The multi-award winning Barn Steakhouse has been serving the finest aged steaks since 1988. The restaurant is the centrepiece of the Cleves family’s highly successful hospitality venture on Mount Gambier’s outskirts, which also incorporates accommodation and a function centre.
“Integrating the food, wine, tourism and agricultural sectors within the Limestone Coast will…be a challenge, but the results will deliver great benefit to the regional economy by value adding the raw product and helping develop a sustainable regional brand that delivers on its promise of excellence.” – Kent Comley, The Barn
Grass-fed Limestone Coast Hereford beef grilled over Mallee coals is the Barn Steakhouse’s signature dish, paired with home-grown vegetables from the restaurant’s extensive kitchen garden.
“Our preference is for beef that is finished on grass as this provides meat with maximum flavour, just as nature intended,” explains Kent Comley, who is part of the third generation managing the iconic business.
The beef is aged on the premises for a minimum of eight weeks in order to develop a tenderness and flavour which simply cannot be fast-tracked by youth. It is the same philosophy which applies to wine, and an extensive 600+ wine selection personally curated by Kent is an important feature of the Steakhouse.
“The majority come from the Limestone Coast, including museum Coonawarra wines dating back to 1965,” he explains. “We are proud to say that the wine list has been recognised nationally, winning the Gourmet Traveller SA Wine List of the Year in 2013 and the Restaurant & Catering SA Wine List of the Year on two occasions.”
How has the Limestone Coast region enabled you to create a successful brand or business?
The focus on local produce is important and the paddock to plate traceability of our own herd is paramount. The Limestone Coast location is also important in that Mount Gambier is an important stopover point for international and interstate tourists who travel the Great Southern Touring route and wish to taste the local produce. The wine list and selection of Limestone Coast wines is an important point of difference for the restaurant as well as the extensive selection of cellar-aged wines. Coonawarra has long been renowned as one of Australia’s most important red wine regions and the restaurant has become a destination for wine connoisseurs.
Where would you like to see the Limestone Coast region in the next 5 years in terms of brand recognition for the region, marketing of products and collaboration of industries?
Brand Limestone Coast requires further development so that it has more meaning to consumers and the associated imagery around the brand. The biggest challenge is for food producers to better market their product so that end users, especially in the restaurant trade, can easily and reliably access superior products.
What are some of the successes that you have achieved (and have these been made possible because of your location)?
The restaurant has been named Best Steak Restaurant in SA for three successive years and has entered the Restaurant & Catering Hall of Fame, largely due to the exceptional quality of the beef that is served, as well as the regionally-focussed wine list. Our wine list was named the Gourmet Traveller SA Wine List of the Year in 2013 and the Restaurant & Catering SA Wine List of the Year on two occasions.
Regional Hero: Kent Comley
Barn Steakhouse, Accommodation and Palais, 747 Glenelg River Road, OB Flat
Telephone (08) 8726 9999