The Kuti Shack is an exciting initiative that brings together a fishing company, their commercial partners, the Ngarrindjeri people and three Fleurieu-based chefs who have been talking about partnering in business for a number of years. The Goolwa Beach café formerly known as Bombora has had a final make-over before it will inevitably be demolished in the winter of 2021 to make way for a more modern café as part of the Alexandrina Council’s master plan.
Former owners of the café known as Bombora, Joel and Casey Cousins recently took up the opportunity to take over the Aquacaf on the river and have re-named it, Bombora on the River. This left the Goolwa Beach café vacated just ten weeks out from the busy summer holiday period.
Goolwa PipiCo, the fishing company leading the charge to make the Goolwa Pipi one of Australia’s premier seafood products, saw the opportunity to give itself a consumer facing brand identity and make sure the summer tourists would have something in its place, where they had become accustomed to hanging out. With very supportive help from Joel and Casey, Goolwa PipiCo came to a commercial arrangement with them to take over the remaining 20 months of their lease.
The Food Concept
The Kuti Shack will be operated by three locals with strong connections to Goolwa PipiCo and the Goolwa Beach café. Billy Dohnt has previously worked at d’Arry’s Verandah and Salopian Inn, Brendon Roach recently left his job at Press, having formerly worked at Osteria Oggi and Vanessa Button is back at the café she formerly owned with Joel Cousins. Additionally, Olaf Hansen who set up the original Aquacaf and Bombora Goolwa Beach is also involved in the background as a consultant.
The menu which is still under development, will feature local fish caught caught by the Hoad family and other locally sourced seafood, native indigenous ingredients sourced from the Ngarridnjeri partners, as well as other Fleurieu produce, wines, beer and coffee. For their part, Goolwa PipiCo is working in partnership with the chefs to use the café as a test kitchen for recipes that feature pipis. The plan is to have at least one or two menu items featuring pipis that will rotate depending on the weather. For those concerned that you’ll find pipis amongst your scrambled eggs at breakfast, fear not, there will be plenty of choice for those who haven’t yet joined the #pipirevolution.
The Ngarrindjeri community currently own approximately 10% of the South Australian Pipi fishery and also have a strong commercial partnership with Goolwa PipiCo, who process and market their catch. The name ‘Kuti’ pronounced ‘oot’ as in foot, not ‘ute’ as in cute, is the aboriginal name for the Pipi, or Cockle as they are known to most South Australians. The Ngarrindjeri people have been harvesting pipis on the beaches surrounding the café for over 10,000 years and this is evidenced by the numerous ‘middens’ found in and around the nearby sandhills. It is hoped the Kuti Shack will provide numerous opportunities for the Ngarrindjeri community, including employment, traineeships/apprenticeships, as well a venue to highlight the important part the ‘Kuti’ has played in their culture.