a beautiful dry sauvignon blanc totally alien to the New Zealand sav blancs that now dominate the market.

The arrival of a downpour caused a mass evacuation from the deck dining area, but the size and spaciousness of the venue allowed diners to be easily absorbed inside. In fact we relocated to a nook looking out over the deck allowing us to watch the downpour and continue what was a thoroughly enjoyable meal.

It was hard to fault this place. The food flavoursome, generous, and well-priced, the service pleasant and professional, the venue modern, bright, sparkling and conducive to a wonderful dining experience. And the fact that it was delivered in a part of the state where well-trained hospitality staff are a rarity as are inspired chefs is a considerable achievement. A pretty full restaurant seems to suggest that we were not alone in our assessment.

Website at http://www.white-sands.com.au/homepage

Mike"

11 comments:

sir grumpy said...

I'd go east on that ``mescalin'' salad Mike. It's a hallucinogenic, unlike most mescluns.
Still, I'd be willing to try such a salad in the name of science.
Even the local beer.
What kind of mushrooms do they offer....?

sir grumpy said...

That should be ``go easy''. What am I on?

Cartouche said...

Resonating on the same wave length with you here Sir G. You would be looking at the girl with kaliedescope eyes and marmalade trees if you catch my drift on this.

Cartouche

kathleen said...

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Anonymous said...

i stopped in for a morning coffee recently - a beautiful place I must say. It was quite early and we were the only people there. No cake but the coffee did the job. I also bought a few of their beers to try later (Iron House Brewery), not bad. They also sold a good selection of picnic goods at the shop I noticed.
BUT the best thing was - wait for it parents of young kids - a fully fenced indoor playground WOO HOO, fan bloody tastic. We sat back on a comfy couch and enjoyed our coffee, almost in peace !!!
Spag Blog
Spag Blog

sir grumpy said...

Well, my grub highlight of the past week was....Dom's at Blackmans Bay!
Chicken Sambal Chilli and (for her but we shared) Szechuan Chilli Beef.
Avec le fried rice. Just great.

Deb C said...

Very nice fish curry from Taste of Asia in Hobart... never seen it before and I must say it's a change from the normal curries. It has some roasted sesame seeds in it too that add flavour. Worth a try if you see it there!

Anonymous said...

I had the beer battered fish two weeks ago... supposedly with 'lime aioli'. husband had the beef burger (beef being the operative word as there was no onion, herbs, sauces, egg or anything else but meat). Child had 'cheesy pasta' which was fettucine with pregrated cheese sprinkled on top (for $10).

say no more...

TJ

Rita said...

Oh TJ - I'm so sad you had such a poor experience there. And I know you are a good, and fair, diner, so trust your summation. Surprised your littlie is old enough to tackle a cheesy pasta dish though! My how time flies - it seems like just the other day he was born!

TJ said...

nearly 18 months... loves 'adult food' not so keen on this puree mush stuff!

had lunch at Cultura today... just fabulous... great vibe... great food... had PROPER carbonara (ie no cream!) even the waitstaff/owners spoke 'wog' (quote unquote). Lunch time was full and there were people waiting for tables. great to see...

TJ

Anonymous said...

Ah the joys of the Tasmanian food and service experience! My partner and I lived and worked in TAS for 2 years recently. We have now left!! Poor service...in fact the worse en masse we have ever experienced....they talk about Tasmania being a great place for Food and Wine - granted the wine is good - especially the Pinot - the food however is over rated, over priced and by and large not even from Tasmania!! A disappointment for many mainlanders all round! No wonder Tassie suffers from the stereotypical poor relation, poor this and poor that victim mentality!! The place sucks!!!!!