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The Whistlestop Cafe

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by Karen Ross (subscribe)
I love slow travel, slow food and discovering new adventures and delicious regional food in new locations. Check my travel tips on Instagram
Published June 14th 2016
Warm fire, warm smiles
Temperatures have been plummeting in Goolwa recently, so I've been on a mission to find a warm and toasty bolthole for the winter. I may have found it at The Whistlestop Cafe.

The Whistlestop in Goolwa
The Whistlestop in Goolwa

The Whistlestop is open every single day, from 10am, for coffee, cakes, brunch, lunch, drinks and dinner. I'd heard a whisper around town that chef, Andy Burt, had put together an enticing winter menu and that he cooks a mean steak. An excellent chef and an enticing menu are certainly incentives but, as fickle as I am, I had also heard of another incentive; a roaring fire.

Roaring fire at The Whistlestop
Roaring fire at The Whistlestop

So when I stepped inside the toasty-warm cafe on a chilly Goolwa evening recently, my first stop was the fireplace. Then I met the chef.

Andy Burt, Whistlestop Chef
Andy Burt, Whistlestop Chef

Andy, and owners Peter and Sue Rankine, welcomed us with warm smiles as we were shown to our table, not far from the fireplace.

Impressed by the crisp, white tablecloth and eager to contemplate a brand new menu, I settled in with a sense of anticipation.

Crisp white tablecloth
Crisp white tablecloth

My husband ordered a bottle of Pertaringa Shiraz from McLaren Vale and enjoyed a glass each while considering the menu.

We decided to share the salad of marinated, chargrilled octopus and chorizo, dressed with a red wine vinaigrette. Although the octopus was a little too tangy for my palate, the chargrill flavour matched well with the chorizo and the salad was delightful.

Warm Octopus Salad with Chorizo
Marinated chargrilled octopus with chorizo and red wine vinaigrette

My husband had also heard about Chef Andy's mean steaks which made his decision an easy one; fillet steak, medium rare.

It was tender, tasty and cooked to perfection, in keeping with Andy's reputation. A more generous serve of vegetables would have made this dish ultra perfect.

Fillet Steak at The Whistlestop
Fillet Steak

Indecisive at the best of times, I had difficulty choosing between the confit of duck breast with quinoa and goats cheese or the pork cutlet, marinated in char siu and maple syrup with wild black rice and roasted cashews. I liked the idea of the Cantonese-style char siu flavour so I settled on the pork cutlet which was accompanied by a crisp salad with orange and ginger dressing.

Pork Cutlet
Pork Cutlet

The sweet flavour suited the pork, as did the tangy salad dressing and I loved the crunchy roasted cashews and black rice.

Too full for dessert, I enjoyed the art, painted by local artists of course, and the ambience of the room instead.

The service was both friendly and efficient, and the scary part, the bill, was really very reasonable.
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Why? Warm and welcoming on a winter's evening
When: 7 days 10am till late.
Phone: 08 8555 1171
Where: 7 Hays Street Goolwa South Australia 5214
Cost: Mains $20-$35
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