Yes. Burnie. Burnie has long been the quiet port in the North-West of Tasmania. Hit hard by the closure of the pulp mill, decline of timber exports, and farming business closures, Burnie has struggled.
But look at what it’s got! That’s what the council and townspeople said, so they pulled up their bootstraps and got on with it.
“Who doesn’t like something for free? And Bayviews delivered twice on that count..”
They’ve got bay views for one. So they developed the foreshore, which is a block down the end of town. What other town can brag that? Not many. The surf club got an uplift, Fish Frenzy went in downstairs at one end, Bayviews, upstairs.
There were other developments – a new arts precinct, which shifted the craft and paper history of Burnie to the forefront, and a foreshore with a delightful children’s play park with sea motifs in the design. Clever.
It’s also got a deep working port. Which I find interesting. Not an eyesore at all. Industry needs to be there, sustainably, to create jobs and infrastructure. And without the pulp mill, the water is clear. But the views upstairs at Bayviews, are built to take in the sweep of coastline that looks the other way. It’s gorgeous. Wild and beautiful, with seagulls wheeling and late afternoon sun sloping in, warming the room and the guests.
And so is the service. Warm. In fact, the ambience is great. Happy and relaxed. A couple who come regularly for the food sit opposite us and tell us about their favourite dishes. Another couple behind us, there for the Masters’ Games, join in the conversation, and we delight in our selections.
Perusing the menu, I notice that each dish has been pared with a wine and a beer or cider choice. Mmmm. I’m thinking that there’s serious attention to detail here, and the prices are incredibly good value, compared to what’s commonly being charged in the big smoke.
We order a bottle of the Bay of Stones Sauvignon Blanc, 2016, at $28, and enjoy a well balanced, fruity wine that holds its own with the fine and fresh, sometimes spicy flavours of the food. Can it get any better? Well it does, as a matter of fact.
Our waitress bustles over and presents us with an amuse bouche to kick us off. Who doesn’t like something for free? And Bayviews delivered twice on that count. The light and delicious starter was simply a tiny ramekin of yellow Thai style curry sauce. Sweet, salty, spicy, and coconutty. The second, was a new take on the very traditional palate cleanser that used to be served in fine restaurants from the 60s and then died out. It was wonderful to see it reinvented, in the form of a tiny ball of watermelon granita, delivered after the entrée. But back to our choices from a reasonably big, comprehensive menu.
And what are they? First, we have to try the North East Coast Oysters, and yes, shucked to order. That’s a big ask, but the big briny meaty mouthfuls declare the truth of that statement. We tried 3 different types – the natural with nim jam dressing (sic ?) which should be nam jim, I think, has the fresh but complex flavours of Thailand, with that big punch of lime. The fresh take on Kilpatrick, which featured finely cut chorizo with a drizzle of balsamic was absolutely on the money, but the star was the natural with vodka and lime granita. Wow.
“This is seriously good food. And she cleaned up every skerrick.”
I moved on to the entrée tasting platter, which at $31 was really good value. A plate with hot smoked salmon, crème fraiche, dill and tarragon in filo pastry on a bed of avocado puree, horseradish mousse, radish and capers; glazed slow cooked pork with bbq sauce on fennel and apple slaw; and calamari with a zing of citrus, coriander seed and pepper coating, on a bed of a traditional tomatoey romesco sauce, with crunch provided by roasted peanuts, bean sprouts, and there’s that ‘nim jam’ dressing again. Get it right guys, please. It’s nam jim! Not that it really matters because it was all damn good.
Susie had the sesame crusted salmon from Macquarie Harbour, over on the west coast, and it came with its own sweet potato and feta cake wrapped in prosciutto, fried octopus, a wild paprika and garlic aioli that pulled everything together, and a pickled vegetable salad. $39. This is seriously good food. And she cleaned up every skerrick.
Unfortunately, we had a show to go to, and enjoy, so dessert had to wait for another time. And there will be another time. Burnie was abuzz with both the Masters’ Games, and the Burnie Ten. And the streets were busy, and so was Bayviews. But you know what? My guess is that Bayviews is busy pretty much all the time, and deservedly so.
Bayviews / On the beach, First Floor, North Terrace, Burnie TAS 7320/ Ph: 03 6431 7999/ Open Monday – Saturday/ $$$ / www.bayviewsrestaurant.com.au