It's not often you encounter a gourmet restaurant perched on a slagheap, especially in the Australian Outback.

The Broken Earth restaurant in Broken Hill, a town 1,300km from Sydney, is situated 60 metres above the ground, on the top of the mullock heap of tail endings churned out by the town's former Delprat's Mine.

The menu is classically Australian/Pacific Rim, with lots of stir-fried dishes and pastas. For starters, try the smoked emu and pastrami tartlet, while the mains range from Thai seafood curry to oven-baked chicken breast stuffed with spinach, pine nuts and cream cheese. The imaginative puddings include ricotta fritters with cinnamon sugar and coconut ice cream.

The wine list emphasises classy Australian wines, typically costing around AUS$25 (£10.40) a bottle. Try the own-brand Broken Earth Chardonnay or Merlot.


The building, a stylish steel frame with large windows and a swooping roof canopy, was designed to maximise views over Broken Hill and the surrounding outback.

No one knows exactly how far down the restaurant's support structure goes into the heap, but the staff assure you the concrete columns hit hard ground. The town is laid out in grid-like fashion neatly below, and it is easy to make out the redbrick turret of the post office and the main drags, such as Crystal Street, Sulphate Street and Bromide Street, whose names testify to the town's mining origins. Adjacent to the restaurant is a miners' memorial, which records the names of the 800 miners who have died in the town's mines.

Beyond the town you'll just be able to make out a small hill, on top of which is the Living Desert Sculpture Park, a collection of aboriginal sandstone sculptures from around the world. In its shadow is a recently opened wildlife sanctuary, home to a number of yellow-footed wallabies.

It's definitely worth timing your meal to take in the sunset, when you'll be able to experience the extraordinarily soft light that has helped this working mining town to attract a thriving artists' colony.


Starters range from AUS$9-$14 (£3.70 to £5.80), main courses typically cost AUS$25-$30 (£10.40 to £12.40). Puddings range from AUS$9-$12 (£3.70 to £5).

Broken Earth café restaurant (00 61 08 8087 1318; Federation Way, Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia