Tasmanians stretch and arch out of our winter. Initially with trepidation, ‘There’ll be more snow to come mark my word!’ But this is quickly replaced with t-shirts and a relief that comes with longer days and vitamin D.
On a warm spring Sunday you might be preoccupied with the need to get outside and do chores.
There’s compost to turn, garden beds to prepare, lawns to mow, and in our home, a greenhouse to finish building and seedlings to sow.
On a day like Father’s Day, it’s worth taking some time and marking the occasion, so went for a drive in the country and found ourselves at Home Hill Winery and Restaurant, Ranelegh.
The restaurant is housed in a stunning rammed earth building with polished cement floors and floor to ceiling windows looking out over the vineyard, up to the home hill and a landslide that is the namesake of one of their Pinot Noirs.
It is very la-di-da, Sunday-lunch-in-the-country popular and today it was particularly busy. We chose a late seating and a full restaurant.
Restaurant service is a big deal. If you like to cook, service is one of major component to dining out. There’s also not having to wash up and the opportunity to eat things you wouldn’t or couldn’t cook, but having someone look after you is part of the experience you pay for.
This Girl rarely expresses a table preference but I’d planned lunch weeks ago when they only had a handful of bookings. Being shown to the table closest to the clanking of the kitchen and the service doorway didn’t bode well.
We were quickly moved to a better position however (the other guests were late and their time had run out) but were then left to get thirsty.
After some time and a calculation, Lovely Deputy who knows how seriously I take food and service asked, ‘They’ve got about 60 seconds left don’t they?’
When all else fails I recommend turning to the drink, so we took ourselves off to the cellar door for tastings where all was rectified. Here we got excellent advice on matching our meals with wines and insight into Home Hill’s award winning Pinot Noirs.
Home Hill may have a few hiccups in their systems but once we found our table attendant, the service was professional and competent, and didn’t miss another beat.
Overall we enjoyed the meals although Lovely tells me I might have made the best choices today.
What we ate:
Six Bruny Island oysters, natural with salmon roe and pickled seaweed .
Goats cheese tart, caramelised onion, lemon oil, micro salad.
Ocean trout, snow peas, skordalia potato, preserved lemon tapenade .
Five spice duck breast, cherry puree, steamed asparagus, buttered rice.
Side of chippies (of course).
Apple tarte tatin, truffled honey, cinnamon ice cream.
Chocolate fondant, salted caramel, peanut butter ice cream .
Lovely was taken with the oysters and enjoyed the texture of the wakame, although the trout was a little over done. The cinnamon icecream took the tarte tartin to new heights.
The goats cheese tart was prepared as an individual serve, a delicious pastry filled with creamy cheese and complemented by the sweet onions and citrus. The duck breast was the winning plate, star anise, cinnamon, cherry and duck is a glorious combination.
My grandma was an old fashion country cook and she introduced the family to the American tradition of peanut butter and chocolate in a bonbon that was made at Christmas time. Home Hill bring those ingredients together with a little caramel sauce to really set things off and it’s a knock out. I’m not saying I actually licked the plate clean, but there was a lot of flinching at adjacent tables as a I dragged my spoon over that crockery to get every last particle of deliciousness off the plate.
Pricing is simple: entrees are $19.50, mains $35, sides $8 and desserts are $14.50.
Here’s tips on Home Hill:
Seating matters, book a table close to the windows if you can and confirm.
Go early and avoid the rush.
Make sure you save room for dessert.
Find them at 38 Nairn Street, Ranelagh.
Ring them on 6264 1200.
They’re open for lunch Monday to Sunday, 12.00 noon – 3.00 pm, for dinner, Fridays and Saturdays, 6pm – late, and seven days for morning and afternoon tea and coffee.
Find out more about Home Hill including their menu here.
The last time the two girls took luncheon at a vineyard was at Stephano Lubiana’s Osteria.
Another great place to eat in the Huon Valley, Lotus Eaters Café.
The last time we got a side of chippes, the Raincheck Lounge.
The last time This Girl chose duck, the Signal Station Brassiere.