If I had to pick two words to sum up the Eyre Peninsula, those words would be spectacular and friendly. Spectacular scenery and spectacular seafood is the reason they call Eyre Peninsula; Australia’s Seafood Frontier, and they’ve just picked up a gold award from SA Tourism to prove it. Friendly people, determined to feed your soul. What’s not to love?
The Eyre Peninsula is South Australia unplugged. Generations of farming and fishing families quietly get on with the job of feeding the state and the nation (and supplying a significant number of top international chefs) with produce as pure as the fresh air and clean seas. Breathe deeply. Dig in and enjoy.
Tourists travel the globe in search of places like this, but hey, we just call it our local. Check out more fantastic places to eat, buy and stay local in Eyre Peninsula through Eat Local SA.
Five Loaves Bakery
Can anything speak to our foodie heart more eloquently than a good old-fashioned country bakery, full of flaky pastry-clad goodies to refuel you along the open road? Nothing comes to mind. In fact, country bakeries in South Australia are the stuff of legend. And the legend lives on at the Five Loaves Bakery and licensed café in Cummins, a little town deep in the heart of sheep and grain country.
Some of that local grain is milled into flour by Cummins Milling right here in town, and then turned into artisan breads and baked goods at Five Loaves Bakery, just a stone’s throw away. Drop in Wednesday through to Friday for a fresh sour dough or order ahead for an oven-fresh ciabatta. The eggs come from a youngster just down the road a bit, and the honey is from just up the road a bit, at Sweetheart Honey. The meat in your tasty chunky pie comes all the way from the Cummins Meat Store – next door. Now you know why there are Regional Awards on the wall.
Five Loaves Bakery is family friendly (including a baby changing room and provision for thirsty pets in the outdoor area). And the staff are all local too, and up for a chat anytime about what to see and do while you are on the peninsula. Pick up a pack of apricot or apple scrolls to sustain you on the road and make sure you try the amazing Seeduction Loaf, made with mixed grains soaked in apple juice.
Sustained with a good dose of scrumptiousness, we can easily make it down to the foot of the peninsula and Port Lincoln, known to the locals as the seafood capital of Australia, and home to a thriving local gourmet scene.
Del Giorno’s Café Restaurant
Getting to know the edible locals in Port Lincoln is easy – just book yourself a table at Del Giorno’s Café Restaurant on the foreshore at Boston Bay. The menu here is designed to position Eyre Peninsula front and centre as a culinary destination. As part of this excellent plan, Del Giorno’s Café Restaurant menu includes locally grown lamb and beef and they are committed to serving only locally caught and farmed seafood. It’s all part of their sustainability ethos, and a swag of local and national awards (including a silver at this year’s SA Tourism Awards) are proof that they’re on the right track.
So what’s on that menu? Let’s see. There’s locally farmed multi-award winning Kinkawooka Mussels served Belgian style, cooked in a pot with tomato, white wine and a touch of fresh chilli, and served up with a side of chips and home-made mayo. Eyre Peninsula Prime SAMM (South African Meat Merino) Lamb is marinated in the chef’s own spice blend and served on a bed of warm pumpkin and mint salad with a sticky pomegranate sauce. Try a Mori Seafood tuna steak to find out why Japanese chefs get so excited about produce from our pristine oceans. Or for a meal as spectacular as the Eyre Peninsula’s own seascapes, check out the seafood platter to share, loaded with oysters from Coffin Bay, Kinkawooka black mussels, Spencer Gulf king prawns, King George whiting and southern calamari. The only question to ask yourself is, do you have any room left for the wickedly rich local Melt fudge to finish? Well, do you?
The Fresh Fish Place
After a demonstration of the flavour and freshness of local seafood, you might want to try your hand in the kitchen yourself. You can choose from the day’s catch direct from the boat at The Fresh Fish Place, and take a first-hand look at this multi-award winning fish business in action while you’re there with behind the scenes tour too. Find out how to open an oyster and peel a prawn the way the professionals do it, and finish with a tasting of fish smoked in-house, or try their very own pickled mussels, squid, scallops and Coffin Bay octopus.
If ever there was an opportunity to find out about lesser known delicious fish and seafood species, this is it. Here’s your chance to be properly introduced to reef snapper, snook and goatfish, just to name a few. And if you’re a bit wary of cooking your bounty, how about timing your visit to coincide with one of The Fresh Fish Place’s seafood cooking school classes for a little help from an expert? There’s no pressure to perform here; these classes are part demonstration, part chat, and maybe a little hands-on help here and there. Then you get to tuck your copy of the recipes safely away, and tuck into a lunch of the demonstrated dishes with the guest chef of the day and your classmates.
No foodie destination is complete without an all-day breakfast option. Thankfully, Cruisers Café has this covered, with hearty breakfasts for all comers. House made cheesy beans anyone? Those with a commitment to a healthy start to the day will open up like a flower opens up to sunshine in the presence of Cruisers Café’s famous house-made Blossom Bircher Muesli. And those with a craving for old-fashioned flavour will find peace and serenity in the shape of a sweetly pink house-made vanilla slice or a piece of passionfruit cheesecake with their coffee. Aahhh, that’s better.
Streaky Bay Hotel Motel
Over the other side of the peninsula lies the little township of Streaky Bay. Yes, it really is streaky, by the way. Apparently it’s because of oils released by a species of seaweed.
There’s an excellent view of the famous streaks from the al fresco deck of the Streaky Bay Hotel Motel. Few hotels these days offer the relaxed, family-friendly vibe that rules here. There might be live music going on in the bar, or your night could be one of their frequent feature nights with a special on steaks, schnitzels or a selection from the carvery. You might even find a local in the bar who knows the best way to catch a razorfish (and if you do, listen up – they’re delicious!).
There’s a whiff of Mexican and a touch of Asian in the menu selection and the pub makes the most of local seafood too, with an enticing selection from the oyster bar to start, locally caught whiting and garfish on offer, and a show-stopping seafood platter for two that is entirely local produce. Be amazed (and very well-fed).