The Source Restaurant and MONA Pavilions

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Tasmania is the land of milk and honey, producing some of the best wine and food in Australia. Cut off from the mainland it’s often been the butt of jokes about its parochiality, but really the joke’s on us. If Bacchus were alive today, he’d head straight for The Source Restaurant.

Tetsuya Wakuda is a huge fan of Tasmania and a has a well-documented appreciation of Tasmania’s produce, particularly it’s seafood.

His signature dish, Confit of Petuna Ocean Trout, draws gourmet travellers from around the world to his Sydney restaurant.

In fact, this celebrated chef was once in negotiations to open a restaurant at Moorilla Estate.

mona tasmania
The Source Mona. Photo credit: Brett Boardman

There aren’t enough superlatives for the food and wine – the cheeses, the seafood, the agricultural produce and the wine.

Critics are singing Tasmania’s praises in choir-like uniformity and the last laugh may well be on Tasmania.

Moorilla Estate

hobart to launceston
Moorilla Estate. Photo credit: Brett Boardman

Moorilla has been at the vanguard of the Tasmanian wine industry for more than five decades.


It was established in 1958 by Claudio Alcorso, an Italian textile merchant.

His vision was for Moorilla to become a place where new world aesthetics were imbued with old world values.

That pretty much sums up not only Moorilla but all the new and exciting happenings and things to do in Tasmania these days.

With magnificent views, fabulous wines, unique artisan beers and inspired food, lunching at The Source Restaurant is the complete iconic Tasmanian experience and a Hobart attraction.

Whether seated inside or on the waterside deck, the views from the restaurant over the river, the vineyard and the adjoining micro-brewery and winery are stunning.

Set into the ceiling directly above the central staircase is John Olsen’s six-metre painting, The Source.

The Source Restaurant
The Source Mona. Photos: Supplied

There is a synergy between art, food, wine and beer here.

After all, Moorilla Estate also houses Mona museum, which is not just an amazing Hobart museum but also one of the world’s most exciting art galleries.

The Source

Rather than following a traditional structure, The Source’s menu encourages the diner to graze outside the traditional three-course structure.

Executive Chef, Phillipe Leban, has worked in a few three-Michelin-star restaurants, including Alain Passard’s L’Arpège, Pascal Barbot’s L’Astrance and Hôtel Plaza Athénée.

He was sous chef to Guillaume Brahimi in Sydney and head chef at Hamilton House on Shanghai’s Bund, listed by Conde Nast Traveler’s 100 Hot List Tables of worldwide restaurants, 2008. In 2009 he received the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences Five Star Diamond Award as one of Asia’s best chefs.

The Moorilla Winery produces refined cool climate wines.

Fruit for these wines is grown in Moorilla’s Tamar and Derwent Valley vineyards.

The Moorilla Muse wine labels with their writhing bodies and links to Dionysus and Bacchus are certainly different and memorable like everything else about Moorilla.

They are also obvious reference elements from art themes of sex and death within the MONA collection.

mona tasmania restaurant
Photos: Supplied

Moo Brew

But Moorilla is equally well known for its Moo Brew, something the owner of the estate, David Walsh, established after taking over the winery.

“Our beers will confront consumers of bogan beverages”, he says, “ but we will welcome to the fold the many converts who embrace the bottled passion.”

Max Allen describes it as “one of the most amazingly intense beers you’ll ever taste” (Gourmet Traveller, January 2010)

Moo Brew continues the link between art and the wine and food with the distinctive award-winning Moo Brew label designs displaying the works of Australian artist, John Kelly.

MONA from the River
MONA from the River. Image courtesy MONA

Moo Brew produces four unique beers under the distinctive Moo Brew label: a Pale Ale; a Dark Ale; Hefeweizen, a German-style cloudy wheat beer; an Imperial Stout and a Pilsner.

These beers are available on tap in selected establishments and in bottles, shipped cold because Moo Brew contains no preservatives and is not pasteurised.

Moorilla is close to being a total experience. You can spend the night in one of the eight pavilions featuring artwork from the MONA collection, eat at The Source, try Moorilla’s cool climate wines and beers at the cellar door, and attend the gallery or one of the many live cultural events. Or just take a walk through the estate and soak up the rarified atmosphere. Absorb the chaos, the stillness and the culture.

Furnished by leading local and international designers, the MONA Pavilions all feature ancient and contemporary art.

Contemporary, state of the art structures, each pavilion has its own distinct character and is named after a famous Australian artist or architect: Roy (Grounds), Robin (Boyd), Esmond (Dorney), Walter (Burley Griffin) and the original four pavilions: Arthur (Boyd), Brett (Whiteley), Charles (Blackman) and Sidney (Nolan).

All have a fully equipped kitchen and laundry, an individual wine fridge and wireless touch panels for lighting, temperature, information and audiovisual control. All have access to the heated infinity lap pool, sauna and gymnasium.

Each features an original painting by the artist after whom it is named, an antiquity and a collection of ancient coins.

Just to be perverse they also feature video art from artists like Tamy Ben-Tor, an American performance artist who pokes fun at “stupid rich people who buy art”.

Plan Your Trip

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Karen Halabi
Never happier than when I’m on the move, I love to seek out beautiful places wherever I am on the planet. A freelance travel writer, I’ve written for numerous magazines, newspapers and in flights, including Silver Kris, Etihad and Emirates in flights, World magazine, Get Up and Go and others. A luxe kinda gal, I prefer to travel in style and am currently editor-in-chief of the online luxury travel advisory,’ve been a journalist, an editor, written for Tourism Australia and handled the PR for Emirates but, after a career in hard news reporting on Australian newspapers, I moved to editing magazines and, more recently, freelancing.