Brace yourselves. 72 hours of gluttony in Launceston isn’t for the faint hearted. It requires stamina, dedication and an insatiable appetite. So get ready to tackle these Launceston restaurants. On your marks, get set, eat!
Day 1 – paddock to plate
Dinner: Delve right into a degustation at PX (formerly PX Tapas Wine) for a decadent foray into the Basque region showcasing owner Damon Wecker’s paddock to plate philosophy.
Depending on the day’s creations you could be ruined forever with the smoked duck breast frolicking with the garlic mousse, pickled blueberries, pear and crushed hazelnuts, or the pressed lamb with braised lentils or chocolate brulee served with a Pedro Ximenez; at which point it might dawn on you what the PX stands for.
Day 2 – Launceston restaurants
Breakfast: Elaia Café was one of the first cafes to open 18 years ago on the elegant end of Charles Street. The epitome of casual dining as you gorge on bacon and maple syrup pancakes or a mega omelette with smoked salmon served all day, if you so desire.
Lunch: Start your feast of Asian meets Australian cuisine at the Mud Bar and Restaurant with the signature Mudbar arancini followed by salmon rubbed in ginger or a dozen oysters dressed to thrill and washed down with a Pipers River NV Clover Hill.
Then prop yourself up on the deck with views over the North Esk River or at the cocktail bar if the forecast is chilly.
At some point you might take in some of that fresh air, deemed the cleanest in the world, with a wander along the boardwalk or maybe you’ve already befriended a yachty; given how proud the locals are about their city, this isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds.
Dinner and drinks: By now you’ve probably already worked out Launceston is easy to navigate on foot, so it’s only fitting to partake in the latest in nomadic dining.
Start at the food vans on the corner of High and Arthur Streets and line your stomach at Wanderlust, Burger Junkie or Tacos de Pancho.
Consult with the social media gods for details but if you do miss the vans, Eats with Beats is often parked behind Saint John Craft Beer Bar and while here, it’s only polite to sample their famous brews.
If you do pry yourself off the bar stool, there’s no shortage of drinking holes like the Dickens Ciderhouse, Royal Oak, Bakers Lane and the new rooftop bar at Plough Inn.
Day 3 – hangover cures
Breakfast: There’s plenty of hangover cures at the Harvest Markets in the Cimitiere Street carpark teeming with fresh seasonal produce and preserves, olives, honey, hazelnuts (which are currently featuring on many a restaurant’s menu), wines, ciders, just to name a few.
Perhaps you’ll sample 2014 My Kitchen Rules contestants Thalia and Bianca’s famed chicken liver pate at their T&B Stall.
Lunch: Overlooking the Tamar Yacht Basin, Hallam’s Waterfront serves some of the finest seafood in the region.
This second generation family restaurant uses subtle Asian flavours like lemongrass and coconut teemed with the state’s famed seafood like Blue Eye Trevalla, Spring Bay Mussels, Southern Rock Lobster and freshly shucked Tasmanian Pacific Oysters all deliciously paired with Tasmanian wines.
Dinner: Saturday nights at Stillwater are always special and a fitting finale for your last night in Launceston.
Situated in the historic Ritchie’s Mill at the mouth of the Cataract Gorge and on the banks of the Tamar River, the main dining room dressed in Oregon timber beams and Kauri pine floors oozes the kind of warmth Stillwater is renowned for.
Serving the some of the country’s finest fare, truffles have just made an appearance on the menu and if it was me, I’d leave yourself in the Executive Chef Craig Will’s hands with a tasting menu sure to highlight the best of the season.
Day 4 – Josef Chromy and more
Breakfast: Time to pack into your suitcase all those goodies you’ve collected on your gourmet gallivants to outlets like the Mill Providore (upstairs of Stillwater), Pinot Shop, Wursthaus Launceston and Alps & Amici.
Whip up a breakfast platter compliments of your accommodation hosts Jack and Rebecca Birell before packing the car and hitting the Tamar Valley.
Lunch: Follow the markers of The River, Relbia or Pipers River routes. After sampling some of the best wines in the country, head south to the iconic Josef Chromy winery.
Josef has been instrumental in the development of the wine industry in Tasmania after fleeing the Czech Republic in the 1950’s; you might even spot the man himself tending to his vines.
The restaurant is sure to leave a lasting impression with picturesque views and tasty creations like Osaka Street Food featuring a dashi pancake, quail, red cabbage and salted plum or the hearty slow cooked pork shoulder all wonderfully matched with Josef Chromy’s premium wines.
Farewell: With a heavy heart, and tummy, it’s time to head to the airport just a few minutes away…unless you’ve had the foresight to linger in the valley and beyond.
Carmen Jenner was a guest of Tourism Tasmania
Fly: Qantas flies direct into Launceston from Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney
More gluttony: Brisbane Street Bistro, Black Cow, The Northern Club and Pierre’s.