Sunday, October 31, 2010

Stillwater, Launceston


Stillwater
Ricthie's Mill
2 Bridge Rd
Launceston, TAS 7250
(03) 6331-4153
Website

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
I was in the mood for lamb, and absolutely loved my main course!  A rare lamb rack, sliced into individual chops, and prettily arranged on top of small salad leaves, sweet and tender carrots, and smoky baba ghanoush.  If we hadn't been in a public I would have picked up each of the little bones and gnawed the last bits of the meat off.  Delicious!
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
Around the back of the marquise was a thin shaving of fresh black truffle.  Fascinating, as I'd never actually seen fresh black truffle before. I picked it up and couldn't stop smelling it - there were so many aromas in there - garlic, leather, mushroom and a zillion more I couldn't identify.

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
Sandra had a decadent breakfast of pancakes with apple and cinnamon syrup and lemon mascarpone.  I had one mouthful - delicious! - but it was extremely rich, and she only managed to eat one of the pancakes.
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
The butter was very pale, almost like a whipped butter.  Combined with the crusty ciabatta and chunky house-made berry jam, it was a fabulous little breakfast!


Stillwater on Urbanspoon

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.

6 comments:

almostalwaysravenous said...

i see you've enjoyed yourself thoroughly in tassie =). with loads of awesome food...envious

Adrian in Food Rehab said...

oh dayem! I like the look of the lamb and those pancakes do look awesome.

Can't wait to hear about your Tassie trip. Which reminds me - check your email about a catch up! :)

Jane B said...

The dinner looked delicious, but it was those breakfast dishes which sold me...those pancakes sound divine, and I can't resist good butter and jam. When we visit Launceston again we'll definitely pay a visit. Oh, and the hoodies in a formal restaurant made me laugh...Launceston is a casual sort of a town :)

catty said...

So this may come as a surprise (or not) but I was born in good old Tassie. I only have one head though. ANYWAY, we left when I was 2 so I remember nothing and would LOVE to return to discover it again some day!

Pingu said...

All this food and wonderful restaurants is making me hungry! Over here (Blighty) we've got a double spoil on - Nigella's new book and accompanying series - totally agree with you that her recipes and writing are better than her television presence, also, we are being treated DAILY to Jamie Oliver's 30 minute meals - cheating, kind of, but still putting together PROPER food (only using the microwave to zap potatoes with half a lemon etc.) OMG he made the most delicious curry, comfort food chicken pie from scratch etc. , all literally in real time, "YOU'VE GOT TO GET YOUR THIRTY MINUTE HEAD ON!" He tells us at the beginning of each episode, but it is seriously impressive to see what he can turn out in 30 mins, with just a few cheeky cheats, but, with no ready meals in sight!

Celeste @ Berrytravels said...

Gosh, this place looks fab! I must go and try it out the next time I'm in tassie. And here I thought there was nothing good to eat in Launceston!