Beltana Hotel

Licensed $-$$$
160 East Derwent Highway, Lindisfarne
03) 6243 8677
Open: Lunch daily; Dinner Mon to Sat.

Paul Foreman, who put the old Marque IV on Hobart’s culinary map, joined the Kalis Group as Executive Chef in November 2010 with a brief to lift the game across all the Group’s food service establishments.

Eight months into the job he’d said that he was taking things slowly, “tinkering round the edges, brightening up some of the dishes and introducing new flavours, bringing the chefs and hopefully their patrons along with me”. Now, after a $2 million upgrade of the Beltana’s restaurant, bar and facilities, a totally new, modern-equipped kitchen and the appointment of Patrick Verger as chef, “tinkering round the edges” has gone and he’s introduced a menu that lifts the hotel out of the usual pub grub level into the contemporary restaurant league.

And, with pricing still around pub level, patrons have enthusiastically responded.

“If we did 40 for Saturday dinner, it used to be a big night. Now we’re averaging 100 and more every night”, said one waitress. Rather than an upgrade, the Beltana has undergone a complete and very stylish transformation.

While at any time of the day you can still have your traditional beer battered flathead, crumbed scallops, chicken schnitzel and steak and chips if you like, you can also choose from things like a wonderfully fresh and beautifully flavoured togarashi squid, green mango, mint and chilli salad with lemon aioli, a smoked chicken, roast pumpkin, panacetta and baby spinach salad with maple and yellow mustard dressing, a smoothly rich duck liver parfait, fried whitebait with kaffir lime mayo and a BBQ pork panini with salted pineapple and tamarind caramel.

Or you could share one of three ‘boards’ – a rustic antipasto board, an Ocean board of seafood or another comprising a pot of the duck liver parfait with cornichons and orange marmalade, a tapenade and a beetroot and walnut spread, a serving of warm, but rather dry, game pastie with black cherry compote and a wedge of pork pie, the components all made in house.

Of an evening, the menu expands to include entrees like fried cotechino, white beans and piccalilli, a modernised prawn cocktail and a goat cheese, beetroot and walnut tart plus mains of fresh fish, duck, slow-cooked lamb, grilled wallaby and beef Wellington.

While the beetroot, goat cheese and walnut tart could have done with a little more lifted spike and cut, by way of an acidic marinade or a fresher curd-like cheese, both the duck breast and lamb rump were cooked sous vide to a tender, moist and rosy perfection, the duck on red cabbage shot through with star anise, the lamb in an interesting and deliciously favoursome North-African-inspired combination of chermoula, date and mandarin quinoa, mint labna and pomegranate.

The wine list offers a reasonable selection of styles and varieties priced between $27 and $38 with five reds and four whites at $6 and $7 by the glass. Service by the uniformed and well-informed staff is excellent while the views of the mountain and river add to the dining pleasure.

It’s taken a while, but Eastern-shorers no longer have to cross the bridge for a first-rate hotel meal.

Entrees $8 to $15.90; all-day flathead fillets $24, steak and chips $29; ‘boards’ $25/$48; evening mains $26 to $32; all-day desserts $10.

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