Dunalley Waterfront Cafe and Gallery

Licensed $-$$   Hat icon   Glass icon
4 Imlay Street, Dunalley
03) 6253 5122
Open: Wednesday to Monday 9.00am to 5.00pm and dinner Friday and Saturday.

Just as the surrounding fire-scarred bush is freshly greening, so Dunalley, to the town folks’ great credit, is once again flourishing. And, on the Sunday of the Queen’s Birthday weekend, the place was jumping. The newish Bangor Wine and Oyster Shed was chockers – as it deserves to have been almost since day one. The car park at the Dunalley Hotel was almost full and there was a large crowd awaiting their fish and chips, scallops and fresh fish takeaway orders at the Fish Market.

On the way down we’d dropped into the crowded Bream Creek Farmers Market where we had to queue for a bucket of tender, char-grilled octopus tentacles from Jonathan Rickett’s hugely popular Eaglehawk Octopus stall. Plus we couldn’t resist trying the Flamecake stall’s flamkuchen, the famed pizza¬-like specialty of Bavaria and Alsace consisting of thin, crisp wood-fired rye and potato flat bread topped with sour cream, chopped onions and speck. Much lighter than a pizza, it was totally delicious.

So, by the time we took our table on the deck at the Waterfront Café, we’d well and truly taken the edge off our appetite. Which is not the best way to arrive for reviewing a restaurant. But we’ve eaten there quite a number of times since chef Ben Bate and partner Stephanie Stinkers, both with very impressive hospitality CVs, took over almost six years ago. And I’ve found over that time that the consistent excellence of the food and service combined with the wonderful water views over fishing boats to The Narrows make it one of the most enjoyable luncheon eateries in the state.

And so it was this time starting with complimentary demi-tasses of rich, creamy cauliflower soup. Then the sweet, flaky fleshed fish in the fish and chips turned out to be fresh, locally caught snapper, a gift of climate change as the country’s warming East Coast current brings more wonderful eating fish like snapper further south into Tasmanian waters.

Just as good was a perfectly grilled and rested rib of beef, the meat itself of superb quality and flavour and the product, I was told, of a small farm in the Huon. The accompanying thick, hand-cut chips were good, the salad fresh, nicely composed and dressed and the only hiccup was an incongruous curry-flavoured butter topping the beef in place of the menu’s stated mustard and garlic butter. It was a strange choice that, for me at least, simply didn’t work.

As good as the beef was, I was envious of the man at the next table tucking in with obvious relish to a richly gratineed seafood pie, a dish a friend says is the best she’s ever had and something she orders every time.

Other options include roasted pumpkin tart with an apple and walnut salad, pork belly on cauliflower puree with seared scallops and Romesco sauce, a steak sandwich with the lot and truffle-salted fries and Greek-style lamb kofta with eggplant dip, tzatziki and Greek salad. And there’s also a couple of pizzas.

The desserts, cakes and bickies in the past have been excellent, as is the coffee and the well-priced Bream Creek wines.
Ben said that after a long period of slow trade immediately following the bushfires, they’re once again as busy as ever. And it seems Dunalley generally is happily sharing in the area’s regeneration.

Oysters $16.90/$25.90; Soup $12.90; Pizza $20.90; Mains $19.90 – $28.90; Beef rib $39.90

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