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The Point Revolving restaurant at night

In 1973, the atmosphere at Wrest Point Casino in Hobart must have been electric as Australia’s elite gathered for the grand opening, with the who’s who of Australia in attendance and the elegance of The Point Revolving Restaurant beckoning them upstairs. This wasn’t just Australia’s first casino, it was also a glamorous entertainment venue packed with sophisticated drinking, dining and entertainment options that had never been seen in the country before.

I can still almost hear Carly Simons’ “You’re So Vain” as I strut through the brightly lit reception and take in the ambience, with the rotating gilded and Swarovski crystal-encrusted peacocks of the infamous Birdcage Bar taking centre stage. The Birdcage Bar was once Australia’s most glamorous and happening bar, and it still exudes a vibrant energy. I am powerless to resist those peacocks’ glitter and retro charm.

The Birdcage bar at Wrest Point
The Birdcage Bar at Wrest Point Casino in Hobart

Settling into a booth, my wife and I buy a glass of wine and imagine the lively scenes that must have unfolded here in the past. The original risque frescoes on the wall were created by Charles Billich, an Australian surrealist painter whose work can also be seen in The Vatican (although these paintings aren’t saucy like the ones in Hobart). When Wrest Point Casino opened, no expense was spared and its louche reputation for topless revues and good times was legendary. Seek out the display cases just off the lobby and you can see some of the incredible (and apparently very heavy) original showgirl costumes from the revues.

Our final destination for the evening is the equally renowned Point Revolving Restaurant, perched on the 17th floor of the tower. I almost feel like my semi-formal attire should be replaced with bell-bottom slacks and a wing collar long-sleeve shirt to fully appreciate our night as my wife and I step into the retro lift and the anticipation builds for our visit to what is Tasmania’s, and arguably one of Australia’s, most historic and iconic restaurants at the top of Hobart’s tallest building.

Wrest Point Casino
Wrest Point Casino in Hobart
Living it up at The Point Revolving Restaurant
The Point Revolving Restaurant in days gone by

However, the lift’s leisurely ascent to the 17th floor doesn’t prepare us for the surprise of the slick modernity and classic glamour of The Point’s reception. A dark marble desk, golden lights, and a wine rack boasting an impressive selection of Penfold’s Grange greet us, signalling that we’ve arrived at a truly special place. A case of napkin rings with engraved names awaits the return of VIPs and long-standing regular guests, adding a personal touch to the experience of dining at The Point.

Engraved napkin rings at The Point Revolving Restaurant
Get your own napkin ring at The Point Revolving Restaurant

We’re escorted to our window table, introduced to our waitress, presented with the impressive wine list and menu and offered sparkling or still water. As we take in the semi-retro decor, flames erupt to my right. However, rather than everyone running for the exit, all we hear are appreciative “Ooohs” from the adjoining table as their prawns are flambeed tableside.

Flambe at The Point Revolving Restaurant
Flambé at The Point Revolving Restaurant

Part of The Point Revolving Restaurant’s charm is its nod to the 1970s glory days of the restaurant, with its signature flambe dishes still on the menu. There are prawns with Pernod and red curry sauce served with rice pilaf and pineapple salsa, Steak Diane with eye fillet medallions, cognac, mushrooms and dauphine potato, with the grand finale – and the biggest flames – coming from classic crepes Suzette with Grand Marnier for dessert.

All these classics feature delicious local produce with quality ingredients that are second to none. Trying to decide between the classic flambe dishes and other highlights like rock lobster souffle with bisque and local lamb rump is a tough choice.  After a long decision process, we settle on a mix of flambe and regular dishes for shared tasting and marriage harmony.

Next is the wine list, which is also impressive, especially the by-the-glass selection which we appreciate as we have different wine preferences. I opt for a glass of my favourite Bream Creek Chardonnay, followed by a few glasses of Tasmanian Pinot Noir recommended by the knowledgeable sommelier. My wife is equally delighted with her selections.

Our waitress is on point and in hot demand as she is also a flambe specialist. When our turn arrives, the show begins with fresh prawns and Pernod ignited with flair. As the dishes are presented, we’re not only impressed with the plating, but also the flavours which are amazing.

As our night progresses, we take in the glittering lights of Hobart as the restaurant gently revolves. It’s a pretty scene, but we decide it would also be great to return in summer to take in the Derwent River and Mt Wellington views while it’s light and enjoy the sunset.

Romantic dining in Hobart
Romantic dining at The Point Revolving Restaurant

With just enough room for a shared dessert, we agree on the classic Baked Alaska Meringue with passionfruit, mascarpone and amaretto. It was a tough choice as there were so many other delicious desserts on offer. We’re so full that we pass on coffee and tea and make our way to the exit, which is not where we think it is as the restaurant is constantly moving. Or perhaps because of the glasses of excellent Tasmanian wine we enjoyed.

Dessert at The Point Revolving Restaurant
Dessert at The Point Revolving Restaurant

It’s impossible not to be charmed by the The Point Revolving Restaurant’s history and the attentive staff who go out of their way to make everyone’s night is special. While we were initially drawn to the restaurant because it revolved, our overall dining experience was superb and a highlight of our Hobart visit.

If you’re heading to Tasmania to explore Hobart’s history or you’re a local, don’t miss the history and spectacle of this iconic restaurant or its amazing dishes and great service. Dining at The Point Revolving Restaurant is a delight from start to finish and offers a wonderful night to remember, just like it did when the restaurant first opened in the 1970s.

Disclosure: The writers dined as guests of The Point Revolving Restaurant and would not hesitate to dine at this restaurant again at their own expense.

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Trevor Templeman is a photographer and writer who travels the world capturing the essence of locations through their landscape, architecture and people. His words and photographs are published in magazines, newspapers and online around the world.