Cervantes Bar & Bistro

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1 Cadiz Street, Cervantes
Ph: (08) 9652 7009

Lob me a Lobster

Just a couple of hours north of Perth along the Turquoise Coast lies the town of Cervantes, with the famous Pinnacles and Stromatolite formations nearby. Cervantes is named after a whaling ship which foundered near the islands off the coast many years ago. The wreck is still submerged in the bay, providing an interesting diving experience for more adventurous visitors.

We headed up Indian Ocean Drive recently to visit the town, stopping for lunch at Cervantes Bar & Bistro. We chatted with Mark Knowles, who bought the bar eight years ago after 15 years working locally as a professional fisherman. Mark and his wife Megan, a local schoolteacher, have made plenty of changes to the venue (still a work in progress), with lots of plans for the future, including a dog-friendly area (almost finished when we were there), and a children’s playground attached to the beer garden out the back.

Cervantes is a lobster town, with crayfish coming from the Indian Ocean Rock Lobster processing facility nearby, basically fresh off the boat to the kitchen, where the head chef prepares and cooks them for your dining pleasure. Fish, octopus and oysters, as well as lobster, are all locally sourced. They get meat from the South West and chicken from the Jurien Bay Quality Meats, just another 20 minutes north.

Naturally, visiting tourists love to try the lobster, but the most popular dish for the locals is the Chicken Parmigiana – a classic example of good honest pub food. We sampled some and found it to be a very generous serve of tender, crumbed local chicken with a fresh, herby tomato sauce made in-house, topped with shaved leg ham and plenty of cheese, served with chips and salad, and perfect with a beer.

We also enjoyed the Scotch Fillet – Black Angus steak from Jurien served with tasty mustard herb butter, jus, chips and fresh salad. The beef was tender and full of flavour, and went down very nicely with a glass of 2020 Angove Shiraz (McLaren Vale, SA), with its characteristic tones of dark berries, plum and chocolate, black pepper and spice.

Naturally, we had to try the lobster as well, and found it delightfully buttery and sweet, cooked to perfection and served with salad and chips. The fish in the Fish and Chips was battered and also came with the ubiquitous chips and salad, and these classic seafood dishes were accompanied by a glass of 2022 Forest Hill ‘Highbury Fields’ Chardonnay (Mt Barker. WA). I generally prefer a Sauvignon Blanc or Riesling with seafood, and felt the Chardonnay was a little on the sweet side. We found it improved with the addition of a little ice, which opened out the flavour of the wine and kept it nicely chilled.

Mark told us his personal favourite dish is the Seafood Platter, which would easily feed two, or one very hungry man. Having lived in Cervantes for over 20 years, Mark has seen the town go from a sleepy fishing village to a tourist destination with a large caravan park, motel and self-contained holiday homes available nearby.

The bar is open for lunch and dinner, and is a great place to relax with a cocktail or a nice cold beer and watch the glorious sunset.

By Georgina Goss


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