Photography obsessed writer and urban explorer. Lover of nature, art and long weekends. Adelaide, South Australia.
Published May 18th 2017
Winner of Best Themed Restaurant in Australia
Last weekend I finally visited the restaurant that I've had on my wish list for a while now - the Mallee Fowl restaurant in the Riverland. It was everything I had hoped for and more. What a fantastic dining experience the Mallee Fowl is!
The Mallee Fowl Restaurant is the Riverland's longest running restaurant and is Australia's only themed restaurant running 100% off the grid. New owners, Frank and Sue, have just taken over and, while making some exciting changes, they have kept the restaurant as it's always been - very quirky and unique.
The food is good and there's plenty of it on the plate. Our meat selections were cooked to perfection. The Mallee Fowl proudly uses as much locally sourced produce in their dishes as they can. We had the Chefs Specialty - a meat selection platter of beef, kangaroo, lamb and chicken steaks with salad and chips. It was a perfect choice and the giant platter just seemed to disappear. We spied another table tucking into their burgers and we all agreed that that was going to be our choice on our next visit. Without a lie, the burgers were the size of a dinner plate! It's hard to choose actually, everything looks great and there's an interesting variety of menu items to choose - crocodile, barramundi, steaks, pizza and lots more. The menu is quite tantalising and has such an Aussie feel - it's the kind of place you just want to go back to again and again.
The meat is cooked on a giant grill at the front of the restaurant. Watching the chef cook just adds to the warm country experience. The staff also made us feel so welcome. They were very friendly and attentive.
The restaurant offers a free pick up and drop off service from your accommodation too - simply wonderful service. For those who wish to stop overnight on their huge native bushland property, there are free campsites with showers and toilets available. The Mallee Fowl simply have it all together for the tourism trade. It's no wonder this place is so popular.
The indoor and outdoor decor is worth a trip on its own. Walk around outside and look at the signs and rustic Aussie-themed garden decorations, particularly at the front entrance gate. There are lots of talking points. We laughed often and had a truly fabulous time.
The Mallee Fowl Restaurant is set on 24 acres of native bushland named Ardyakka Park. The property is on the Sturt Highway, just 4kms from Berri in the heart of the Riverland in South Australia. The restaurant is like no other that you have visited. They have their own water and power supply and even have their own quandong plantation. There's a giant outdoor fire pit with room for bands to play and plenty of seating. The area is surrounded by tin sheds which become grill spots and bars for outdoor functions. I can just imagine how magic it would be to visit at night, sitting around the fire, drinking some fine local wines and listening to great Aussie music.
The idea of the Mallee Fowl was born way back in 1997 when the original owners were sitting around a fire, drinking red wine and reciting Banjo Patterson poems. That feeling still exists, visiting this restaurant is like visiting an Australian outback homestead.
When:Closed Mondays & Tuesdays, Wednesdays 11am until 4pm, Thursdays 11am until 4pm, Fridays 11am until 4pm and from 6pm until late, Saturday 11am until 4pm and then 6pm until late, Sunday 11am until 4pm