When I started planning my Tasmanian road trip, there was one place guaranteed to make the itinerary; The Black Cow Bistro Launceston. I first visited the Black Cow 4 years ago with friends after visiting Cradle Mountain and have been talking it up to The Hubs ever since. The fact that the Black Cow Bistro Launceston etched itself so firmly in my memory is testament to the food quality. I couldn’t wait to get back for another taste of what is quite possibly Australia’s best steak. If you love beef, put the Black Cow Bistro Launceston at the very top of your list when you are in town. Read on for all the details …
Black Cow Bistro Launceston Overview
I mentioned in my recent where to eat in Hobart post that I always try to support local produce. The Black Cow Bistro Launceston takes pride in presenting diners with the very best dry aged, free range, grass-fed, hormone free, premium Tasmanian beef. Located in the heart of Launceston City on the corner of George and Paterson Sts, The Black Cow Bistro Launceston is steps away from where we stayed at The Grand Chancellor Hotel Launceston. and across the road from The Prickly Cactus where we also dined. The corner restaurant’s dining room is compact, seating around 50 guests, but there is room for 12 more in the semi private room at the rear. The decor is minimalist and the tables are close together to make the best use of the limited space. The subdued lighting sets the perfect scene for a date night but it’s not so dark as to have you guessing what’s on your plate. If you have read any of my previous restaurant reviews you will know I advocate checking TripAdvisor ratings before you dine and it would be remiss of me not to mention Black Cow Bistro Launceston holds the number 1 spot of the 229 restaurants in Launceston.
What We Ate
The name makes it pretty clear that beef is the star of the show here. For those that are slow on the uptake, the tight menu lists ‘before the cow’, ‘the black cow’, ‘to the side of the cow’, ‘to accompany the cow’ and ‘after the cow’ as options to hammer the point home. Non beef eaters have one choice; market fresh fish of the day. Steak sizes range from 200g to 450g and I love that you can order some cuts in 100g increments. As some of the steaks are very generous, Black Cow welcomes sharing, which is refreshing. Not only will this prevent you from overindulging, but it also allows you try out more than one option if you are so inclined. We elected to share a 450g New York cut porterhouse with truffled béarnaise (me) and peppercorn (The Hubs) sauces. Even when sharing, each diner gets an individual serve of potato galette with dijon cream and chives.
We spent the day visiting Cataract Gorge and had worked up quite an appetite. A good steak takes time to cook and to keep the hunger pangs at bay while we waited, we chose the house made ciabatta loaf to start. The still warm bread comes with a delightful olive oil and balsamic dipper which prepped our taste buds for what was to come.
The Black Cow Bistro Launceston offers a number of sides and we chose one each to share. I couldn’t resist the roasted pumpkin and sweet potato with almonds, brown butter and sumac spiced yoghurt. The Hubs is more of a purest and chose the steamed zucchini with lemon, chill dressing and parmesan, but on the night we dined broccoli replaced the zucchini, which suited us just fine.
When the food hit the table we could barely contain our delight. The steak was cooked as ordered (medium) and served sliced on an embossed wooden platter. We each got four generous slices from the portion, but I couldn’t finish my last one. The Hubs certainly wasn’t complaining as he claimed it as his own. Our steak was exceptionally lean and butter soft tender, just the way we like it. The lemony yoghurt sauce and almond flakes on the pumpkin and sweet potato were sensational and the potato galette was one of the finest I have ever eaten. The sides were so generous that despite how lovely they were, we couldn’t make it through the entire serve of either.
When you step inside you will notice there is no reception area at Black Cow Bistro Launceston. Don’t worry, you won’t be left wondering where to go as the attentive staff greet you almost immediately and show you to your table. Make sure you book because this cow is mighty popular. Our host explained each menu item in detail, including advising of unavailable items. Tasmania is cold at night, even in the height of summer. My long coat didn’t hang neatly on the back of the chair, but clearly the Black Cow is accustomed to patrons being bundled up as they efficiently whisked it away. Our server was attentive, friendly and discreet all at the same time but never pushy. Black Cow Bistro Launceston has clearly taken the time to think through all the little details. I loved the etched wine glasses and the unique pouch the bill was presented in.
The Black Cow Bistro Launceston is not a budget establishment, nor does it pretend to be. Our bill totaled $133 which is reasonable by Australian standards, but seems exorbitant when compared to SE Asia where we travel most often. It was worth every penny. I could not fault one thing on my plate and my only regret is that Launceston is just that bit too far away for me to become a regular diner. That said, considering we only paid $55 per person return for our Jetstar flights maybe we can justify popping down for dinner a little more often. As long as I employ all my tips for scoring a bargain flight it could be on the cards 🙂
Does the Black Cow Bistro Launceston appeal to you? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Until Next Time …
Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored. We paid for our meal at The Black Cow Bistro Launceston in full and as always, all opinions are my own. This post contains some affiliate links which will earn me a few cents to contribute to the running of this blog if you make a qualifying purchase.
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