Tasmania has always been a bit 'hit and miss' at times with its dining. Some places maintain high standards, while others offer exception one time, and dismal the next.
The Stanley Hotel has always been the former. If fact, every time we go there, a subtle improvement seems to have occurred, bringing the food ever so higher in quality.
Remembering that this is just a pub, and that all of the food includes many of the Australian pub standard's. The ubiquitous chicken parmi, scotch fillet or fish and chips, the Stanley Hotel has always excelled in making the standard pub fare just a little bit better. Everything is locally sourced and exceptional in quality. For the uninitiated, Tasmania has (arguably) some of the freshest and finest produce in the world, and the north-west especially so.
Today was no exception. As a spur of the moment trip away from home, we ventured forth on a blustery August day with anticipation.
Our entree was to share the bread of the day, a crusty cob loaf with melted cheese and a Tamar valley black truffle and mushroom salsa. I've always found truffle a little problematic. It's too often overused and can easily overwhelm the flavour. Not so today. This bread was delicious with the subtle flavour of the mushrooms not overpowered by either the truffle or the cheese. I could have gorged myself on this alone.
My partner, being a vegetarian, did not have a huge choice of items to choose from, but still had difficulty choosing. In the end, the soup of the day won out. Cream of parsnip. The taste she provided me was delicate and delicious. Parsnip is a difficult vegetable to work with. It can be too woody or fibrous and the flavour can be overwhelming, but this, this was a work of art. Kudos to the chef on that one.
I, being the carnivore, was spoiled for choice. In the end though, I went for one of the standards, Fish and chips with salad and a house tartare. The fish was Flake, an Australian standard (School shark), caught fresh and locally from Bass Strait. Battered and cooked to perfection, the delicate flavour not overpowered by the tartare. Together with the chips and salad with its light vinaigrette, it was a hearty winter lunch.
Alas, I wish I had room for the Frangelico creme brulee. But no desert for me.
I would also like to pay special consideration to the excellent and professional staff, especially our waitress. Kind, courteous and genuinely friendly, we didn't catch your name but you made this just that little bit better.
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