Blue Shed Restaurant; anomaly, enigma and a tarp for the unwitting.
We were in St Helens, remote gateway to the Bay of Fires and holiday mecca for tourists, retirees and sun-starved Hobartians. None of which instilled much confidence in our quest for a good feed!
After our recent experience at the Bangor Wine and Oyster Shed you’d think I’d have learnt the lesson; just because it has ‘shed’ in the title doesn’t mean it’s going to be a run down skid mark on the face of Tasmanian dining!
Located on the St Helens waterfront, awkwardly sandwiched between the ever-popular boat ramp and a kitsch paddle boat selling deep fried nuggets of starch, Blue Shed provides a welcome alternative to the discerning diner.
Befitting their small beginnings and history as a fish punt, Blue Shed is all about the fruits of the sea. Whether it be live crayfish, crispy squid or just a good old fish and chips, you can rest assured it will be some of the freshest seafood to be found anywhere in Australia.
After my recent fishing adventures off the Tasman Peninsula I had a hankering for flathead, while for Karen it was a grilled tuna steak with nicoise salad.
Consider the flameproof suit donned, and my loins firmly girded, because I’m stepping into the fray…
This is by far the best seafood we have had anywhere in Tasmania. Big call, small town, but it’s the truth.
Mures – overpriced tourist pap
Drunken Admiral – great chowder, but the rest of the overpriced menu didn’t wow me
Prossers on the Beach – a quality establishment (particularly for a lazy Sunday lunch), but, to me anyway, seemingly one step removed from the source of their produce (their advertising ethics also leave a lot to be desired)
Flathead Cafe – probably the best casual setting for seafood in Hobart
Mako Fresh Fish – not bad, but I expected better considering the quality of their seafood (they do a mean Thai salad though!!)
Fish Punts at the Sullivan’s Cove wharves – good for a quick feed, but no TLC (one venue in particular I will never return to after finding a used bandaid amongst my chips)
No, Blue Shed are the real deal, offering the complete package. Supreme quality in their fish, a sublime batter that locked in the moisture and yet retained it’s delicate crunch, extremely generous portion size and cooked to perfection. We couldn’t fault Karen’s tuna steak either, with the char subtly permeating every tender mouthful. And how about that view?! It was an absolute pleasure to spend an hour chatting, sipping on a cool Tasmanian white, and taking in the maritime comings-and-going across the still waters of Georges Bay.
After such a fantastic main meal, we had to try a dessert, with the trio of icecreams/sorbets sounding very appealing.
What a choice…I could have ploughed my way through buckets of that dark chocolate sorbet!! The perfect end to a perfect meal.
Blue Shed Restaurant is not your average small town seafood option. These guys offer fine dining and the prices match the experience (entrees are in the high teens, mains in the high 20s and dessert in the low teens). We saw one group dressed in tank tops and thongs seat themselves, only to review the menu and promptly walk out again…their loss.
If it’s cheap and cheerful you’re after, then again Blue Shed have got you covered with their takeaway outlet, ‘The Captain’s Catch’, right next door. We didn’t try their food, but if the restaurant is anything to go by you won’t be disappointed!
Another aspect of the meal that can’t go unmentioned is the impeccable level of service that we received. The young lass working the dining room was friendly, informative, professional in every possible way, and seemingly of a maturity far beyond her years. We’ve eaten in many silver service establishments in the past that could learn something from the training and approach provided at the Blue Shed. The head chef, Freya Stokell, was also kind enough to take a couple of minutes to answer a few questions regarding the meal (and to awkwardly accept my praise…I’m guessing most people that ask to speak with the chef are the bearers of bad news?). I’ll be watching her future career with much interest.
As I mentioned, you would be hard pressed to find better seafood anywhere in Tasmania. So if you’re passing through, or staying a few days, I thoroughly recommend that you take the time to experience what the Blue Shed Restaurant has to offer!
If you’d like to know more, drop by their website here – Blue Shed Restaurant
You can also find a great review in the 40 Degrees South magazine here – Blue Shed Review
Flavours – 10/10
Menu – 9/10
Ambience – 10/10
Service – 10/10
Value – 10/10
Overall – 9.5/10