Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Launceston, Tasmania - The Northern Club

We're in Launceston this weekend for my 25th Anniversary High School Reunion.
I know. Do any other three words in the English language evoke as much dread and angst as HIGH SCHOOL REUNION?

I've bribed Mark to come along with me promising him great Tamar Valley wines and fresh organic Tassy ingredients.

We've booked in for three nights at Peppers Seaport resort on Launceston's North Esk River. Our one-bedroom apartment is modern, spacious and very comfortable. Highly recommend it. Peppers is part of a new marina development consisting of riverside penthouses, bars and restaurants.
But, as I soon discover, it's about the only thing that has significantly changed in Launceston since my childhood.
We've flown in on an icy Friday night at 9pm but there are no restaurant kitchens still open! The concierge does a ring around and finds a restaurant willing to take us in.

Launceston's city centre is desolate. The only sign of life outside The Northern Club on Cameron St are three inebriated lads.
We are led into the Northern Club's dining room.
It's like stumbling into an Edith Wharton novel. We are greeted by a large crackling open fire, high ceilings with intricate plaster mouldings, potted palms and a deep red painted feature wall. There is a raucous table of local winemakers finishing off their dessert wines. We are seated next to a table of three 40-something women gossiping about their blokes. Tassie men don't get a good wrap.

Because it's late we order something light - some warmed cobb bread with a tsadziki sauce, St Helen's oysters - natural and kilpatrick - and some smokey salt and pepper squid....

... all washed down with a Tamar Ridge chardonnay.

The house-made bread was delicious and well-textured.

The St Helens oysters were magnificent - fresh and full of briny seawater.

 The kilpatrick oysters were served with a tangy worcestershire sauce and smokey lardons of local bacon.

    The salt and pepper squid was melt-in-the-mouth tender with a lovely light spicy crust and a sauvignon blanc dressing.

We didn't sample a broad range of dishes but if the quality of fresh produce, the deft touch shown by the kitchen and the warm engaging floor staff is any indication, The Northern Club should be a compulsory stop for you the next time you're Launceston way.

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1 comment:

  1. I worked in Launceston for a year way back in 1978, and I remember the crispy cold mornings around this time of year. There wasn't a lot of salt and pepper squid around back then, but the first vines had been planted on the wastern shore of the Tamar, and a lovely couple from France had set up a traditional French-style bakery at Lilydale. These were the first glimmerings of the lovely, delicious time you're having now. Hope you have fun.