WHILE Melburnians boast they can be out of town and on a vineyard in an hour, urban Tasmanians can leave the office and be at lunch overlooking the vines in 15 minutes. Things operate to a different scale of distance and time in Tasmania, and it’s enviable. The same might be said of restaurant prices.
I’m sitting at a sun-drenched table looking out to the Tamar, 15 minutes from Launceston, with a mate recently retired from the restaurant business who says two important things. First, that lunch at Daniel Alps is one of his best in months (and this guy eats); I can’t help but agree. Second, that there is simply no way he could have put food of this quality on a plate in Melbourne – at these prices – and turn a profit. It’s a moot point, because this is very much Tamar food. Alps does what any chef in a place like this should do, and that’s cook with produce from within as close a radius of his vineyard restaurant as possible.
A daily changing menu using seasonal local produce, organic in many cases… sounds like spin. Alps just happens to back it up. His food is not “look at me” stuff but reflects what his winemaker colleagues call terroir – that sense of place. Fish, game, meats, fruit and veg from this lovely valley. Wine food; honest food.
It’s typical of what to expect here: classic skills and techniques deployed in a light, informal manner, free of pretence and largely unaffected by trends toward textural nonsense. Quite the best I’ve eaten in Tasmania, actually. So far, anyway.
The TT celebration: HERE