As the umbrella arm buckled and twisted in the wind, wide-eyed wait staff realised that biceps borne from years of balancing plates were no substitute for a gym hardened Adonis. Fleet of foot and strong of limb, computations of pascals and newtons working to completion with machine like precision, there was no one more suited to such a rescue mission than yours truly…
All I could do was look up in horror as the inevitable unfolded. Debating whether to put down the glass of red, a good drop if I recall…floral nose, long on the mid-palate, with delightful hints of tangerine, shoe leather and wood smoke…ahh yes, the summer of 1990 was memorable indeed; balmy days under cotton swabbed skies, dew glistening in morning’s first light, echoes of laughter ringing from over yonder hill hinting at lemonade and puppies. A certain sense of beguiling innocence, as yet unsullied by the trials of life…
And just like that it was over; the decision made for me by a surprisingly agile pair of young lasses and a drop in the wind, conspiring to give them the breathing room to prevent a catastrophe of epic proportions! Ever the shy and retiring sort, I simply couldn’t bring myself to steal their moment in the sun…
Crisis averted, with all hands back on deck our meals on the deck at The Barrel Restaurant (Velo Wines) arrived in good time.
We had arrived at Velo thinking of something light to eat, to match the warm day and white wines we were keen on tasting. Perhaps a delicate piece of white fish, or maybe one of their renowned wood-fired pizza? As always, after reading the menu it all took an unexpected turn, with red meats and red wines the order of the day!
I imagine that the specials board is an important part of any chef’s repertoire, providing them with an avenue for experimentation, exploration and innovation. In this instance, while everything was cooked brilliantly, it didn’t feel like a cohesive dish. I would have been more than happy with the traditional combo of eye fillet, mash, snow peas and jus. However with the addition of the tart goats cheese comes the need to balance it out with savoury pesto, which in turns needs some salty pancetta, and so on and so forth…all very tasty, but overwhelming and in the main, unnecessary. By the end of the meal I felt like a lab rat…a very well fed and satisfied lab rat!! With some rationalisation they have the makings of a sensational dish right there.
I won’t comment on the pie ( damn you red wine!!), but Karen’s memory is much better and she assures me that it was most bodacious! Full of hearty, seasoned goodness that would go a treat on a cold winter’s day.
While the meals were great, we also spent a lot of time at the cellar door tasting a number of wines from their range.
Velo Wines grow Tasmania’s oldest red wine varietals, including cabernet sauvignon, shiraz(!) and pinot noir.
Beyond the pinots for which Tasmania is renowned, we’ve found decent cabernets and shirazes to be few and far between. However in Velo we’ve found a winner! The added bonus was running into Cade Smith (ex. Small Fry in Hobart) behind the bar. Not only effervescent and friendly, Cade proved to have a fantastic knowledge of Velo’s history and approach to wine making. Well worth taking the time to have a taste before, or after your meal.
Velo are located right in the western heart of the Tamar Valley wine region, and they present the very best aspects of their environment. Quality Tasmanian produce, cooked with passion and innovation, and a range of memorable wines make for the perfect day trip outside Launceston.
For more information, drop by their website here – Velo Wines
Info regarding The Barrel Room Restaurant, including their current menu, can be found here – The Barrel Room Restaurant
Their Facebook page is here – Velo on Facebook