The Farm Shed – East Coast Wine Centre

Licensed $-$$   Hat iconHat iconHat icon   Glass iconGlass icon
53 Burgess Street, Bicheno
03) 6375 1868
Open: Open daily 9am to 6pm..

You can’t keep good people down and the partners of the once legendary Left Bank in Bicheno, Subi Mead and Helen Bain, opened The Farm Shed East Coast Wine Centre just before Christmas. In doing so, their building’s stylish and soaring, rough-sawn timber exterior has transformed Bicheno’s rather prosaic village streetscape, their wine centre concept has given exposure to some lesser-known regional producers and their culinary talent combined with their artistic flair has provided new meaning to café simplicity and sophistication.

On entering, there’s a bar and kitchen on the left and three large communal tables running through various merchandising displays to the facilities of the Bicheno Post Office at the rear.

On Easter Sunday the place was pumping with crowds milling around the displays of high quality Tasmanian items such as Smitten merino wool clothing, 60 boxes of exquisite jewellery, pottery, tea towels and glass and timber crafts plus, of course, an assortment of local gins and a wine-wall and wine fridge collection of 53 wines from 19 regional producers each with its own detailed information sheet.

While Subi poured wines from the daily tasting menu for a nearby party, my wife returned to join me at the table elegantly wrapped in a Smitten poncho before I’d even finished reading the menu.

And the menu is small but perfectly pitched offering breakfast/brunch options until 11am of granola with Tasmanian yoghurt and fruit, a frittata of the day, a New York-style bagel with smoked salmon or pastrami and toasted panini with a choice of three fillings in addition to ‘assorted sweet bits on display’. And nostalgic Left Banks aficionados will be pleased to know that Helen’s famed lemon curd filling is still available, now as a filling in fairy cakes instead of tarts.

The post 11am ‘small bites’ menu runs through the afternoon and offers simple choices of spiced nuts, warm, marinated olives, dukka, pate or terrine with bread, a trio of dips, two types of croquette, two soft tacos and a single or two-to-share grazing plate. We ordered the croquettes, a taco and a grazing plate to share.

The croquettes were nicely fresh and crisp with pleasingly tasty fillings, the large taco had the authentic smell and taste of real massa and the grazing plate was a beautiful and bountiful selection of olives, pickled onions, walnuts and artichoke slices, half a smoked quail, marinated capsicum, triangles of two different terrine, folds of smoked salmon and prosciutto and a scattering of feta cheese, all arranged on top of dressed salad leaves and accompanied by two house-made dips.

Tuning in to Subi’s patter with the wine tasting group at the next table, it became obvious that instead of boring them with a description of what they were tasting – fruit, oak etc – she was individualising and personalizing the wines by relating the stories of the people and places behind the labels. As an interesting and different approach to the usual wine sales pitch it had obviously worked the previous day when they had made a $2,500 wine sale to a couple from Singapore. “Could they deliver it?” asked the couple. “Of course” replied Subi “We’re a post office”.

The Shed is a great and well-conceived multi-faceted operation, the distillation of their many years of hospitality experience. It‘s bringing life to Bicheno, is perfectly pitched to the tourist trade and Helen and Subi are doing all facets exceptionally well.

Breakfast/brunch openers $12, two croquettes $10, taco $10, grazing plate $20/$35, tasting of five wines $8 (the equivalent of one standard drink) or of six gins $18 (two standard drinks)

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