Twelve Stones

Licensed $-$$
2 Ford Road, Pontville
03) 6268 0231
Open: Breakfast Saturday and Sunday, lunch and dinner Wednesday to Sunday.

The name refers to the Biblical story of God instructing Joshua to take 12 stones from the River Jordon as he led the 12 tribes of Israel across the river into the Promised Land. Which is a most appropriate name for a restaurant housed in a recycled 1874-built church beside our own Jordon River. The local Whelan family spent two years beautifully restoring the old church and landscaping the grounds which, when all the trees and gardens grow, will make a true eye-piece of the restaurant.

Opened less than a year ago, it was named best breakfast venue in the recent Tasmanian Hospitality Awards for Excellence. Which, when you consider the number of places doing breakfast these days, must have pleased them. But, open only to THA members and with 53 different categories, the awards come across a bit like those kids’ competitions where every child wins a prize So, while providing encouragement and good for industry morale, they’re not necessarily seen by many as a reliable guide to the state’s best dining establishments.

Then, a few weeks ago, we were guests at Twelve Stones for a winemaking mate’s wine degustation dinner where the flavours and presentation of the food were excellent. The chef on the night, we learned, was Mat Short, normally Twelve Stone’s breakfast chef. So I thought there might be meaning in the awards after all and decided to return to try his award-winning breakfast. And I’m very glad we did.

Prior to moving to Tasmania, Short worked at The Long Apron, a three hat-rated restaurant in Montville, inland from Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. After a stint here at The Source, he moved on to help Christian Ryan open Pilgrim Coffee’s new eatery. After 18 months at Pilgrim he set out to do what he’d come to Tasmania to do in the first place – cut back on the long, hard work in the kitchen and start growing specialty heirloom vegetables, flowers and herbs for various restaurants on the five acres of land he’d bought at Dysart. He says growing things for restaurants was a nice sidestep from the industry. “It keeps you in touch. Then Twelve Stones opened, started buying my products and when they wanted a breakfast chef for weekends, I couldn’t have asked for a better lifestyle/work fit”.

The thing about his breakfast dishes is that they are in no way effete city fare. The food and portion sizes are just what you need if you’re off to plough a paddock or fell a forest. But what impressed me most was the consistent quality of the cooking. In the gigantic Twelve Stones Signature Breakfast, each component was cooked to perfection – beautifully crisped bacon, perfectly poached eggs, still intact char-grilled tomatoes, good chipolatas and the best, cumin-spiked house-baked beans around.

My wife’s garlic butter mushrooms with walnut and mushroom duxelle, Persian fetta and parsley salsa verde on sourdough was, she said, “fabulous’. Then followed a total over-the-top indulgence – a three-decker pancake stack with caramelized bananas, local honeycomb vanilla bean ice cream finished with a chocolate sauce. As delicious as it was, I couldn’t imagine anyone managing it for breakfast and was in awe watching a number of other diners woofing it down.

No doubt the blueberry pancakes and chocolate waffles are in a similar league. Then there are the more usual egg dishes with ham or smoked salmon and hollandaise and those delicious beans with chorizo and baked eggs.

The service was excellent and very professional and, while the coffee could do with a bit of a lift, we felt the drive was well worth it. All dishes $15.00 to $23.00

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