Revive the tradition of the Sunday drive this winter with a visit to Kiama and Penny Whistlers Café.
While ye oldie tourist trappies on Collins Street are looking a bit tatty, you’ll find Penny Whistlers’ clean, modern lines overlooking Kiama Harbour and the green expanse of Black Beach Reserve.
Tables here are set side-by-side facing the epic view – it’s a different arrangement, but it tells you exactly where your attention should be.
The interior space has been personalised with aquamarine neon signage and living plants, that tie in nicely with nature’s colour palate of vivid blues and greens.
The biggest splashes of colour come on the menus, staff t-shirts and vibrant bathroom wall art, all the work of artist and muralist, Mikey Freedom. A South Coast resident himself, Mikey has done a lot of art around Kiama, so it’s nice to seem him as the artist of choice for this local business. The café’s name also has an artistic bent. Owners Pete and Cheree Henderson – a pair you might remember from coffee-focused Sydney venues like Allpress Espresso and Tiger Mottle in Paddington – called the café after a Vladimir Tretchikoff painting they bought together.
You’ll find Tretchikoff’s Penny Whistlers on the café's back wall. It depicts three African men, making it a bit of an exception for Tretchikoff, who is much better known for his kitsch depictions of Asian women, including Chinese Lady.
We kick off with cocktails to maximise those Sunday feels. Down in this neck of the woods, a Moscow Mule ($12) made on 42 Below Vodka, will set you back just twelve bucks. I’m equally happy with my slightly pricier Eye Candy ($15) that teams another New Zealand spirit, Lighthouse Gin, with elderflower liqueur, fresh ginger and lemon juice into a refreshing cocktail with a sharp gingery bite. It's garnished with a slice of ginger to make its intent doubly clear.
Burgers and beer are an obvious pairing, and spying a crafty drop I hadn’t tried on their short list, I made mine a William’s Organic Pale Ale ($8.50). Brewed in Bilbul by De Bortoli Wines, this American pale ale is pale in name and nature - it’s gently citrusy, gently malty and has just a hint of hops. It’s easily sessionable but being adults, we stop at one with the Whistlers Burger ($17). Served on paper in a basket with well-drained shoestring fries, this burger is a slightly messy milk bun affair dripping with a generous amount of 12-hour braised beef brisket and the café’s secret sauce. There’s Cheddar cheese, iceberg lettuce, and house-made pickles, but really it’s all about the well-handled brisket.
With breakfast stretching out all day, I’m lured into a second brekky with Zucchini, Herb & Haloumi Fritters ($18.50). The slightly gluggy fritters arrive under a poached egg and guacamole, plated like a garden with one of the most diverse, beautifully dressed, snapping fresh side salads I’ve ever had in a café. Or maybe the produce is just better in Kiama? I’m tempted to return on the fourth Saturday of the month, when the Kiama Makers & Growers Market is on, to find out.
Located directly across the road, it's perfect to team with a visit to Penny Whistlers Café.
5/31 Shoalhaven Street. Kiama
Ph: (02) 4233 2770