I had arrived in Franklin earlier than planned on a TassieLink bus. Tony, the driver, caringly dropped me off just opposite the Lady Franklin Hotel where I was staying for just the one night. Even though it was a cool wintery morning with mist hanging over the Huon River, the beauty of Franklin remained the same.

Petty Sessions - Huon River

Boardwalk: Huon River (photo by Roger Findlay)

Judging Petty Sessions: Huon Valley

by Roger Findlay

I had started out very early catching the TassieLink school bus from Dunalley. I’d travelled on an empty stomach and craved a plate of eggs, bacon and beans with toast smothered in butter. The fresh morning air of Franklin and the brisk walk south along the main road led me to a striking building of pale blue and white with a red tin roof.

Petty Sessions - Gourmet Cafe Restaurant

Petty Sessions Cafe (photo by Roger Findlay)

Best Scallop Pies In Tassie the Petty Sessions Cafe black-board read. I needed no more persuasion and was in like a flash. It was just after 10.30am but this didn’t deter me from having a large glass of the local wine in preparation for the gourmet delight that would follow.

Wine by the Fire

I settled on a leather sofa right next to the blazing fire. As usual, I had to feel the weight of the logs with the result always being the same. For a log of similar size, our red gum or yellow box logs are double the weight but amazingly the lightweight Tassie log throws-out plenty of heat.

Petty Sessions - Comfortable Cafe

Welcoming lounge and log fire (photo by Roger Findlay)

Having nothing else to do except sip on Holm Oak Cabernet Merlot, I had plenty of time to mull over this kind of whimsical trivia. Imagine how it will be when I’ve retired.

French Connection

Nikon was standing by but I wasn’t being rushed. I was on for a chat and there was no better person than the young lady of the house. In line with the characteristics of the café, I wanted her to be French and maybe she was. Her pride in what she was doing and in the chef’s’ ability to prepare unusual food using local Tasmanian produce was infectious.

It was explained that the building was a former Court of Petty Sessions with a resident Magistrate and that it had been restored to the original combined with a modern look.

Scallop Pie, Cakes, Coffee and Kids

Inevitably, I ordered the scallop pie and, while I was waiting, I took a walk through the building by starting at the front of house. Cakes, coffee beans and all things nice sat in or on glass displays. Paintings for sale lined the entrance and dining area. Large glass windows and outdoor eating area looked out to the river.

Petty Sessions - Cafe in Franklin

Petty Sessions Cafe (photo by Roger Findlay)

A child’s eyes would pop at the sight of a huge playground with modern equipment out the back. Parents would be happy leaving their kids to play within line of sight from the interior.

Petty Sessions - Playground

Playground: Petty Sessions Cafe (photo by Roger Findlay)

My order arrived. Not a mass-produced object from a pie factory but a neatly folded pastry made on the Franklin premises by a chef that has the skills to please the palate.

Petty Session - Scallop Pie

Homemade Tasmanian scallop pie (photo by Roger Findlay)

Hobart to the Huon Valley

By this time, other customers had arrived and the two Hobart students on a nearby table also ordered the scallop pie. A family, including the owner, chose their meal from the varied lunch menu. Maybe abalone dumpling, seafood linguine, Huon Valley mushrooms or a Tiramisu torte took their fancy but I didn’t stay to see.

As I made my departure, I complimented everyone in sight. Tasmania had done it again. I had a spring in my step after spending an enjoyable two hours in the Petty Sessions Café; one in Franklin that’s sure to succeed.

Petty Sessions - Gourmet Cafe and Gallery

Petty Sessions Cafe (photo by Roger Findlay)

Roger Findlay spends all his holidays in Tasmania, then writes about the experience for Think Tasmania. If you’d like Roger to visit you in the name of research (so we can publish information about your business), please contact us.

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Map: Petty Sessions Cafe, Franklin Tasmania…

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