I have no commercial barrow to push here, I just want to spread the word about some kids who are doing something special in the boondocks. They deserve a leg up.
On a holiday in Tasmania, I had a superb serendipitous moment when I stumbled across an interesting eatery in a place that I feared would provide crumbed sausages in gravy - or worse.
One immutable rule about restaurants is that a great location is likely to kill the food offer. Remember the spectacular Sydney fish place (whatever you want provided it’s deep fried in batter) or pretty much everything above level 5 in a city building.
Binalong Bay, near St Helens on Tasmania’s east coast, is a spectacular location, with a 40km view of the Bay of Fires. It has absurdly white sand, gin clear water , gleaming Zanzibar blue and huge red lichen-encrusted rocks. But we are talking serious backwater. Forget the pub with no beer; Binalong Bay hasn’t got a pub; not even a shop.
But Binalong Bay does have ANGASI, a restaurant that blows the great location rule away. Whilst the setting is spectacular, Angasi’s offer will distract you from the view.
Chef Thomas Dicker with Darren Lewis & Anita Rathbone, are locals who have started something quite special.
The three are all incredibly passionate about tourism, food and wine and their local area. All the staff are fabulous, and share the same love for the area. They say that the best thing about being at ANGASI (apart from the view!) is being able to share information with the visitors and chat with the locals all day - you couldn’t find a better job! Drink great coffee, eat fabulous Australian food, listen to music and take in the views - that are, well, unbelievable.
The name Angasi is from the Angasi Oyster, the native oyster that grows in Tasmania and is harvested by one diver in St Helens. The Angasi oyster, not a common sight on menus, is a stronger and more acquired taste than the more common Pacific, but anyone who really enjoys oysters will love them!
Oysters - the house specialty - are fresh from St Helens every day. Angasi is doing six different styles at a time, (for example Blueberry and basil oysters & Orange, chili and vodka oyster shooters) and will continue to create new styles (they are up to about 50 now!) and plan to change the board every couple of weeks.
They are now able to sell Angasi oysters (in their prime season now), and they have taken off! Fruit and vegetables all come from a local farm (Findoc) in St Helens, again fresh each day. The fresh, local produce is very important, as well as supporting local businesses it guarantees the BEST product. And Angasi delivers on that aim.
The wine list, like the menu is small, stressing quality. Again there is evidence of support for local product, with several interesting wines by the glass.
Thomas, Darren and Anita are young, talented and enthusiastic. They have created something in a beautiful place and deserve to do very well.
Rob Lake is Director, Orex Retail Search, Parkville , Vic