Dine with MAMILS

Side seating at La Terre Cafe and Bar in Willunga, South Australia. (photo: ulrike.ca)

La Terre Café and Bar has a French name, but I call it “the bicycle café” for three reasons…

Entry seating at La Terre Cafe and Bar in Willunga, South Australia.

First, the heritage building (a bakery in 1886) is neatly positioned at the foot of the daunting Willunga Hill. The long, winding hill is challenging enough to be part of the route for the annual Tour Down Under road bike race.

Many MAMILS (Middle-Aged Men In Lycra) pedal up the hill on their road bikes. Sometimes they pause here for a fuel stop and I get a chance to chat with them. It’s kinda fun because I’ve worked and written on the bike industry and know more than the average gal about cycling; but they wouldn’t know that looking at my borrowed Fluid sidewalk bike.

Second, owner Bec is friendly as could be and she’s included bicycles as part of the outdoor decor.

Bec, owner of La Terre Cafe and Bar in Willunga, South Australia.
Bec, owner of La Terre Cafe and Bar in Willunga, South Australia.

They’re clunky old mountain bikes, but Bec’s painted them in festive colours, perhaps in the spirit of the Tour. In fact the entire village of Willunga will dress up cycle-style when the Tour Down Under rolls though Willunga January 21, 2017.

Third, La Terre serves a fantastic, all-day breakfast. There’s a wonderful chef/baker in the kitchen who concocts a hearty, meaty “Farmer’s Breakfast” that includes bacon, sausage, greens, grilled tomato, mushrooms, potatos, eggs, toast and a marvelous sweet tomato chutney.

Farmer's breakfast at La Terre cafe in Willunga, South Australia.
Farmer’s breakfast at La Terre cafe in Willunga, South Australia.

It’s a breakfast I can count on to sustain me when I roll out in the 40-degree Celsius heat for a practice-run of cycle-touring South Australia later this month.

Eat a Ned Kelly

A Ned Kelly pie and iced coffee at Beck's Bakehousing in Noarlunga, South Australia.

“What is a Ned Kelly pie?” I asked the server at Beck’s Bakehouse.

“It’s a meat pie with an egg on top,” she shrugged.

Who is Ned Kelly?” I asked Jared. We were seated outside the Port Noarlunga bakery café with his daughters Tilly and Delilah.

Jared’s eyes lit up. “He was a bush ranger, yeah?” he started. “He was an outlaw, a folk hero, an advocate for the disenfranchised in Australia.”

“What do you mean by ‘ranger'” I prodded as I sipped my iced coffee. “In Canada, a ranger is someone who looks after the forest.”

“Nah, nah, nothing like that! He stole horses and shot a few policeman and he was Irish,” Jared offered. “He defied the British colonizers and got hanged when he was just twenty-five years old.”

“But why did they name a meat pie after him?” I pursued. I looked around from Jared to Tilly to Delilah. They sipped their juice.

“Such is life”

Back at the house I used my brand new Onkaparinga Library card to secure a DVD of the 2003 feature film Ned Kelly. It stars Heath Ledger and Orlando Bloom.

Jared and I watched the film and I learned—through the lens of Hollywood cinema—that the real Ned Kelly drank horse blood, hid in the Wombat Ranges, wore a suit of armour,  and fetched a reward of £8,000 for his capture. Enough citizens of the time resonated with his Irish-Australian idealogy that more than 30,000 of them petitioned for his release.

After a hostage-taking, gun battle, and capture in Glenrowan, Ned Kelly died by hanging in 1880. Rumour has it that his last words were, “Such is life.”

“Okay,” I turned Jared when the film credits started rolling. “But why is a meat pie with egg and cheese on top called a ‘Ned Kelly’ pie?”

“I dunno,” he answered. “I guess we’ll have to watch the documentary too.”

We did, but my meat pie question remains unanswered.

Watch Outlawed – The Real Ned Kelly from ABC (Documentary, 52:18):


Order a long black

Cup and saucer of coffee on a cafe table at The Farm in South Willunga, Australia.

I just want a plain cup of coffee. But I discover that I must decide between a flat white and a long black.

I use Google to look up the Australian version of an ‘Americano misto’ and see that a long black is an approximate equivalent, just add milk.

Since I already know how to speak English, I use this language expertise to order “A long black with milk, please.” It seems to work.

√ Order a long black.

This long black is in a garden setting at The Farm, in South Willunga. It’s a cafe, winery, cellar door, olive grove, vineyard, and bed-and-breakfast accommodation.