RSL dining offers a million-dollar Tasmanian  Port Esperance view at Dover RSL but when the lights go out at 6 pm it is all about RSL traditions as we remember them.

An RSL is not my normal dining choice, but it’s good to keep grounded and best to keep options open when there’s not a lot of choice in a small town like Dover, the southernmost town of this size in Tasmania. It’s just south of the Huon Valley, only a day trip from Hobart, at the head of Port Esperance.

Dover RSL has that typical Aussie pub look with a large bar, which props up the locals with a frieze of photos, the ghosts of presidents past.

Strawberry roulade dessert

What’s on the Dover RSL wine list?

The barman looks at me nervously when I ask him if they stock local gins. The answer is no, but they do have a wine list with which includes local Tasmanian wines by the glass and some very fine drops by a premium Tasmanian maker Josef Chromy, unfortunately not by the glass.

No problem, I’m soon very happily slipping my premium Chardonnay when suddenly the lights go out. In the RSL tradition, there’s a minute’s silence to remember the dead at 6 pm. Everyone stands in silence with heads bowed as we remember them, except for a little boy who says loudly, “What happens now?”

Strawberry roulade dessert

RSL dining – first in, best fed

I’m sitting in the bar nursing my Chardonnay and eyeing off the blackboard menu special, which is local Trevally, beer-battered with chips. Hurry up I say to K2, let’s get into the Bayview Dining room, which opens right after the pledge, but he’s more interested in finishing a beer, or two. By the time we are seated and place an order, there’s only one serve of the fish left, so K2 gets beef korma.

The trevally comes thickly beer battered but so fresh and deliciously tender. The chips are perfect, and I’m in a happy place.

K2 refuses to comment on his beef korma but the red he chooses to accompany it is a little flat and old.

We dine with a very young Queen Elizabeth benevolently overseeing the proceedings from the wall and a soundtrack that reminds me of Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

Freshly picked strawberries

RSL Dining at Dover RSL

As Gloria Gaynor promises, I will survive, but more surprisingly, I’m totally enjoying this very real, down-to-earth, no pretensions, dining experience.

My only regret is that I didn’t have room for the apple and rhubarb crumble. I bet it came with custard and actually looked like a crumble instead of something deconstructed that just tastes like a crumble.

Dover is a small town in Tasmania’s Far South overlooking the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, which separates mainland Tasmania from Bruny Island. This area is home to the Tahune Airwalk and the underground dolomite caverns of Hastings Caves which I’ll be writing about soon.  Find out more about the Huon Valley here..

Disclaimer:  Ed+bK was a guest of Tourism Tasmania to explore the Huon Valley but paid for her own meal.

Strawberry roulade