Strada Cafe & Bar
CBD Breakfast, Brunch & Lunch Bar.
Words by Mark Knowles
Strada Cafe and Bar, located on Lake St in Cairns, is a charming and cosy spot that specialises in crepes and classic breakfast dishes perfect for a lazy weekend brunch before you explore the city or head to the reef or rainforest. Ankush, the owner of the cafe, purchased it as an existing business in 2021, when he fell in love with Cairns after moving up from chilly Melbourne.
"The first thing I really loved about this city is that, no matter where you stand, you have mountains on three sides and ocean on the other,” Ankush says. “I found Cairns city so relaxing but it's not like a small town, it’s got everything you need.”
This is Ankush's first time running his own business, but he has a wealth of experience in the hospitality industry. When he came across Cafe Strada, he knew it was the perfect opportunity to put his skills to use and make the cafe his own.
“What I brought to the place was to make it more aesthetically appealing, to make it a little bit prettier. But I didn't want to overdo anything so that, suddenly, the place loses its charm,” says Ankush.
When asked about the menu, Ankush says they have a wide range of crepes on the menu, both sweet and savoury. “Our most popular crepe is the breakfast crepe, it's a classic and always a hit with our customers.”
Strada’s crowd-pleasing brekky crepe is made from 100 percent organic buckwheat (which is naturally gluten free), topped with cheese, spinach, a runny egg, wild mushrooms, and cherry tomatoes, with your choice of bacon, smoked ham, Italian prosciutto, smoked salmon or avocado to finish it off.
The classic sweet crepes are also delicious and a bargain starting at just $10 for the classic lemon and sugar or cinnamon. For a few dollars more, you can add fresh strawberries and ice cream or indulge in the decadent maple, bacon and banana combo crepe.
Along with crepes, Strada also offers such classic breakfast dishes as eggs benedict, smashed avo on toast, omelettes and eggs how-you-like with a wide range of add-ons. In fact, Ankush encourages his customers to order it their way.
“The best thing I can say about the menu is that it is very customisable,” Ankush says. “You can choose your crepe style, you can choose your meat, you can choose your toppings. We encourage our customers to mix and match to make it how they like.”
This applies to their range of savoury crepes as well, where the meat choices include triple-smoked ham, mouth-watering pulled beef, smoked salmon or prosciutto, all covered with a selection of toppings you can combine to your liking.
“We're always looking for ways to improve and evolve,” Ankush says when asked about the future of the cafe. “We're constantly looking for ways to improve the customer experience. We use feedback from our customers. In the last six months, we've had a lot of people asking for a spicy option with more chilli heat, so we can adjust our menu to accommodate them.”
Ankush prides himself on the quality of the ingredients used at Cafe Strada. He sources vegetables from Rusty's Market and has a great relationship with his vendor there. The cafe also uses Segafredo coffee, which is a strong Italian-style coffee that is known for its bold and rich flavour. "We are very proud of our strong coffee and that's what a lot of our customers come here for," says Ankush.
Cafe Strada features three different seating sections to suit everybody. The tables on the pavement out front are great for people watching. While inside, they have room for larger groups and, of course, air-conditioning for those steamy Far North Queensland days. Finally, out the back, they have al fresco garden seating which is pet-friendly. A mural by a local artist gives this section a Melbourne laneway cafe vibe.
Cafe Strada is open from 7.30am to 2pm. On the weekends, they open at 8am. The full menu is available throughout the day, making it perfect for brunch, lunch, or a late breakfast.
79 Lake Street Cairns City, 4870