Friday, 20 January 2012

A belter of a meal at Beltana

Having had cause to be in Lindisfarne often over the past few months, I have observed with interest the renovations going on at the tired old (pub) Beltana so it was interesting that a friend wanted to meet me for lunch there this week.

I waitressed there for a short period in the 70’s and found it to be your usual suburban pub – full of esoteric locals with non-discerning palates! That was the last time I was in the place. You’ll imagine my delight in finding, on Wednesday at lunch there, a lovely, fresh-feeling, light and airy dining room, good food and with excellent staff to match.

FOH boss is a well-known face from Marque IV days: Leigh, who is a top operator. The kitchen staff is headed up by two ex-Jean Pascal chefs from the Bellerive shop, so a slight French bias is emerging on the menu with the addition of various duck ‘goodies’.

Whilst it has to be acknowledged this is merely a pub we’re talking about, not a trendy Salamance restaurant, the food was GOOD. As a pub in the Kalis-owned stable along with Cooleys, Margate Tavern, Beachfront Bicheno, Kingston Hotel, Mornington Inn (and the future Myer redevelopment which sounds huge and exciting for little old Hobart! A sky bar on top! See, Sydney – we too can do it!) etc, they obviously are all run under pretty similar lines, but with the difference in demographic in each pub, there is a certain amount of leeway for each pub to appeal to its punters. I think Lindisfarne’s Beltana is an accurate reflection of the desires of its locals.

The physical menu itself is a fabulous way to present a menu to clientele. It appears to be a folded piece of brown paper, with the Beltana insignia printed on the front, wrapped around the white paper serviette on the table setting – giving a neat, pleasing and hygienic appearance to the table setting. On closer examination, this bit of brown paper opens up to reveal the menu, which you can peruse then take home with you if you want – most handy for a food blogger! Apparently Alexia Kalis saw this idea in the US on a visit and has adopted it for here. Now if we could see this obvious result from some of those ‘educational’ visits around the world our politicians make, then I’m sure we, as taxpayers and financiers of these overseas visits, would feel way better about our tax dollars funding these ‘junkets’ – but that’s another story for another day!

So, with the excellent service and beautiful ambience boxes ticked, the food was next to anticipate. We ordered (to share between us) what I hoped would be a reasonable cross-section of food, and indeed it was.
*Beautiful Manna Bakehouse ciabatta with truffle butter ($8)
*Smoked free range chicken, roast pumpkin, pancetta and baby spinach salad with maple and yellow mustard dressing ($15.90)
*Togarashi squid, green mango, mint and chilli salad with lemon aioli ($15.90)
*Parfait, pasties and pies which included potted duck parfait (delicious), olive tapenade, beetroot and walnut pate (fabulous), game pastie and pork pie. You can order this as a small dish ($25) or large ($48). I found the small size combined with the other dishes we ordered was more than enough.
*Dessert was the most stunning dessert I have had for a while: Cherry Ripe in a glass ($10) – dark chocolate crumbs, cherry cheesecake and toasted coconut. Well, that’s the official description on the menu, but to me it tasted (and looked) like a large layer of what looked like whipped cream but was, in actual fact, coconut cream put in the cream gun (brilliant idea) with chocolate sprinkled over the top. On the bottom layer of the glass, you could see cherries in a cherry jelly, and you could taste shards of chocolate when you dug into the bottom and ate some cherry. Not sure where the cherry cheesecake was but it didn’t matter because it was so yummy!

The bread with the truffle butter was unexpected but lovely.
The smoked chicken salad was exactly what you’d want for lunch in the middle of the day. I’m a smoked chicken fan from way back so to be honest, they could have done whatever they liked with it and I’d have been happy!
The squid was nice but didn’t quite come up to the standard set for me by James Squires a few weeks ago.
The parfait, pastie and pie dish was a great taster platter and highly recommended for those that like to nibble and chat over a meal – which is what we were doing.

All in all, a lovely long lunch in great surroundings, with professional service. What more could you ask for?
Posted on by Rita


Allison said...

After reading your review I booked a table here last night- all I can say is WOW! Great decor, friendly and efficient staff, and best of all the best food I have had in Hobart in a long time! There were 4 of us and we all could not fault the meals or service. Thanks for the recommendation Rita!

Leah Edwards said...

I have been there with my husband and my little angle before some days ago! Awesome meal, and very nice and good staff. Thanks for the excellent post.

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christina said...

Finally went for lunch today with Mum and Dad. We'd heard both good and bad and were so happy to experience "the good"! We all enjoyed our lunch immensely. Without waffling on like I normally do, service was excellent, food was fantastic,the place looks wonderful and we will definitely return.