Since the Orion is providing us with a Tasmanian food and wine focus, and there are only 63 passengers, it probably won’t shock you when I say the food has been extraordinary. A sampling from the dinner menu: fillet of local blue-eye trevala; Cole Bay scallops in basil butter; slow-cooked loin of local lamb; olive oil poached Tasmanian ocean trout; summer salad leaves with Tassie blue cheese dressing.
The key, of course, is that almost everything executive chef Frederic Cyr (from Montreal) cooks up is local. The seafood, the lamb, the produce, the fruit, the cheese, and even the wine. The dinners have been as good as you’d find in the finest restaurants in Australia and Frederic tells me he can do that because he is working with such premium ingredients and because he doesn’t have to make hundreds and hundreds of plates of the same thing.
And I have to say that as excellent as dinner has been, I’ve also looked forward to lunch and breakfast—and I’m not a breakfast guy. I don’t really care about the omelette station or the toasted bagels with Tasmanian smoked salmon and capers (although certainly the other cruisers seem to appreciate them); what I look forward to is a big bowl of fruit. It’s extraordinary. I can’t remember the last time I had honeydew melon that tasted so, so…well, honeydoish. I mean, I just linger over every bite. Same with the rest of the fruit, which is almost all coming from local sources (remember that it’s the start of summer down here), right down to the luscious Bruny Island strawberries. So good.