Too busy getting to my destination, I’ve never paid much attention to Dunalley. It was the turn off to Port Arthur or a convenience stop.
Dunalley connects the Forestier and Tasman Peninsulas to Tasmania’s land mass by an isthmus that looks out at Blackman Bay on one side and the Dunalley Bay on the other. It’s a beautiful seaside town that has literally risen from the ashes of the 2013 bushfires.
The Waterfront Café is a good reason to make Dunalley its own destination.
An invitation appeared in our inbox, so the Two Girls headed south.
It won’t be a surprise that the Dunalley Waterfront Café is located on Dunalley’s waterfront. The Two Girls arrived at midday to see sunlight bounce sparkles off the water around the fishing boats moored in Blackman Bay.
We were warmly welcomed to the café by co-owner Steph Stinkens, a delightful host and our table attendant. Housed in a former cannery, the cafe provides indoor and covered outdoor seating and a selection of Tasmanian food produce and local art works for sale. It also acts as the Bream Creek cellar so you can do a wine tasting with or without your meal.
The large open café is decorated in sea colours with a twist, pale turquoise and lemon, more contemporary than kitsch. Their lunch menu is seafood, soup, pizza, salad and oysters. There is a selection of sweets. You can stop for a meal or a treat like a savoury or sweet scone.
The Two Girls took advice on the menu and selected two of the most popular dishes:
- Beer battered or pan fried fresh fish served with salad, fat chips and tartare sauce, $26.90
- Seafood pie with Tasmanian scallops, fresh fish and prawns topped with a potato and gruyere gratin, $28.90.
For dessert we chose:
- Dark chocolate brownie with ice-cream and chocolate sauce, $10.90
- Espresso cheesecake with berry coulis, $10.90.
We drank the Bream Creek Pinot Grigio.
Dunalley Waterfront Café generally tries to source their fish from Mures or Wilsons and their calamari from a local. On our visit, the fish of the day was either beer battered Boar fish or a grilled flounder. This Girl chose the tasty fish and chips with the Cascade Draught batter. It has a little extra yeast which fooled me into thinking it was a stout-based batter. The absolute standout meal was the seafood pie however. It was crammed with scallops, fish and prawns and topped with a fine grated potato gratin. The seafood was not drowning, I repeat, not drowning in white sauce. It was piping hot from the oven and perfectly cooked.
In retrospect, we might have more modestly chosen one dessert to share but as usual threw caution to the wind. The Other Girl lamented the lack of crust on the chocolate brownie but did threaten to drink the chocolate sauce it was sitting in. We cannot commend chef and co-owner Ben Bate enough for his baked espresso cheesecake however.
His secret is the addition of white chocolate and taking the cheesecake out of the oven while it still has a wobble – that’s a technical term. The base was the right depth and had the right amount of tension when pressed with a fork. The cheesecake was the most moist, smoothest, creamiest baked cheesecake EVER! Which is hard to admit from a self-professed Priscilla Queen of Desserts; but it’s true. Ben is a better baked cheesecake maker than This Girl.
We ate a terrific lunch. It was also a delight to take a drive in the country and this café offers a reprieve from the hustle and bustle that you often find with city eateries. A meal at the Dunalley Waterfront Café is a lovely treat and a relaxing experience. Good as its own outing but you can couple it with any one of the tourist opportunities in the area. In fact, the café’s webpage includes some suggestions you can consider if you want to make more of a day of it.
Thanks to Steph and Ben for their hospitality and generosity. The Two Girls would be pleased to come back and pay our own way next time.
Find their webpage here – Dunalley Waterfront Café andGallery.
They’re located at 4 Imlay Street, Dunalley (left turn as you’re entering the township – it’s well signed).
Call them on 6253 5122.
They’re open breakfast and lunch from 9 am until 5 pm and dinner on Friday and Saturday from 6 pm. They’re closed Tuesdays.
In the area? Try the Bream Creek Farmers Markets.
You might also be interested in Leap Farm too.