The Lost Captain
by Stephanie Williams
There’s a list running in our heads of the perfect venue to take visitors or for a fun lunch out with friends – it needs to be within a half hour or so drive of Hobart, boast a nice outdoor area where kids can get away from the table and entertain themselves, good food and great (Tassie-centric) drinks list, and a kids menu. Read on, we think we may have just found it.
Back in December, the Lost Captain opened in Huonville (35 minute drive…tick!) on the banks of the Huon River. Eagle eyes might remember it as Huon Manor. The drive down from Hobart through the Huon Valley is so pretty with lots to explore along the way – wineries, Willie Smiths, Ranelagh and the Longley side of kunanyi/Mt Wellington if you want to detour. But our course, this day, was set for Huonville.
It was a gorgeous sunny day so we booked a table outside, although the inside areas were beautifully decked out with a few nooks and crannies to explore and sit. The huge garden had cute picnic tables for kids and low tables and chairs for sinking into with a drink or two.
We got started with a Small Fry riesling ($12 a glass) and checked out the menu. The menu is currently light and summery – salads, platters, burgers and baguettes. The kind of food that pairs well with a lovely glass of something cold, best enjoyed in the sun. The dinner menu branches out into small, medium and share plates, including crowd pleasers like lamb shoulder and suckling pig (which takes ten hours, so best call ahead on that one!). There are pub favourites such as a parmi ($30), but with smoked tomato, speck and gruyère cheese, it sounds like it’s had a delicious upgrade. The kids menu features spruced up favourites such chicken and chips and mac and cheese.
I ordered the crayfish po boy ($28) which comes in a sweet milk bun generously filled with crayfish remoulade, lettuce and a side of chips. The spicy aioli was a standout, making for a delicious start. Other dishes at our table included the smoked trout caesar salad ($28), duck fat potatoes ($10) and a ploughman’s lunch ($28) with terrine, ham, piccalilli, cheese, sourdough, smoked eel and even a little gazpacho. The kids chicken and chips ($15) was a small serve for our hungry eight year old, but nothing a second serve didn’t fix! I think next time we’d just order him something from the regular menu instead. The kids mac and cheese ($15) was well received, and the remainder polished off by Dad.
The staff, who would have been only a few weeks into the gig at the time, were friendly and professional. Our table was needed just as we were thinking about stretching our legs, but not quite ready to skull our drinks, and our waiter suggested we retire to one of the mats on the grass, which we did happily.
On the return leg back to Hobart, we stopped at Summer Kitchen in Ranelagh for a coffee and sweet treat, a perfect full stop to a pleasant lunch outing. Time your visit for a day when the Franklin Market is on, and explore even further down the Huon.
MONTHLY MUST TRY
Hainanese Chicken Rice, Bumi Cafe
You may not have noticed Bumi Cafe (71 Bathurst Street, Hobart). It sits inside the waiting room of Your Hobart Doctor, in the same building as the Red Cross Blood Donation Centre. Billed as a Tasmanian based Indonesian cafe, the menu spans both southeast Asian classics, but I’m here to try the Chicken Rice ($15). I’d last had the dish in Singapore, so a highish bar was set. The Hainanese Chicken rice with poached chicken thighs, fragrant rice, shiso cucumber pickles and housemade ginger chilli sambal was served with moorish aromatic chicken broth. It was clean, satisfying and a delicious city lunch option.