A rainy, cold day in Launceston required lunch in the good company of like-minded foodophiles (I just made that word up!) coupled with the hospitable atmosphere of a reliable restaurant. I got all those requirements in spades at Hallam's.
Served by two diligent waitresses, our drinks were constantly topped up, our every need attended to, and our opinions of each course enquired about and checked on.
I was eating with well known Launceston restaurant and café identity, and food photographer extraordinaire, Cathryn Gibson, and her long suffering husband Neil. I say Neil is long suffering because every time they eat out, the poor guy has to sit patiently and watch all the food go cold as Cathryn takes artistic shots, from many angles, of all the food!
The menu is reasonably all encompassing but obviously predominantly seafood.
We chose what we judged to be a good cross section of food in order that we all might taste a variety of the dishes on offer.
Entrée was a tasting plate (for three), priced at $33, which we all agreed was excellent, except for the octopus which could have been a bit less chewy. I gather the contents of this dish vary, but ours contained three natural oysters topped with finely diced cucumber and a light (possibly ponzu) dressing, seared tuna, the aforementioned seared octopus and salmon on thinly sliced toast. Due to a mix up, we ended up getting three more natural oysters topped with a pomegranate sorbet, which we were absolutely delighted about as they turned out to be the best component of the tasting plate.
For her main course, Cathryn selected the grilled harissa calamari and banana prawns, rustic guacamole, grilled summer vegetables and coriander and paprika oil. Neil had the Spring Bay blue lip mussels steamed open in a saffron broth ($32), and I opted for the seafood chowder ($24) which contained an assortment of white fish and Spring Bay mussels and came with toasted bread.
All dishes were unbelievably good. Being a cold, wet day, I thought my choice of the chowder was a winner, but the other two meals were close to being up there.
We shared a dessert - a vanilla bean and cardamom panna cotta with honeycomb and stewed rhubarb ($13.50).
I think we could easily have sat there all afternoon, in the very pleasant ambience of this light and airy restaurant, drinking and chatting of all things food related, but I was only in Launceston for the day, and needed to return to Hobart so unfortunately our time was cut short. I thoroughly recommend a visit to Hallam's if you want a top class seafood meal in Launceston.
13 Park Street
Phone: 03 6334 0554