Catering for Launceston’s hungry diners every day is no mean feat. A number of businesses started slow and small and took advantage of the opportunities for food stalls and vans around the city – like Harvest farmers’ market and Eat Street. Refining their menus and growing a loyal following helped them develop their vision and ultimately take the leap of faith and move into bricks ‘n’ mortar premises. Here are three that followed that route and now add to the personality of the city’s food scene with deeply authentic and satisfying food.
Turkish Tukka’s bright blue van was a much loved sight to diners hungry for a satisfying bite with a burst of Anatolian flavours. The Tukka van was a regular installation at ‘Eat Street’ and Harvest Launceston. It was especially popular with devotees of the Gozleme, a first for Tasmania thanks to owner Yusuf Karazor.
Now Yusuf has swapped George Square for George Street and restaurant premises, and his customers are tucking into top quality Turkish style kebabs as fast as he can make them.
Yusuf’s not surprised, as his kebabs are the real deal - made from premium fresh lamb or chicken, marinated for 24 hours and cooked slowly over charcoal. Mouth-wateringly good. The cuisine he serves comes from years exploring the different regions of Turkey, and travelling through Asia. Back here in Tassie, that translates to subtle spice notes, a touch of chilli for winter warmth, and real Turkish authenticity.
Turkish Tukka 77 George St, Launceston
The Burger Junkie truck put some miles on the clock before Cameron and Sharla Gallagher moved into their premises on St John Street. Business is still humming but in roomy premises with a laid-back, burger-joint vibe. It’s a tribute to the family friendly north-American style places, complete with pin balls machines and a mural of Samuel L. Jackson from the movie Pulp Fiction, painted by Josh Foley
The food is satisfaction on a plate. Everything’s made in-house including the burgers and sauces, from top quality Tasmanian produce. Winter sees duck and smoked meats on the menu – whatever gets the chefs excited, says Cameron. Vegos and vegans have their own special list.
It’s all washed down by a constantly changing choice of Tassie craft beers and wines. The timbers of the bar are the old trusses from Boags Brewery, and the saw marks are still visible if you look. Most people are far too busy fending off the winter chills with a Big Kahuna or a Honey Bourbon Chicken and fries.
Burger Junkie 105 St John St, Launceston
Soups from Earthy Eats kept stallholders at Harvest Launceston farmers market toasty through many a wintry Saturday morning. Now Laura Keith's restaurant on Kingsway is buzzing and fragrant with the same hearty, flavoursome soups, broths and smoothies - plus a salad bar if you’re ducking in for a quick lunch.
Having grown up with food that was wholesome, down to earth and delicious, Laura set out to put the same thing on beautiful earthenware plates for her customers. The menu changes seasonally with beets, root veg and middle-eastern spices to sustain us through the cold.
It’s not just a flair for food, but science which enables Laura to get the rich flavour combinations Earthy Eats in known for into a bowl. A former PhD scientist, she brings the same precise approach to her ingredients in the kitchen. It pays off – try a Spicy Thai Soup with a slice of sourdough when it’s cold out, and you’ll be glowing with warmth and satisfaction the rest of the day.
Earthy Eats 19 Kingsway, Launceston
– By Fiona Stocker