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SA's Iconic Pie Floater at the Coorong Cafe

Home > Adelaide > Cafes | Day Trips | Family | Food and Wine | Lunch
by Paula McManus (subscribe)
Photography obsessed writer and urban explorer. Lover of nature, art and long weekends. Adelaide, South Australia.
Published May 12th 2023
Craving for a pie floater?
The South Aussie pie floater. It's iconic and a winter staple for many of us. The Pie Floater was added to the Australian National Trust register as a 'South Australian Heritage Icon' in 2003.

Pie Floater
Pie Floater at the Coorong Cafe (paula mcmanus)

Pie Floaters are a unique dish founded in Adelaide, South Australia. This dish comprises a meat pie turned upside-down in a bowl of thick pea soup. It is traditionally served with a lashing of tomato sauce on top and vinegar on the side.

The origin of the dish is attributed to our British roots, where 'pea and pie supper' and 'floaters' (dumplings in soup) are traditional Yorkshire dishes.

Coorong Cafe
Coorong Cafe, Hindmarsh Island (©paula mcmanus)

Since the 1860s, pie floaters have been dished up to Adelaideans from horse and hand-drawn pie carts and vans. At one time in the 1880s, there were 13 pie carts in the city - a big clue as to how many of the population were partial to a pie floater!

Interest in the SA dish started to wane and the last surviving regular pie cart, the Cowley's cart, closed in 2010. But, you can rent one for hire - Cafe de Vili's has a cart available for events. Apart from that, the world-famous pie floater can be found in bakeries and pubs.

Coorong Cafe
Coorong Cafe, Hindmarsh Island (©paula mcmanus)

It's wonderful to see that the Coorong Cafe, a food truck business on Hindmarsh Island has recently included the pie floater in their winter menu, and it's going great guns with the locals!

The Coorong Cafe, only a few metres from the mouth of the Murray River, specialises in cooking fresh local fish and seafood. My interest was piqued when I saw a post on Facebook advertising that their menu now included this much-celebrated meal.

So, off we went to get one of our own for lunch. The pie was upside-down, which is the correct way to present it. The pie was crispy and hot. The pea soup was thick and chunky. It was a delight to eat on a cold but sunny Saturday.

Coorong Cafe
Coorong Cafe, Hindmarsh Island (©paula mcmanus)

The pie floater will remain on the Coorong Cafe menu throughout winter. If you didn't need a good excuse to go for a drive to the south coast, then you have one now.

There's often live music playing and the views just can't be beaten. Check out their Facebook page for opening hours, the menu and to contact them for more info.

The Coorong Cafe and Murray Mouth are approximately 13kms from Goolwa. Goolwa is an easy and picturesque 90 minute drive from Adelaide and perfect for a day trip or weekend away.

Coorong Cafe
Coorong Cafe, Hindmarsh Island (©paula mcmanus)

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Why? Warm up with a pie floater
When: Check their Facebook page for opening hours
Phone: 0404 801 969
Where: Coorong Cafe, Sugars Beach, Hindmarsh Island
Your Comment
Craving for a pie floater? After seeing the photo - a definite no. I always wondered what a pie floater looked like and your article has educated me.
by Neil Follett (score: 3|4701) 14 days ago
A great dish and a great cafe in a great location. Win-win-win!
by Michael Genrich (score: 3|1886) 14 days ago
by Karen Ross on 27/01/2016
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