Stillwater, Launceston10/31/2010 04:19:00 PM
2 Bridge Rd
Launceston, TAS 7250
Down by the banks of the Tamar River, at the mouth of the Cataract Gorge in Launceston, is a lovely little restaurant called Stillwater. They're actually the sister restaurant of the Black Cow Bistro (Stillwater was there first!), and do slightly cheffier food in a rustic setting. They do breakfast, lunch and dinner, and we actually visited twice during our 3 days in Launceston - once for dinner, and again for breakfast!
Upon walking in, we felt that the restaurant was quite a bit more formal than Black Cow, with very polite waitstaff calling you "ma'am" and so on. Interestingly, customers tended to dress quite casually - lots of hoodies and jeans.
|Crusty bread roll... included in the price! Hehe.|
|Butter and salt|
Here is my entrée - black lipped abalone with pickled cucumber. I'd never ordered abalone myself before, mainly because I don't like the idea of eating non-sustainable seafood. But I asked our waiter, and this abalone was farmed off the east coast of Tassie, near Hobart. Overall I found the dish a little sour, but the abalone itself was fresh and cooked perfectly.
|East Coast black lipped abalone - pickled cucumber, yellow rock sugar, iceberg lettuce and wakame crostoli. $32|
Sandra had a cheese soufflé to start. It was quite rich, so it was good that it came with a nice refreshing salad. Incidentally, all the different farms and stockists mentioned on the menu (Heidi Farms, 41° South, Yorktown Organics etc.), would probably be interesting places to visit for a daytrip.
|Heidi Farm Gruyere soufflé - chive sabayon, candied walnut and pear salad. $18|
|Rack of Clover Country lamb - 41° South ginseng spiced, baba ghanoush, glazed baby carrots and preserved lemon yoghurt. $39|
Sandra's main was something I think many Melbourne foodies would love - eye fillet with whipped jamón serrano butter and a crispy jamón serrano shard. It had a great mix of sweet (baby beets) and salty (jamon), but Sandra said it the smokiness of the jamón became a bit overpowering.
|Eye fillet of grass-fed Greenham Tasmania natural beef - textures of Yorktown Organics beets, whipped Jamón Serrano butter and Jamón Serrano shard. $39|
We only got one side - butter roasted Swiss brown mushrooms, with thyme and garlic chips. Juicy and tasty!
|Butter roasted swiss brown mushrooms, thyme & garlic chips. $7|
We got one dessert to share - this item isn't on the on-line menu, so I can't be entirely sure if my caption is exactly accurate - but it was a disc of sweet mousse, studded with tiny pieces of fresh truffle. On top of that was a quenelle of vanilla sago, some crunchy macadamias and a cruncy triangular tuille. I'm not entirely convinced it worked as a dessert though, as I found the truffle taste in the dessert very overpowering.
|White chocolate and truffle marquise - vanilla sago, caramelized macadamias, strawberry paint, fresh truffle. $18|
Even though we didn't order any coffee or tea, we got some complimentary petits fours - yay! The round truffles were chocolate-mints, and the biscuits were mini-shortbreads drizzled with chocolate. Just quietly, I liked these better than the truffle-infused dessert.
|Complimentary petits fours|
On our final morning in Launceston, we returned for breakfast. Stillwater have a good breakfast menu with a very strong focus on local produce - savoury french toast, vanilla poached fruits, muesli and a range of hot breakfasts.
Coffee was blindingly hot, but once it had cooled down to a drinkable temperature it was rich and satisfying.
|One tea, one latte|
|Pancakes, apple & cinnamon syrup and lemon mascarpone. $15|
I was a little more restrained, and had a very simple breakfast of toast, butter and jam. I must admit that the main reason I ordered this was because I wanted to try Ashgrove butter! We'd visited the Ashgrove cheese factory the day before, and I desperately wanted to try their creams, milks and butters, but they didn't do samples of them, and I couldn't really buy any of those things to bring home.
|Toast & jam toasted ciabatta, Ashgrove butter & house made jam. $7|
To help me discover Tasmania, Tourism Tasmania generously provided return flights and car hire for the trip. However, I selected all accommodation, tourist destinations and restaurants personally and visited as a paying customer.