Determined to get the full taste of Tasmania during my visit, the first item on my list was crayfish. Also called rock lobsters, these sought-after crustaceans have delicately flavoured, firm, white flesh, and attract a particularly high price tag in the Xmas-New Year period.
Led by a brochure that we collected with our rental car, we set off for Dunalley Fish Market, keen to enjoy their promised crayfish and oysters shucked when you order them bounty. Turns out the brochure, and the sign on the outside of the wooden building itself, were incorrect, as there were only deep-fried seafood baskets available.
Disappointed after driving all the way from Hobart but not so easily thwarted, we recalled seeing a sign for crayfish rolls at a slightly less picturesque setting, a little way back up the road. What I'm calling The Dunalley Store is set back from the Arthur Highway on Constance Street. It doesn’t have a name on the signboard, just the words: petrol, crayfish, groceries. Locals either call it Marlene's shop (after owner Marlene Porter), the shop (as there aren't any other mixed businesses) or the Dunalley BP. On Google it's listed as R E & M A Porter, so it's hard to even know how to refer to it.
The old-school shop front, entered through a screen door, is shaded by striped awnings, with hand lettered signage boards propped against the wall. There’s a wooden bench seat where you can pull up and consume your Crayfish Roll ($16.80), and a rubbish bin where you can dispose of the packaging.
The roll is the most expensive item on their Coca-Cola branded chalkboard menu; hung behind the cluttered counter that offers up everything from filleting knives to fishing reels, plus all your grocery essentials.
Presented with salad on a soft white bun, it’s surprisingly delicious carpark food, that showcases medallions of the delicate, sweet crayfish meat.
We’re so impressed we head back inside to check out the Battered Scallop ($10.80/6) caper, advertised on a signboard beside the crayfish rolls. With fluffy golden batter in good proportion to the meaty, whole, roe-on Tasmanian scallops, damned if these six little deep-fried nuggets aren’t one of the most delicious fried foods I’ve stuffed into my mouth! The scallops are just cooked, the batter is crisp, and the whole thing is a flavour sensation.
Both the Porters nod sagely at our praise. It's not news to them; they've fried a lot of scallops in the thirty-nine years they’ve run this store "without ever taking two days off in a row”. We get to talking about crayfish and they volunteer that if we come back the next day after noon, we can buy whole crayfish caught that morning and cooked at the store.
Cue us, driving back to Dunalley at midday on New Year’s Eve to secure two whole crayfish for our supper. The still-warm pair of crustaceans, which set us back $150, are carefully wrapped in plastic, then newspaper, to keep them cool as we hurry back to Hobart.
In the renovated kitchen of our AirBnB find – a historic 1850s dwelling called Church Cottage in South Hobart - we quickly dismembered these eyecatching red beasties. The flesh comes out cleanly with very little effort.
We construct our own version of The Dunalley Store's sweet crayfish rolls, for a picnic in the tree-shaded backyard where we watch the sun go down behind Kunanyi (Mt. Wellington).
Laden with plenty of crayfish, our forty-buck apiece rolls were consumed with quality Tasmanian bubbles, sourced from Hop, Vine & Still, a fabulous little bottle shop in Hobart.
Letting nothing go to waste, we cooked up the shells into a shellfish butter.
The resulting, luminous orange butter was pretty intense when smeared onto a crusty white baguette, but scrubbed up a treat when used to create scrambled eggs for breakfast the next morning. If this is indicative of a typical Tasmanian New Year's Eve, I have to say I like it!
The Dunalley Store
30 Constance Street, Dunalley
Ph: (03) 6253 5134
Heading to Tasmania? Does My Bomb Look Big In This? has you covered...
The Taste of Tasmania: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 & Part 4.
Breakfast (Hobart): Born in Brunswick, Dandy Lane, Room for a Pony & Macquarie St. Food Store.
Lunch (near Hobart): Willie Smith's Apple Shed & The Dunalley Store.
Dinner (Hobart): The Source, Franklin, Frank & Templo.
Beyond Hobart: Freycinet Marine Farm, Harvest Launceston & Mudbar Restaurant.