Sam Steel is the sous chef from Restaurant Tasman at Hobart’s Grand Chancellor Hotel and the 36- year-old Steel, who worked under Matt Moran at Sydney’s Aria restaurant, presides over a five-course degustation dinner that could dispel the lingering stigma that unfairly blights some hotel eateries.
Steel’s degustation ranges from sashimi grade tuna tartar, crayfish cannaloni, heritage pork belly and seared duck breast. The duo of Cape Grim beef (a perfectly red eye-fillet twinned with a braised, no less tender fillet of cheek) and the Derwent Valley raspberry parfait inspired lick-the-plate ideas.
Steel isn’t angling to get onto any fine dining lists. He describes his food as approachable and affordable. But his degustation treats will also satisfy committed foodies and perhaps those fond of tables set with starched cloth napkins.
The food and the service – our waitress Tia was both knowledgeable of the food and impressively passionate about it: in fact the service throughout the hotel was faultless and could be fine enough to entice even those who live just around the corner into playing tourist in their home town. This might include visiting not only the restaurant but staying in some of the newly upgraded rooms. The views of the Hobart waterfront and the Tasman Peninsula are surprisingly compelling from the 20th floor.
During winter rooms at the Grand Chancellor cost from $145 per night. The pool, sauna and gym can be part of an appealing winter package. The five-course degustation dinner costs $75 excluding matching Tasmanian wines (the price is $110 with wine).
Monthly wine dinners are held at Restaurant Tasman. The dinner, on 12 August, with Stefano Lubiana is sold out. The next one, featuring Josef Chromy wines, will be held on 23 September. Tickets cost $79 for a 5-course degustation dinner and matched wines.
Phone 03 6235 4547 and www.restauranttasman.com.au
The website for the Grand Chancellor Hotel is ghihotels.com/hgc/Hobart/hotels
(This article appeared in the Sunday Tasmanian on 7 August 2011.)