Licensed/BYO $-$$
6 Hume Street, Lindisfarne
03) 6243 9386
Open: Open 7am to 4pm daily and to 9pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

For a long time I’ve believed that one of the problems with many of our restaurants, particularly but not only in regional areas, is due to the employment of inexperienced chefs either because of Tasmania’s critical chef shortage or, often, by owners wishing to operate on the cheap.

Thrown in the deep end, it is totally unreasonable to expect a newly qualified chef, or one with limited experience, to run a kitchen, properly cost the food, manage staff, design menus and consistently cater well to 30, 40, 60 or so covers.

But, of course, there are exceptions and one of those exceptions was an exceptional meal recently at Currency.

Opened by Pamela Bird two years ago in the old Lindisfarne Commonwealth Bank building – hence the name – Currency is a bright and welcoming, modern space with indoor and al fresco dining options, off-street parking for bicycles and cars and a water bowl for customer pooches making it a very popular coffee, in-between and luncheon spot with locals. The breakfast and luncheon menus are pretty much café standard with a cabinet display of sweet treats, vegetarian and gluten free items, and a few less usual choices such as their bacon and egg pizza and a few Asian-inspired dishes like miso-infused sous vide duck with rice noodles and fresh wombok.

The delightful service staff are an asset and the day and evening chef on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays is Mikayla Cooper, a 23 year old, not-yet-qualified fourth year cookery apprentice.

On a relatively quiet night, we started dinner with four of us sharing a nicely crisp and flavoursome chicken, mozzarella and basil pizza. Then followed a tender and still beautifully moist, slow-cooked pork belly with great crackling served on mash with rocket and apple. A Thai green chicken curry was better than most café versions around town with very good flavours and a tingling bite. There was also a crumbed flathead special with a fresh and nicely dressed Greek salad and fat, fluffy chips.

But the two dishes that we all felt did great credit to the chef were a perfectly blue-cooked, warm-in-the middle Cape Grim eye fillet and an equally perfectly cooked and flavoured wild mushroom risotto redolent of porcini and without any truffle oil cheating to spoil it. Two simple dishes but it’s the simple ones that many cafes and restaurant too often fail to get right in the cooking and in the balance of flavours. Apart from the steak’s red wine reduction sauce which was well made but needed a bit of a tweak, Currency’s examples were spot on and suggest that chef Mikayla Cooper has a promising kitchen career ahead of her.

Starters $12 to $20; mains $20 to $28 (200g eye fillet) and $38 (350g)

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