PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
Steve Cumper is a chef who likes things a bit rustic and funky and who likes to get his hands dirty growing things on his small farm. And it was he who put Peppermint Bay on the national culinary map with menus that celebrated the region's produce back in the days when Peppermint Bay first opened. At that time, The Red Velvet Lounge had become little more than an ordinary country cafe. Now, he says, he realised a dream when he bought the business in December 2009, gave the heritage-listed building a moody new paint job and lifted the food to a new level.
During the day, The Red Velvet Lounge is a cafe serving first-rate cafe fare. On Friday and Saturday nights it moves into restaurant mode with an emphasis on local, in-season produce such as delicious clafoutis of summer cherries and diced heritage tomatoes with coriander and herbs to roll Asian-style in fresh wasabi leaves. Mains might feature pheasant, duck, pigeon, slow-roasted lamb, grilled tuna with ratatouille and pistou or a gremolda-crusted pork coteletta; its richness set against the sweet-sourness of a red cabbage, mint and pea salad. The Tasmanian wines available are well-priced and selected. Cumper will also shortly have the old Scotch oven which is attached to the premises, up and firing with plans for wood-fired roasts and some of his great breads.