The Gorge

We recently crossed another item off the bucket list with a wonderful lunch at The Gorge Restaurant in Launceston. Located in the Cliff Grounds at Cataract Gorge, the building was constructed in 1896 as a tearooms, replacing the white refreshments tent that previously served picnickers.

1.The Gorge Restaurant

In the early 1970s, the Gorge Restaurant opened, being the first licensed alfresco dining area in Australia.

2.The Gorge Restaurant

The Victorian style gardens were showing signs of spring.

2a.Cherry blossom

We opted to dine inside, the relaxing ambience was most welcoming.

3.The Gorge Restaurant4.The Gorge Restaurant

Our window seat afforded lovely views over the garden and tree tops.

5.the view6.rhododendrons7.the view

We settled in with a refreshing Clover Hill sparkling rosé from the Tamar Valley

8.Clover Hill Non Vintage Rosè

while nature provided the entertainment.

9.sparrow

The extensive wine list was narrowed down to a Frogmore Creek 2016 Riesling, sustainably grown in the Coal River Valley. It proved to be the perfect choice.

The friendly waiter was very patient while we decided on our meals, there was so much to choose from. We were very happy with the Crispy Spiced Quail, red cabbage & gin slaw, cauliflower puree and maple bacon,

12.Crispy Spiced Quail

Braised Beef Cheek, Paris mash, thyme roasted baby carrots & lager jus

13.Braised Beef Cheek

and Tasmanian Bush Pepper Calamari, chilli & lime rice vermicelli, coriander & rocket.

14.Tasmanian Bush Pepper Calamari

We savoured the wine while the chairlift glided past the window, sometimes with a passenger, sometimes uninhabited, before ordering dessert.

15.chairlift

My Deconstructed Pumpkin Pie, candied pecans, ginger crumb & spiced cream had to be seen to be believed.

We shared tastings of the Warm Chocolate & Hazelnut Brownie, white chocolate parfait & raspberry coulis

19.Warm Chocolate & Hazelnut Brownie

and the Coconut Lime Tart with rhubarb & blue curacao sauce.

20.Coconut Lime Tart

We walked off some of our decadence returning to the car park, pausing on the suspension bridge to take in the stunning landscape.

21.Cataract Gorge upstream22.Cataract Gorge lower basin

It was difficult to focus on this magnificent cormorant enjoying the sunshine, the bridge was swaying not me.

23.cormorant

The Samaya

Bali is a fascinating paradox but one thing we could always rely on was the food. We had many fabulous dining experiences, the surroundings equally as impressive as the menus. Breeze at The Samaya at Seminyak was one of the most memorable. The sun was already low when we arrived, the palm trees reflecting in the calm waters of the pool.

1.Samaya2.Samaya

Our party of eight had a very special table under our own canopy.

3.dinner setting

We had wonderful views of the beachside diners, the ocean and the gorgeous sunset.

4.Samaya5.Samaya

The food was beautifully presented, Michael started with his favourite sashimi and I opted to sample everything for the main course.

6.sashimi7.mixed plate

The resort is set in two hectares of tropical gardens, pools and villas inviting a state of ultimate relaxation. The setting of the sun certainly didn’t diminish the enchanting    ambience.

8.resort grounds9.resort grounds10.resort grounds

If we were ever to visit Bali again, it would be nice to stay at The Samaya or at least return and relive this lovely evening.

La Lucciola

If there is one thing you can rely on in Bali, it’s the fabulous food. Coupled with a stunning location, you have La Lucciola at Seminyak. After a stroll along the main street accompanied by the cacophony of traffic and populace, reaching La Lucciola was nirvana.

1.La Lucciola2.La Lucciola

Seated on the upstairs balcony, the gentle sea breeze mingled with that of the overhead fans and the tranquil view perfected the scene.

3.La Lucciola

The undrinkable water forced us to order cocktails instead, anything to quench the thirst.

The flower arrangements were quite spectacular, even in the bathrooms.

The meals disappeared too quickly for photographs but I caught a couple of the desserts.

After lunch, we walked onto the sands, soft and golden on this part of the island.

11.Seminyak Beach

Seminyak Beach comprises three adjoining coastal strips, the southernmost bordering Legian Beach.

12.Seminyak Beach

This little squirrel has certainly chosen a lovely spot to call home.

degustation decadence

One of our favourite restaurants in the whole world (no, I’m not exaggerating), is right here in Burnie. Each time we visit Bayviews, I peruse the menu closely and, for quite some time, have coveted the degustation menu. There is a choice of a 6 course or 9 course menu and the option with each to have matching wines. On a recent inclement Saturday, we indulged, with a friend, in a long, leisurely lunch. We opted for the 6 course menu, accompanied by a bottle of the wonderful Josef Chromy Pinot Gris 2016. As usual, the view was spectacular

1.Bass Strait

and the ambience restful.

