It’s exactly a week since I came back from Penang.
Since I came back, I have been busy learning to use my new iPad 2 and downloading interesting apps. I was one of the 100 lucky ones in Penang, queuing up for 4 hours, and got hold of the second last white 64 gigabyte wifi + 3G. A proud owner of the world most popular tablet. Hooray!
But after using my new iPad for a week, I still need my MacBook. Kind of disappointing after spending that much money. It is still easier to use a keyboard to type – faster in speed. The other limitation using the new iPad is that it does not support Adobe Flash Player so not able to play You Tube link posted by friends in Facebook or Twitter. It is not easy to write a new post in my blog. The letters typed in the text box does not display on the screen! Crazy! Thus, revert to my MacBook to write this post.
By the way, Happy belated Mother’s Day to all mothers. Hope you had a wonderful time with your family yesterday. We went to view some new art exhibition at the Long Gallery in Salamanca Place, and had a late lunch at Chooch – a pizza and salad to share. It was bloody cold – the weather.
But, what I want to share with you was our Saturday lunch at The Meadowbank Estate – a beautiful vineyard in Cambridge, a short 10 minutes drive east of Hobart, or 5 minutes from the Hobart Airport. Many times, we talked about trying the food there. But never made it. In the past 7 years, I believed there has been a couple of changes in the kitchen – the Head Chef. Now, it is headed by Chef Wayne Smith. I don’t know much about him and tried google search for his culinary background. There was little on him, except that he was previously at Margot, St Helen. It was not a bad day, cold but at least it was not wet or windy. There was a brief break of sunshine.
Meadowbank is at a gateway to the beautiful Coal River Valley, which holds Tasmania’s highest concentration of vineyards and cellar doors. It is located on Richmond Road, a nice tourist route to the historical township of Richmond – one of my favourite little town in Tasmania. It is a must for any tourist visiting Tasmania to stopover for a light lunch in Richmond and wine tasting in the region. The town is small for an easy, relax and casual stroll, taking in the sights of wonderful colonial buildings, churches, bridge, shops and ducks along the river.
When we first arrived at the entrance of The Meadowbank Estate, our breath was swept away by the expensive wide view of the valley, the vineyards, the rolling hills, the river and…. a distant giant satellite. I did not mind the giant satellite that much – kind of blend nicely as a white sculpture among the green fields and rolling hills.
The building itself is interesting – lots of timber with an open concept and very high cathedral style ceiling. There is a long middle hallway dividing the wine cellar door on the right and a providore on the left selling local produces, cooking books and some kitchen essentials. The hallway leads to the heart of the restaurant dining room with vast glass walls from floor to ceiling taking in the stunning views of the outside, and letting the lights through. There tables are quite spread out with ample space.
A view of the restaurant dining room from above
It was not too busy and we managed to get a table for two without a reservation. But, we had to wait between 5 – 10 minutes for the waiter to set the table. That was fine with us, so we can try some wine at the Cellar Door and browse an art exhibition in one of the room upstairs. However, I would strongly recommend to book a table if you are going there. We took our chances as we were being spontaneous at the time of going out and deciding on where to eat. It was a last moment decision to go out.
The view has all the right ticks from us. Now, the food. The menu looks interesting especially the main dishes – all meat and one seafood dish. They sound rich, strong and gamey. My partner joked with the waiter and said that, “you wouldn’t want to be a vegetarian”. Luckily we are not a vegan. But, the waiter assure us that the Chef can make something vegetarian if we are a vegan.
We ordered a duck pie and whole whiting for entree, and a lamb and hare for main.
The duck pie was served on a bed of spinach and shiitake mushrooms. An excellent pie dish – packed with flavour, meaty, tender and juicy. Love the pastry – light, soft and fluffy. When my knife sliced through the top of the pie, there was a light soft crunch of the pastry falling apart revealing the chunky shredded duck meats with thick gravy. The smell of the duck oozing out the pastry casing filled my nose. It was very good. Later we found out from the waiter that this was the most popular entree.
The dish itself looked stunning – amazing colour, the contrast of the bright yellowy lemon sauce with capers and bright greens of chopped parsley against a lightly charred white fish . I could see and hear the huge flame in the kitchen when the fish was charred on the grill within seconds. They were perfectly cooked. The flesh was light, moist and sweet with a nice lightly charred flavour on the skin. The lemony sauce added a lot more flavour to the fish – sourish and salty with the capers. It was a nice and light entree to be followed by a heavy main dish.
A heavy main dish. Two different flavours, textures and techniques in cooking. The lamb rump was cooked perfectly with the inside still moist and pink. It was a bit milder in flavour unlike the braised shoulder, which had a stronger flavour and a bit more crustiness in the meat. I love them both. They were served with onion puree, garlic and rosemary jus. It was a rich and gamey dish, but not as gamey as the one chosen by my partner – roast hare.
This was a very gamey dish – very strong in flavour and the hare was very raw. We were not used to such a gamey dish, but it tasted alright. I was glad this was not my dish, but my partner. He managed to finish the plate. I helped with a few bites of the hare. Too raw for my liking. The sauce was very strong in flavour as well. I guess this would be a very traditional winter and hearty European style country dish.
Next, I had to sample one of the dessert and chosen a layered confit strawberries, lemon curd sandwiched by two french style crisp cookies “sable breton” topped with a scoop of rhubarb ice cream. $16. A wonderful dessert to finish up my 3 course lunch. The rhubarb ice cream was made in heaven. I am not a rhubarb fan, but this ice cream has changed my feeling towards rhubarb.
The Meadowbank Estate is a wonderful experience – a destination by itself worthy of a revisit again and again.