This article is not designed to make you jealous, but it may well make your mouth water just a little. We get so much feedback from readers about the wonderful fresh seafood in Tasmania. So we made a concerted effort to taste the local produce during our trip to St Helens. Yes, even MORE than usual, because what better place could there be to make such a pledge?
Tasmania Does Fabulous Fresh Seafood
You can buy Lease 65 oysters straight from the farmer’s shed at 444 Binalong Bay Road, just north of the St Helens township. Our accommodation on the gorgeous Georges Bay came complete with enticing water views, with an oyster farm in the distance. We had a daily visual reminder to sample this local delicacy, so we weren’t likely to forget.
You can source oysters from other aquaculture businesses in town, but once we’d tried the Pacific oysters from Lease 65, we were hooked. The waters-edge farm shed was conveniently located on the drive from St Helens to Binalong Bay, which suited our beach-going schedule perfectly.
While we were staying in St Helens, we took the shucked option. But when we collected some take-aways for the trip home, we chose live oysters because we thought they’d travel better. Big mistake. Master oyster-shuckers we will never make! Still, it was a great addition to our hamper of goodies for our lovely pet-sitters, who did a wonderful job keeping our Coco safe while we were away.
Blue Shed Seafood Restaurant
If we have the good fortune to visit St Helens again, our first point of business will be reserving a table at the wonderful Blue Shed seafood restaurant. At 1 Marina Parade it boasts outstanding views… you can even see fish swimming by! The service was top-notch, and we took the expert advice offered and started with the chef’s signature squid dish. Apparently this entree has been a long-standing favourite; it can never be removed from the menu by decree of regular diners. We would agree with those discerning diners!
We also recorded a request of the chef: keep the chocolate fondant dessert. It was up there with the best desserts we’ve ever eaten. And we’ve eaten a few! However, we’re talking about fresh seafood in this particular instance, so we shan’t digress.
For main Gavin chose the trout, which was served with prawns. We’ve heard the east coast of Tasmania does produce a species of prawn, but we forgot to ask our waitress about the origin of these ones. We were too keen to eat them! The TasFish website has further information about the local prawn if you’re interested. The day’s special was Flathead; that’s my favourite, so that’s what I ordered. It was also divine.
Supermarket, Pub Meals and Take-Away
St Helens is just a small town, but there’s a good range of services and two well-stocked IGA supermarkets. We enjoyed meals of fresh seafood several times, cooked at our self-contained accommodation. The white-flesh of the ling fillets had a mild fish-flavour, and we didn’t find any stray bones, which is always a bonus. We dished up the fish with a simple garden salad and a ridiculously good local Tasmanian salad dressing.
We had a double-dose of salmon another day. The crispy-skin fresh salmon went quite well with a mixed salad, with hot-smoked salmon tossed in for good measure. Go hard or go home!
We enjoyed a lovely meal at the Bayside Inn (2 Cecilia Street, St Helens). We’d already started on second course before someone remembered to take photos, so obviously we were impressed. And very hungry! Gavin had yet-more oysters, followed by the local incarnation of surf n turf (or beef n reef, if you prefer). One of the kids ordered pasta with chilli prawns and scallops; thankfully we managed to snap a photograph before the entire meal was completely demolished.
Who could write a story about fresh seafood without tasting the local fish n chips? We do all this for research, you do know that. Right? We tried the fare from the take-away cafe overlooking the mouth of the Scamander River (south of St Helens). Also delicious! The chef will batter or crumb a selection of fresh fish and everything was prepared promptly to order. We would definitely recommend the Scamander Newsagency and Mouth Cafe, housed in a former service station building. There’s a grassy park adjacent, complete with tables and seating, children’s playground and a skate-ramp all next to a popular surf beach and estuary.
And that concludes this tour of fresh seafood from St Helens. There’s no doubt many, many more places we could feature, and perhaps we’ll be given the opportunity to do just that on another occasion. We certainly would not be averse to returning to the north east region of Tasmania. It’s a truly amazing part of the world.
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