Nestled amongst the bushland on the shores of North West Bay, south of Hobart, lies the hidden gem that is Villa Howden. Its core business is luxury accommodation but every Saturday and Sunday afternoon you will find the dining room filled with happy groups of ladies devouring its now well-known High Tea teamed with a glass of sparkling wine.
More than anything else, it is the property itself that will charm you – as soon as you walk through its doors you are transported to a decadent place where no expense has been spared – most definitely somewhere in Europe, but only 20 minutes from Hobart!
When I heard they were offering dinner on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, I jumped at the chance to try it out for a special occasion. There are two, three and four course options available and bookings are essential.
Thanks to a few cancellations and the in-house guests having other plans, we had the entire dining room to ourselves. We were seated in the sunroom which has floor to ceiling windows overlooking the gardens - candles and freshly cut flowers made for lovely touches. Suitably romantic, but definitely not awkward, thanks to our friendly, engaging, but not over-attentive wait staff.
Villa Howden is a fine dining experience. An amuse-bouche of pancetta wrapped scallop signaled the beginning of the meal along with bread and lavender infused butter. Nice touches!
For entrée, I had pea and ricotta filled ravioli with a burnt butter sauce and asparagus. It tasted fabulous although the pasta was a little thick for my liking. My dining partner had the charcuterie plate with the best olives we have ever tasted!
For main course, we chose the beef ribs with fondant potatoes, broccolini and red wine jus and the cheese soufflé with pear, rocket, and parmesan salad. They were both very good.
The warm almond and chocolate cake, strawberry cranberry icecream, with vanilla yoghurt, meringue and leatherwood honey was to-die for. However the white chocolate mousse with orange gellee and pistachio icecream still needs a little refining to be amazing.
Our meal wasn’t finished yet – a cheese platter accounted for the fourth course complete with a selection of French cheeses!!
What a lovely dining partner!
All in all it was a great night out. With the nights getting longer, this summer is the perfect time to experience the tranquil nature of the Villa Howden gardens in the early evening. While some choices might be better than others, overall the food is good, really good. If you want to spoil someone special and experience a dining option outside of Hobart’s bright lights – dinner at Villa Howden is well worth the short drive from Hobart. Find out more here.
Amy Hills is a communications specialist for a major Government Agency and former ABC journalist. When she’s not out and about, generally being fabulous, she stays in tune with the zeitgeist and loves her little family down in the Channel.