“And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests which bare the ark of the covenant stood: and they are there unto this day.” – Joshua 4:9
Situated in Pontville, a pleasant half hour drive from Hobart, Twelve Stones is a contemporary venue housed inside an historic church built in 1874. The church itself is utilised as the dining hall with high ceilings, exposed wooden beams and windows that stream light inside. The kitchen and foyer are more modern and have been tastefully incorporated into the design. There is ample space outside with a sunny courtyard dining area and extensive lawns which were being enjoyed as a venue for a child’s birthday party on our visit.
Appetisers were an okay start. The croquettes were creamy with some good flavour although the pork was there in texture only and not taste. The chorizo was simply grilled and presented but enjoyed. The warm olives I, thought, overpowered by preserved lemon on the palate. Not a deal breaker though and we still hungrily finished them off.
Twelve Stones won the 2016 THA Tasmanian Wine List of the Year and perusing it it’s easy to see why. They’ve sourced some truly excellent local wines with many available by the glass and at very reasonable prices. The Clarence House Tempranillo at $9.50 is a steal and a glass of Domaine A Cabernet Sauvignon is surprising to find but thoroughly delightful. You could quite easily spend a day sitting in the courtyard making your way through the list while grazing.
Service is good, the staff friendly and seemed to be enjoying their jobs. We found the wait between courses a bit of a stretch but for a lazy lunch it didn’t matter so much. A minor hiccup was quickly spotted and apologised for with a complimentary glass of wine which really was above and beyond.
On to mains. The duck was tender and delicious with a rich chocolate jus complimenting the dish where it could of easily overtaken in less skilled hands. The large undressed leaves were somewhat odd and left to the side, the citrus was refreshing.
The steak was generous, well executed and seasoned. Cooked to a medium rare as ordered. The jus was fantastic in flavour but the Béarnaise had developed a skin on the pass. Somewhat odd was that while the wine was presented in quality Riedel the kitchen had to make do with K-Mart plates. They made the most of what they had to work with though and presented a great course with the rich, warm, earthy flavours shining through.
Desserts were excellent. Crispy brandy snaps are well complimented by a citrus yuzu icecream. The cheese list is unadventurous but featuring a good selection of the more popular Tasmanian cow milk cheeses.
While not living up to the hype I’d heard about it before visiting, Twelve Stones was a pleasant dining experience. The food plays it a little too safe and traditional though and I suspect the kitchen team are capable of much more if the menu was given the same daring freedom as the wine list.
Twelve Stones also offers breakfast on the weekends and afternoon tea throughout the week with functions, parties and weddings catered for as well. It is certainly a beautiful space for such.