Café Strada is a cafe with a fresh casually elegant feel to it, with a few tables outside on the sidewalk and 14 or so tables inside. They proudly proclaim (in their menu, not shouting it through a megaphone as you walk in) that they “use organic spices, grains & flours and support local produce where we can.” Both times I went there were no crowds but a few people scattered about. The floors are polished concrete and one wall is covered with large lush palm leaves and the other is a solid steel blue making you feel like you are sitting between the jungle and the ocean (without that pesky humidity). The cafe has high ceilings with a bustling coffee counter up front where you can order from the window facing the sidewalk or come inside, and pull up a seat. Their beverages are made with serious love (not puppy love – it’s the real deal baby!) and they have an assortment of unique teas as well as coffees. They proudly proclaim that they use Sipping Duck coffee (a local coffee roastery and a proud silver medal winner in the Australian International coffee awards) though when I read this all I could think of was an over-caffeinated duck swimming around in frantic circles while sipping a tiny duck sized cup of coffee. Also the duck is drinking a double shot (since the cafe ALWAYS serves a double shot… now if I could just get my bartender to follow this plan). The organic velvet latte sounded unique to say the least. It is made with beet root, turmeric, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla, cayenne, & black pepper. It sounded a tad too unique for my nervous taste buds so I stuck with a classic favorite – chai latte. So glad I did as it was just the right amount of sweet, a delicate flavor that is pure comfort and love (I don’t know that’s just what I felt…). There is Creme Brûlée Tea which somehow manages to really taste like a creme brûlée but without the richness. Add milk and voila! You are getting a creme brûlée without the added calories. It was simple, light, and still quite delicious. The perfect tea if you decide you are going for something rich like the crepes. And my advice is… GO FOR THE CREPES!
The crepes are made from a buckwheat flour which initially caused me some hesitation because I associate buckwheat with healthy and healthy with not decadently delicious and I’ll take decadently delicious over healthy any day of the week (as my regular readers are well aware of at this point). Despite my misgivings I ordered the savory breakfast crepe ($13.9) with garlic butter mushrooms, a soft egg (no the egg didn’t have fur, it was a soft over easy egg), vibrant spinach leaves, and of course the price d’resistance – the melted cheese. This was absolutely heaven on a crepe. It was rich, fresh, and the crepe was actually fantastic. Then came the difficult decision. I couldn’t decide between the traditional lemon sugar crepe ($7) or the salted caramel crepe ($7.5) and the chef was kind enough not to force me to choose and gave me a side of salted caramel to slather on the crepe at will. She mentioned that she absolutely loves both of these and when I took a bite of each, after breaking down in tears of ecstasy, I suddenly understood. The lemon sugar was a sweet and sour burst of flavor that demanded I eat every last bite. The salted caramel was eyes rolled back in your head good. I can’t even begin to describe how good it was (which sucks since I’m a writer and that’s what I’m supposed to be doing here…). I somehow managed to leave a few bites but this was not an easy feat. So generally when I go out to eat I have to leave at least one third of my meal so that I don’t become a round food reviewer (the food would’t be round, I would… though crepes are round, and of course there are cookies and those are generally round. Right. Off track again…). If I had a baseball bat held to my head (they don’t have many guns in Australia) and HAD to choose I would absolutely choose the lemon sugar crepe with salted caramel on the side.
I went back another day because despite my desire to try all the breakfast places I could in Cairns, the draw of these crepes was just too strong to resist. On this visit I had the whipped goat’s cheese crepe with homemade onion jam, cherry tomatoes, cheese, spinach, and roasted almonds ($17.9 AU). It was even better than the first savory crepe I’d had here. It was, as they said in the 50’s, “dreamy”. Yes I’m aware that was a phrase generally used to describe handsome guys but given the choice between the most handsome guy on earth and this crepe, I’d choose the crepe. Now THAT is saying something about the super yum factor of these crepes. For dessert I really really really wanted to order that lemon sugar crepe with a side of that golden salted caramel sauce but resisted said urge and decided to try the crumpet ($15 AU). I’ve read Alice in Wonderland and they talk about crumpets and since I’ve never had a crumpet I realized it was high time I tried one. The crumpet came with rhubarb and strawberry compote, lemon ricotta curd, dark chocolate and almond flakes. It was very tasty and I’m sure I would have absolutely loved it, if only I’d never tried the lemon sugar caramel crepe. I’m afraid it ruined all other desserts for me from now until the end of time (or at least until I find something equally tasty – which is sort of like the search for the holy grail, time consuming and pretty much impossible).
I didn’t indulge because it was 9 am and that “it’s 5:00 somewhere” logic doesn’t work for me – but hey, no judgments if that’s your thing! So if you do want some cocktails to go with your breakfast or lunch they have mimosas, bellinis, Irish coffee, and Bloody Marys at $10 AU each. There are a selection of ciders and beers from $7-8, including beer on tap, as well as a list of a few wines in each category from sparkling, to white, to rose, to red by the glass or bottle.
I give Café Strada 6 out of a possible 5 golden forks… Hey don’t gripe about that score – it’s like getting that extra credit problem right on your test. So it’s not just perfect, it is above and beyond perfection.
79 Lake Street Cairns QLD 4870
+61 7 4028 3860
Open Monday – Friday from 7:30 am – 3:00 pm
Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 am – 2:00 pm
VISIT ME ON INSTAGRAM AT @TRAVELEATRINSEREPEAT