Victor Harbor is an ever-expanding part of South Australia. With new developments popping up left and right, more young families are moving to the area and the population is becoming more diverse. With this kind of growth, it is expected that businesses in Victor will also evolve to cater to a wider range of tastes and styles. One of the businesses that is looking to appeal to the new Victor Harbor is Chiton Beach Café. Operating out of the Chiton Beach Surf Life Saving Club they are looking at taking an old foundation and give it a new twist. The result is talented chefs delivering amazing dishes that are a rare sight in Victor. Well-crafted and endlessly creative.
Adelaide Food Central was able to get a good look at large selection of the Chiton Beach Café menu. Here is a brief overview of the dishes to whet your appetite. First up we have the breakfast menu.
With the goal being to get a good grasp on everything Chiton Beach Café has to offer we were served a plethora of dishes. For breakfast we were treated to the Smashed Avo, Chiton’s The Big Wave and the Hokey Pokey Pancake & Zepoli Stack.
With the aim being to provide a more varied palette in their dishes breakfast is a hard place to start. Bacon and Eggs is always Bacon and Eggs but even then, the chefs at Chiton Beach Cafe manage to spice things up. First is the Smashed Avo, with Carrot and Halloumi Fritters, Poached Eggs, Beetroot Hummus and Danish Feta. Smashed Avo is quickly becoming a breakfast favourite in cafes across Australia. With this they add Carrot and Halloumi Fritters to add just a bit more content and crunch to the dish as well as the Beetroot Hummus to add a contrasting yet welcome flavour to the dish.
Following that is The Big Wave. This is the Chiton Beach Café’s version of the Big Breakfast with Eggs your way, Hahndorf Smoked Bacon, Pork Sausage, House made Beans, Portobello Mushrooms, Roasted Herb Tomatoes, Greens, Hash Brown, Served with Toasted Focaccia. This dish introduces the philosophy behind Chiton Beaches dishes. A unique experience with locally sourced ingredients and creations you are not going to find anywhere else. The majority of this dish is a Big Breakfast yet cooked expertly and presented immaculately. Then you have the little touches that let it stand out. The Smoked Bacon that has that slight flavouring of a home-grown bacon. The House Made Beans that genuinely have a striking taste and flavour that has it stand apart from run of the mill baked beans. This is the breakfast that you’ve always loved with a few new additions to up the ante.
Finishing off Breakfast is the Hokey Pokey Pancake & Zepoli Stack. The Wow factor. Buttermilk Pancakes, Cinnamon Zepoli, Seasonal Berries, Nutella, Honeycomb Butter and Persian Fairy Floss. This is the sweet tooth breakfast option and it will take you to another world. A proper Cinnamon Zepoli that both stands out and blends in the flavours of the other ingredients. Honeycomb butter to add creaminess and Fairy Floss to add fluffiness. This dish has it all.
Moving on to lunch/dinner and we had EVERYTHING! Well nearly everything. I think we were missing two, maybe three dishes. Either way we had everything we could possibly have wanted. Zucchini Flowers, Beef Carpaccio, Peri Peri Soft Shell Crab, Coorong Angus Beef Fillet, Apple Wood Smoked Adelaide Hills Duck, and Pork Fillet. Does that sound like enough for you? And now to give you the rundown of this amazing selection.
Let’s start off with the Zucchini Flowers, a left of field Starter option but that’s what the Chiton Beach Café is all about. Stuffed with Ricotta and Preserved Lemon on a Ratatouille of Summer Vegetables with Macadamia Pesto and Puffed Wild Rice. This is not your normal starter so to ease you into things is a roller coaster ride of flavours and textures to give you something that sticks in your mind.
Now this is an odd one. Not the dish, it’s Beef Carpaccio which is staple in a lot of fine dining establishments. Generally, a light starter meant to ease you into the night but not this time. This was a contender for my favourite dish of the night, and I can’t honestly put my finger on why. Something about this dish just makes it amazing. Maybe it’s a combination of everything that makes it velvety smooth but so tasty. Truffle, Pecorino, Caper Gel, Quail Egg, Parsley Aioli and Pickled Shallot. Together it is magic.
On to the real meat of the starters. Peri Peri Soft Shell Crab with Pickled Daikon, Yam, Carrot, Fried Shallot, Mint and Coriander with some Fruit and Chili Salsa. This is the experience dish. With a robust and crunchy crab and the crisp flavours of herbs contrasted to the sweetness of the salsa that has a slight chili bite make this a journey of different taste sensations. A great option for those who want to start strong.
With that we reach the proper mains. A selection of hearty and gratifying dishes. Starting things off with the Coorong Angus Beef Fillet with Wild Mushrooms, Mille Fuille, Stuffed Summer Leek, Smoked Potato Puree, Pickled Shallots and Shiraz Jus. A lot of places promote Angus Beef on their menus and not to doubt these places but sometimes it just doesn’t seem to be that different to a normal cut. This is not the case at Chiton Beach. This Beef Fillet has the light marbling and tenderness that you would expect from proper Angus beef. Paired with an assortment of interesting garnishes creates an intriguing yet pleasing dish.
Hot on the heels of the Beef Fillet is the Apple Wood Smoked Adelaide Hills Duck with Charred Baby Cos, Beetroot Variations, Sour Cherry and Jus. Again, another example of how preparation is key. The accompaniments here are light as to not take away from the crunchy and appetizing duck. Subtle flavours give way to a delightful texture experience.
Last to fill out the lunch dishes is the Pork Fillet with Roasted Baby Summer Vegetables, Sweetcorn, Burnt Butter Emulsion and Pistachio. This is a better example of creating a fuller dish. Unlike the other dishes the namesake isn’t centre stage. Instead each part of this dish brings something to the table in equal parts. If you’re only looking for a one course meal, then this is it. It gives you plenty of different yet equally as compelling ingredients to satiate.
I’m sure you’re feeling plenty hungry already, but we still have dessert to go. After being able to partake in all these dishes, dessert feels like a bit of a blur. It’s everything you would expect and more, Meringues, Apple Crumbles, Carrot Cakes, Chocolate Cakes and more. All made fresh daily with plenty of options that change on a regular basis. Any way you look at it there is not a chance you are not leaving satisfied.
The Chiton Beach Café is bringing something new to the Victor Harbor area. It’s still early days. They are testing out an 8-course degustation menu which can be booked for a single table each week. I’m sure things will change and evolve as the business finds its feet and comes into its own. Nothing is changing about the Chiton Beach Surf Lifesaving Club but at the same time a lot is changing. This café is looking to bring something they believe isn’t available in Victor Harbour. It’s worthwhile to see what that something is. It may just be what Victor Harbour is missing.
Words by Jonathon Tonkin
WHERE: 440 Hindmarsh Esplanade, Hayborough