2.inside restaurant

We started with lightly fried southern calamari seasoned with a blend of herbs, citrus zest, black pepper and coriander seeds and served with a romesco sauce and fresh mix of local herbs, bean shoots and roasted peanuts.

3.calamari

The pan roasted Rannoch Farm quail, from southern Tasmanian, was served with a light corn veloute, crispy chorizo and a celeriac and red radish remoulade (try saying that after a couple of wines).

4.quail

Sourced from Macquarie Harbour on the west coast of Tasmania, the Atlantic salmon was paired with a fragrant yellow curry and topped with cuttlefish from Northern Tasmania, thinly sliced and shallow fried.

5.salmon

We were surprised to see some intrepid souls braving the water in pursuit of the perfect wave.

6.surfers

We weren’t distracted for too long as the fourth course was served. Slowly poached for five hours in a stock of spices, fresh herbs and aromatic vegetables, the chicken was incredibly tender. Sliced and served in the poaching broth and finished with a fragrant herb and pickled daikon salad, the flavours were exquisite.

7.chicken

The tamarillo sorbet palate cleanser was a lovely shade of pink.

8.tamarillo sorbet

The main course of the degustation is usually slow cooked Tasmanian midlands venison shoulder. The shoulder was unavailable, instead we had venison backstrap cooked medium, served with braised red cabbage, smoked plums, white onion puree and water chestnuts.

9.venison

Outside, the clouds had dispersed and the surfers were still keen in their pursuit.

10.beach

Inside, we had made it to dessert. Peanut praline semi freddo consisting of a light sabayon base combined with a caramel and peanut flavoured cream, served with a light chocolate mousse on coffee soil.

11.dessert

Our lovely friend summed it up beautifully…. “It’s like eating poetry”.

Hallam’s Waterfront

We recently had cause to travel to Launceston and so, seized the opportunity to meet friends for lunch. They suggested Hallam’s Waterfront and we weren’t disappointed.

1.Hallam's Waterfront

Established in 1996, this award-winning seafood restaurant sources only the highest quality, line caught sustainable fresh seafood from the pristine waters around Tasmania.

2.Hallam's Waterfront

There is a peaceful ambience,

complemented by an assortment of nautical-themed artefacts.

The views over the Tamar yacht basin are beautiful.

10.Tamar basin11.Tamar basin12.dry dock

The extensive menu offered plenty of scope to share and compare. Entrée of tea smoked spareribs with ginger & soy glaze;

13.tea smoked spareribs with ginger & soy glaze

tempura prawns with sweet chilli

14.tempura prawns with sweet chilli

and oysters Kilpatrick (I wasn’t quick enough – I missed one).

15.oysters kilpatrick

Main course of grilled harissa southern calamari & banana prawns with rustic guacamole, grilled summer vegetables, coriander & paprika oil;

16.grilled harissa southern calamari & banana prawns with rustic guacamole, grilled summer vegetables, coriander & paprika oil

Cape Grim porterhouse with potato galette, Yorktown organic leaves, goat cheese, pine nuts & sticky balsamic with green peppercorn jus;

17.Cape Grim porterhouse with potato galette, yorktown organic leaves, goat cheese, pine nuts + sticky balsamic with green peppercorn jus copy

tempura market fish & chips, green salad with lemon & garlic dressing;

18.tempura market fish & chips, green salad with lemon & garlic dressing

and yellow curry with white fish & mussels were all stunningly delectable.

19.yellow curry with white fish & mussels

Of course, we managed to find room for dessert, I was very happy with my vanilla bean crème brûlée with lavender sugar, pistachio cake & rosewater syrup.

20.vanilla bean crème brûlée with lavender sugar, pistachio cake & rosewater syrup

The lemon & lime curd, tamarind chantilly, five spice coconut crumble & smashed raspberry meringue was a colourful offering;

21.lemon & lime curd, tamarind chantilly, five spice coconut crumble, smashed raspberry meringue

while basil panna cotta, white peach foam, quinoa crisp & fresh berries was a little more subtle.

22.basil panna cotta, white peach foam, quinoa crisp & fresh berries

We lingered outside long enough to admire the gorgeous surroundings

23.Tamar basin24.Tamar basin

before heading back to the northwest. We will certainly return to Hallam’s Waterfront.

25.Tamar River