A long overdue road trip had This Girl in Launceston last weekend.
I’d made arrangements to catch up with a couple of groups of friends. I dropped off my gear at the home of Running Sista where I was staying Saturday night. Round One came to collect me and announced a vineyard was in order on such a beautiful day. Off we zoomed.
Returning from lunch and barely across the threshold, Running Sista asked ‘So did you like Velo?
We like to mark our get-togethers with social media and Running Sista has been watching on with Facebook.
When I answered in the affirmative she said ‘Would you be happy going back tomorrow?’ I quickly responded, ‘Is there only one place to eat in this town?’ ‘It’s lovely! Yes, of course!
Velo Vineyard is onto a good thing.
Located on the West Tamar just outside of Legana, Velo Vineyard, and its restaurant called the Barrel Room, is popular with the people in the North.
Sassafras-styled flooring, pine furnishings, white walls, French doors and floor to ceiling windows, makes the Barrel Room a light and open space.
Round One for Saturday lunch was with Gorgeous Girl and Guitar Boy and their Melbourne mate.
The drinks menu showcased a swag of wines and ciders from the vineyard. The women drank the sparkling Rose – so good I took a bottle to dinner that night at Running Sista’s. The boys drank beer.
Between us we ate:
Duck, ginger and coriander spring rolls with hoisin dipping sauce, $16.50
Arancini in sugo di pomodoro, $14, fontina cheese, tomato and basil, $14
Gnocchi alla Romana, $13, semolina gnocchi, tomato, pesto
Chargrilled marinated chicken, $28.50, with wood-fired pizza bread, ratatouille
All Diavola pizza, $24, mozzarella, sopressa, chilli, olives, tomato, oregano
Sides of baby broccolini, prosciutto, walnuts, $8 and shoestring fries, $8
Meringue with lemon curd, strawberry coulis and pistachios, $12.50
I’m funny about seeing the same ingredient used a number of times on a menu. Like olives. I don’t like olives so I don’t like seeing them feature in every second dish.
On this menu, pesto was a big feature. Fortunately, I’m a big pesto fan and enjoyed real pesto with fresh basil on my gnocchi.
I went with two starters and also elected the spring rolls. The unconventional pastry was loaded with delicious duck and ginger. Trying to remember my greens, I had a good crack at the broccolini and the only chip I ate was the one projected into my plate from the other side of the table. Regardless, I moved on to dessert which was an impressive mound of meringue.
Reviews from around the table were all complimentary. A little more chilli would have suited Guitar Boy. A fussy eater, Melbourne mate declared the steak the best eva! Gorgeous Girl, who is tiny, ate more of her marinated chicken than I’ve ever seen her consume off a plate before.
Round Two on Sunday was with Running Sista, the godson, Captain America and the Lovely Deputy.
This time we chose the house cider – crisp and delicious - and the reserve Chardonnay – an expensive drop, easy to drink but no hint of butter.
Between us we ate:
Risotto al funghi, $25, porcini mushrooms, parmesan
Smoked salmon, $26, white onion, capers, roquette, crème fraiche by two serves
Duck pie, $29, mushroom, star anise, shallot
Lemon tart, $14.50
Velo make my favourite type of pizza, thin, light base, not overly dressed and tasty. The smoked salmon was delicious and I tried Captain America’s Tuscana which was comfort food on a stick. The risotto was served Vegan but it didn’t enjoy depth from stock, wine, seasoning or even the usually strong flavours of porcini. Similarly, no rave reviews were received on the chosen desserts and after tasting the lemon tart, I elected to save the calories for another day and pushed my plate towards Captain America.
The absolute stand out across the dishes of both days was the duck pie. It had a beautiful light shortcrust pastry and was filled fat with slow cooked spiced bird. It was perfect.
Service is pleasant if not a little slow, they are busy. They were quick to arrive with warm water, vinegar and a cloth to soak up a splattered speck of sugo on my shirt from the flying chip.
The Barrel Room offers eating a notch up from pub food but at a similar price, good value meals in a beautiful setting and a very nice place to have a lazy Saturday or/and Sunday lunch.
Find the Velo’s restaurant called the Barrel Room at 755 West Tamar Highway, Legana.