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Saturday 3 April 2021

Celebrity chef's local flavours shine in Tasmania

Hotel dining can be a mixed blessing. At its best you get to sample local flavours in the same building in which you are sleeping. 

At its worst you get to taste food ordered in bulk by a hotel chain's head office. 

Fortunately, the menu at Grain of the Silos (top) - the signature eatery of Launceston's Peppers Silo Hotel, is curated with care and attention by celebrity chef Massimo Mele (above). 

Mele says he has fallen even more in love with Tasmania and its produce during the Covid-19 lockdown. 

On my recent visit I opted for a simple dinner of grilled king prawns (above) followed by a thick, juicy and crispy pork chop. Mele graciously sends over a few extra flavours about to make it onto the menu for me to try. 

I'd arrived too late for the garfish from Low Head - there were only a dozen portions available and they were quickly snapped up. 

I do, however, get to sample some super-fresh George's Bay clams; padron peppers from Mele's own garden, and stunning charcuterie from Boucherie Tasmania and Fork It Farm (below). 

There's also a little taste of sardines with super-sweet Tasmanian tomatoes.

With some Sinapius 2018 Gruner Veltliner and Holm Oak 2020 Protege Pinot Noir, my simple supper turned into a gourmet treat. 

"The quality of Tasmanian gourmet produce is improving all the time - and it is fabulous to be able to showcase it to both Tasmanians and visitors alike," says Mele. "I'm constantly making new discoveries." 

The open kitchen showcases Cape Grim beef, Bruny Island cheese and other Tasmanian standouts.

Grain occupies a sunny corner of the Silos; four towers originally built side by side on the banks of the Tamar River in the 1960s to house wheat. 

The Silos sat empty for years - despite their stunning setting - until local developer Errol Stewart turned them into a luxury waterfront destination in 2018. 

It is certainly worth combining dinner with an overnight stay. The staff have grasped the meaning of hospitality and you'll be well looked after from reception to the restaurant. 

Dog lovers missing their own pets might want to take Archie, the canine concierge, for a walk.

The 10-level hotel features 108 guest rooms with a boutique vibe, including 52 inside the barrels of the former silos, undercover car parking, conference facilities and an integrated lobby and reception space.The restaurant turns café for lighter snacks during the day. 

Amenities on-site include a gym, day spa, child-minding facilities, hairdressing salon, function centre and private dining rooms.

The hotel overlooks the nearby Seaport; Royal Park with its barbecue area, play space, skate park and outdoor exercise equipment, boardwalks and sealed paths; the Tamar River Basin and Cataract Gorge. It is also just a short stroll to the footbridge that links to the city centre. 

Peppers Silo is located at 89-91 Lindsay Street, Invermay, Launceston. 6700 0688.

# The writer was a guest of Peppers Silo Hotel 

# Images: Adam Gibson and Winsor Dobbin   



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