A Food & Travel Blog

Limestone Coast Fine Dining – Eating Well in South Australia

11/09/2017 | By

Gourmet meals aren’t always associated with country travel in Australia, but South Australia shows how it’s done with Limestone Coast fine dining options.

 Limestone Coast fine dining, Gather house made bread

Tom Tilbury’s house-made bread and butter at Gather


Regular country travellers in Australia will know that getting a really good meal can sometimes be a bit of a hit or miss affair. The further out from the main regional centres one gets, the lower our expectations for excellent cuisine become. But this is certainly not the case in South Australia’s Limestone Coast region which boasts not one, but two exceptional fine dining restaurants.

I recently visited both Pipers of Penola and Gather at Robe. I certainly can’t pretend to review either restaurant, but do want to share my photos of two hugely enjoyable and impressive meals.

 Limestone Coast fine dining, Pipers seared scallops

Pipers of Penola seared scallops (iPhone image)

Pipers mushroom ragout Limestone Coast fine dining

Hand made gnocchi, truffled mushroom ragout with a crumbed local egg at Pipers of Penola (iPhone image)

A regular haunt for the local world-renowned winemaking community, Pipers of Penola has been satisfying gourmet appetites in the Coonawarra for 11 years. With husband and wife team Simon & Erika Bowen at the helm, Piper’s regularly scoops the awards pool, winning “Best Regional Restaurant” from the Restaurant and Catering Association in 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, and making the Hall of Fame 2012, 2013.

They go out of their way to showcase local food producers and, naturally, they have a totally cracking wine list featuring many of the local heroes.

 Limestone Coast fine dining, Pipers of Penola duck

Roasted duck breast on pumpkin purée, braised young leeks at Pipers of Penola (iPhone image)

 Limestone Coast fine dining, PIPERS of penola dessert

Valrhona chocolate spiced Jamaican rum génoise with orange sabayon at Pipers of Penola (iPhone image)

And if you’re wondering about the name – it involves an interesting snippet of local Penola history. The restaurant is located in a Methodist church that was built in 1908.  It later became the Caledonian Hall which was used for bagpipe and highland dancing practice.  In 2001 the building was renovated into a restaurant and called Pipers as a  nod to this earlier use.

 Limestone Coast fine dining - Gather



 Limestone Coast fine dining, crayfish at gather

Tom Tilbury’s signature crayfish and corn custard …

gather crayfish bisque Limestone Coast fine dining

… coastal herbs and crayfish bisque, at Gather.

Located in the main street of Robe, a hugely popular Limestone Coast seaside holiday spot, Gather is so named because of chef and owner Tom Tilbury’s fondness for foraging and gathering local and wild ingredients.


 Limestone Coast fine dining tom tilbury

Gather’s Tom Tilbury

 Limestone Coast fine dining, veal at Gather

Gather – Andinda Rose veal rump with Jerusalem artichoke, kale, beach mustard and onion.

The restaurant is housed in a charmingly renovated 1850’s wool store and a  meal here is reason enough alone to visit Robe.  Tom has put previous years of experience in top restaurants, including McLaren Vale’s D’arry’s Verandah Restaurant, to good use – his cuisine is truly memorable, the attention he pays to carefully sourced local ingredients is exquisite, he employs a wine consultant to pair the best possible wines with his food and also serves a custom-made bubbly.

I was treated to a very special intimate dining experience at Gather and came away completely blown away by both the food and Tom’s commitment to his craft. So much so, that The Bloke and I are currently in the process of planning another trip to the region. We’ll be sharing the local wine love some Victorian friends and introducing them to the pleasures of Limestone Coast fine dining.

 Limestone Coast fine dining, gather's dessert

Chocolate, caramel butter cake, orange marmalade ice cream and marigold – dessert at Gather.

Pipers of Penola  – 58 Riddoch Street, Penola
P: 08 8737 3999

Gather  – 38 Smillie Street, Robe
P: 08 8768 2734

While visiting the Limestone Coast, Lambs’ Ears was a guest of the South Australian Tourism Commission.

Subscribe to Lambs' Ears and Honey

Enter your Email
  1. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella

    I hadn’t heard of the limestone coast before. I do love corn so I think I’d really like it but sadly I think I’ve developed an allergy to shellfish!

  2. Amanda

    Oh dear – an allergy to shellfish is so sad!

  3. Tandy | Lavender and Lime

    I wish you could get the recipe for the house-made bread – it looks amazing. What great pics of the food. I should make better use of my iPhone 🙂

  4. Anna @ shenANNAgans

    Oh My Goodness… the Valrhona chocolate spiced Jamaican rum génoise with orange sabayon looks out of this world. The crayfish looks wonderful too Tandy. Limestone Coast is a big yes and wonderful to know going into the country doesn’t mean taking what you get restaurant wise.