It would be easy to miss Van Bone. After all, it’s a 45-minute drive from Hobart in a town that’s really just a dot on the map. It’s low-slung and nestled into the gentle slope of a paddock that’s also home to a herd of grazing cows. But enter the dimly lit rammed-earth vestibule via a heavy timber door and you begin to get a hint of what’s to come – tomatoes on the vine hang from the ceiling for a final ripen, there’s a glimpse into the kitchen through a sliver of window and a shaft of light draws you into the dining room.
It’s the view that stops you there. Huge windows face north, framing lush farmland, the cliffs of Hellfire Bluff and then Maria Island in the distance. It’s breathtaking, all-enveloping and the perfect backdrop for chef-owner Tim Hardy’s quintessentially Tasmanian cuisine. With a focus on local and foraged ingredients, supplemented by their own vegetables, Van Bone offers guests dishes that are often surprising and always delicious. The 14-course menu changes regularly and each course is explained by either Hardy or restaurant manager-owner Laura Stucken (Hardy’s fiancée). It could include fatty pork jowl sliced paper thin and served with coffee kombucha, jalapeños from the garden drenched with apple cider vinegar Hardy made five years ago with seasoning provided by salt made from local seawater, collected by the pair on their days off. Hardy’s background at regional restaurants including Brae, The Lake House and Garagistes has informed his passion for hyper-local and seasonal food, all of which is cooked over the open kitchen’s wood-fire oven and grill.
Dining tables of torched Tasmanian oak were created by Launceston furniture designer Simon Ancher and each of the 18 seats has an individual drawer of vintage cutlery to be used throughout the meal. Named for Van Diemens Land and a local surf break, the restaurant was designed by Stucken, an interior architect, and Hardy (a keen surfer) helped build it, along with the extensive permaculture vegetable garden and native landscaping (Stucken suggests a stroll around the property before dessert). It’s a long way to go for lunch, but every carefully considered element creates a truly memorable meal in a winning destination.
357 Marion Bay Rd, Bream Creek, Tas
Chef Timothy Hardy
Price guide $$$
Wheelchair access Yes