De Bernales Bar & Bistro

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193 Hannan Street, Kalgoorlie
Ph: (08) 9020 0333

A Golden Outback Nugget

Amid the grand country pubs and sea of high-vis lining Kalgoorlie’s Hannan Street, De Bernales Bar & Bistro is an oasis from the heat and dust. This busy restaurant almost dispels the impression that you have stepped onto a movie set in the Wild West.

De Bernales is a wholesome respite from Kalgoorlie’s raucous past, nonetheless, it is still a rough and ready town where gold fever continuously strikes a short distance away at the Super Pit. There certainly are not loose women cartwheeling down the streets anymore and that is a titillating tale you will hear all about on the Questa Casa brothel tour, the oldest running house of disrepute in Australia just a couple of streets away.

Owner Luciano Vecchio took over the reins of De Bernales in 2019, revitalising his enduring love affair with regional Australia. Many would question his timing given the impending pandemic, as many venues struggled, but he did not fare too badly by capturing domestic travellers held captive in the State. Like most of Australia, Kalgoorlie is experiencing a housing shortage and savvy Luciano also added accommodation to this repertoire, by offering affordable stays at the nearby Charlotte House.

Luciano’s entrepreneurship is rather fitting, considering the restaurant’s namesake Claude de Bernales was instrumental in marketing the Goldfields to overseas investors during the 1930s.

Almost every menu in town has been designed to fuel the appetites of burly miners and the portion sizes at De Bernales are equally generous. The Mushroom Risotto is a silky dish of arborio rice, mushrooms, spinach and feta, delightfully punctuated with the crunch of croutons. Paired with the 2022 Mud House Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough, NZ) to cut through the creaminess, this dish was a knock-out and I would not be surprised if it was the reason why De Bernales is a finalist in the Licensed Casual Dining regional category in the 2023 Gold Plate Awards. They are also a finalist for the Best Breakfast regional category and I must say, they take their coffee seriously, and the Kimchi Pancakes and Bocconcini and Bacon Wrap are a revelation on the breakfast menu in this dusty outpost.

The Seafood Pizza loaded with prawns, smoked salmon, mussels and a house-made tomato sauce was a noticeable favourite among many of the other diners. Despite being a very long way from the coast, De Bernales sources its fresh produce from Bidfood, where the freshness of the seafood and all the other dishes we sampled was a testament to this wholesaler.

The Scotch Fillet was left to shine with very little interference, as quality steak should be. It was well-seasoned and cooked with a lovely char accentuating the tangy peppercorn sauce, and served with fluffy chips encased in a crunchy exterior. As simple as this dish sounds it was another standout dish, especially with the luxurious fruity flavours of the 2020 St Hallett Garden of Eden Shiraz (Barossa Valley).

The Fried Chicken Burger was well balanced with sweet onion relish, mixed greens, a healthy layer of tomato and juicy battered chicken breast nestled between a poppy seed bun. It was so moreish that any self-control was futile and I’m almost embarrassed to admit we did not stop there either, as the Chocolate Fondant beckoned with butterscotch ice cream and fresh fruit.

Open from 6am until late every day and with live entertainment on Friday and Saturday nights, the all-day menu keeps De Bernales busy around the clock. And with plans to open a beer garden and the addition of a balcony on Hannan’s Street, which seems to be the trend, this Australian bistro has firmly etched its way into the appetites of Kalgoorlie’s unpretentious community and visitors to the Golden Outback.

By Carmen Jenner


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