From tip to toe, Van Bone is a tribute to all that is good in Tasmania
A cruisy 50-minute drive outside of Hobart’s CBD towards the Tasman Peninsula sits Van Bone restaurant in Marion Bay. Upon arrival to the venue’s lush grounds, if your breath’s not taken by the area’s stunning scenery and million-dollar views, the new restaurant’s end to end dining experience surely will.
Owned and operated by three proud Tasmanians, the restaurant was born out of a passion for their home state and the amazing produce, products and people that the island is beholden to. Before the intimate dining experience commences inside Van Bone’s warm interior, diners are encouraged to explore the region. Nearby accommodation recommendations are generously offered on the Van Bone website to take in everything the region has to offer- before the first bite.
Part owner and Van Bone’s Restaurant Manager, Laura Stucken, hasn’t always worked directly in the hospitality industry but has had close ties. Prior to opening the doors of her new restaurant, Stucken was an interior designer spending time overseas and in Australia, working at some of the country’s best architecture studios. With an expansive portfolio designing hospitality venues and private residences, Laura applied her knowledge from the last decade to carefully craft an intimate dining setting that captures the local story within the building’s materials, furniture and finishing touches. Laura’s extensive experience as an architect shows in the considered mix of materials chosen to create Van Bone.
Approaching the venue, diners are met with the natural tones of rammed earth walls and welcomed by an oversized Tasmanian Oak clad door. The exterior Tasmanian Oak is stained with a Dulux product to protect it from the weather. Stepping through the threshold, taste buds are tantalized with the smell of the days harvest carefully being prepared over a wood fired oven. Following the aromas further as you step inside, the warm and inviting tones of Classic grade Tasmanian Oak line the interior walls and ceiling. With similar tones echoing underfoot, Classic grade tongue and groove Tasmanian Oak flooring leads people into the dining room where the feasting takes place. Tasmanian Oak window’s frame the exceptional views to Hell Fire Bluff and Maria Island beyond.
“We wanted the fit-out to have a domestic feel and be warm and welcoming. I’ve always pushed for Tasmanian timbers to be included in my past projects, so choosing Tasmanian Oak for the fit-out was a natural choice to help create this feel. People are always really receiving of being surrounded by timber and natural products,” says Stucken.
Combining the warmth of Tasmanian Oak, supplied by Neville Smith Forest Products, with other industrial materials like steel and concrete used modestly in other sections of the interior, the materials come together to create the perfect ambiance to comfortably enjoy the culinary journey Van Bone takes its guests on. With a seating time of 3-4 hours, plates are brought out one at a time showcasing Tasmania’s finest from land and sea.
“Our entire menu is based on what’s currently in season. If we haven’t personally grown it, it hasn’t come from far away. We source our meat and fish from responsible and sustainable local suppliers and our drinks menu only features Tasmanian wine, beer, cider, spirits and house made non-alcoholic cocktails,” says Laura.
Typically holding no more than 16 guests at a time, patrons are seated at one of three tables, two high-top tables and one long communal table- all handcrafted from torched Tasmanian Oak by local furniture designer-maker, Simon Ancher.
“I’ve worked with Simon on several projects in the past and knew that we wanted the furniture in Van Bone made by him. We worked together to come up with a design that helped serve into the vision of creating an experience when dining with us.”
“At each setting of the long table, diners will find a small drawer that pulls out to reveal all of their cutlery for their meal. The cutlery actually comes from our own families’ heirloom collections, with the exception of the final savory knife that’s custom made from Hydrowood Blackwood, a reclaimed Tasmanian Timber from the bottom of Lake Pieman,” says Stucken.
From the people, to the building materials, to the food and down to the furniture, dining at Van Bone isn’t your typical dining experience.
“We even serve our food on pottery that’s been made by a local Tasmanian ceramicist. We wanted to create an experience where we could showcase what we’re so proud of here in Tasmania that also captures the spirit of the people here who are growing, crafting and creating,” says Stucken.