Contemporary café culture is something you might associate with big cities. There are so many articles about what’s new and cool on the east coast of Australia that surely no one cares anymore?
You might even associate those popular cafes with some bigger regional centres. Maybe.
But this article covers something you may not know: you can find some pretty eclectic cafes in our regional towns that wouldn’t be out of place in Melbourne! Combining homemade treats with fresh modern favourites and local produce, these venues are comfortable, quirky and well-worth the stop (yes, your smashed avo is on the menu but it’s so much more than that!).
So we’ve decided to highlight four ‘in vogue’ cafes on the Eyre Peninsula, in places you might not expect. Regional towns are cool too you know!
1. ALICIA'S, 58 BALLANTYNE ST, WUDINNA SA 5652
Relax around low coffee tables under the grape vine outside or enjoy the fragrant scent of flowers indoors at this little oasis.
Alicia’s is run by (surprise) Alicia Dupree, an Eyre Peninsula local with a flair for food and flowers. Apparently oasis is the right word to use: “We so often hear the term ‘oasis’ especially from travellers who have just crossed the Nullarbor," she tells me.
“I’m most proud of our outdoor area which is green and lush thanks to a wildly growing grapevine. It’s simply not expected in rural SA.”
For almost eight years this little café has been a hub for locals and a pleasant stop for visitors, with ever-changing daily specials (think local prawn cold rolls, zucchini feta slice and ravioli with creamy bacon and vegetable sauce to name a few) and a delicious array of homemade sweet treats. Alicia describes her food as ‘real’. There’s no hipster pretention here.
“I always wanted the café to feel comfortable and homey… a relaxed feel,” she explains. “People often notice we don’t have a clock on display in the dining area. When you come to the café ultimately I am welcoming you into my home.
“I love researching the ever changing food trends and trying new combinations but mostly our food is what I call ‘real’. It’s delicious, fresh and real food.”
For Alicia, the close-knit community feel of the region is its best feature.
“I love the EP. I am passionate about how lucky we are with our climate (most of the time), our sense of a real community and our scenery.
“We have the most beautiful beaches but what we have inland is equally amazing.
“We moved to Wudinna in 2001 and I told my husband five years, that’s it… 18 years later we’re still here.”
2. BAYFUNKTION CAFÉ, 51 WELLS ST, STREAKY BAY SA 5680
Think fresh whiting, locally sourced beef short ribs in jalapeno, smoky paprika and tomato marinade, pho, and chicken and pork dumplings as part of an evolving menu. Throw in events, dinner evenings and live music, and you’ve got the eclectic Bayfunktion Café in Streaky Bay.
Need an example?
The café opened the ‘Oyster Funk Lounge’ over December-January, featuring Streaky Bay oysters, live music and local beer from Beer Garden Brewing.
Sounds perfect to us!
While this event has (sadly) ended, Bayfunktion is one to look out for and no doubt there will be other great events in the works. Sit inside, outside, or in the garden courtyard – this gem has a little something for everyone and is the perfect place to stop and visit while in the region.
3. L'ANSE TUMBY CAFÉ, 9 LIPSON RD, TUMBY BAY SA 5605
Bringing a French twist to the Eyre Peninsula, L’Anse Tumby Café has already been featured in a few different places, so you might have already heard of it.
We’ll be real, here – just check out their Instagram and gush over their photos. Seriously. These dishes are perfect for an Instagram-brag, and delicious as well. (Check out the Tumby Bay street art while you’re there for more Insta-potential!).
The French owners fell in love with this corner of the world, and brought something new and delicious with them for visitors and locals alike – and we’re grateful! Owner Grace said when the opportunity came up, they had to take it.
“After seeing the place, we completely fell in love with the region and decided to seize it,” she says.
“I love the produce; seafood in particular… the scenery, the stunning beaches and the people – genuinely kind-hearted people. And the way of life – calm, relaxed and almost stress-free. It makes us definitely not miss city life!”
Grace describes the food as French influenced in a cosy, relaxed atmosphere – using fresh and local produce of course. And with an emphasis on great presentation and exceptional service: ‘you eat with the eye first.’
Pancakes and waffles with brightly coloured fresh fruit, prawn and chicken Thai salad, corn fritters, traditional French Crème Brûlée, delicious pastries… and smashed avo.
If that doesn’t appeal to you, then we’re not sure what kind of café you’re looking for! As Grace says, L’Anse Tumby Café is ‘a beautiful surprise!’
4. THE PINK DOOR CO, 37 MAIN ST, CLEVE SA 5640
Combining a coffee bar with a homewares and lifestyle store, The Pink Door Co. is a unique option for the country town of Cleve.
When she outgrew her online store and home-styling business in 2015, owner Tayla Harris looked into a storefront. But the realities of a small town, where people aren’t buying homewares every day, meant combining café and shop made the best business sense. She hasn’t looked back, and offers something a little different for the area.
Sushi, pumpkin pesto pizza, quinoa green bean salad with haloumi (yum) and cheese platter boxes plus goodies like pink rocky road cheesecake, chocolate beetroot cake and raw treats = delicious.
Grab a coffee, browse the store and enjoy this contemporary café with everything you’d expect to find in the city.
Oct 31, 2020
The Eyre Peninsula should be just as well-known for its amazing rock formations as its beaches – they’re beautiful, ancient and perfect for exploring.
Oct 31, 2020
Okay, so we’re not famous for wine like some of our other South Australian cousins – we’re looking at you Barossa and the McLaren Vale – but that’s not to say we don’t have some nice places of our own to check out.