09 Apr Cafe El Nido, The Dunes Village – Torquay
Cafe El Nido – The Dunes Village, 222 Fischer Street – TORQUAY NORTH
El Nido – in the Philippines – is a much-loved beach holiday destination of the owners of Torquay’s new kid on the Surf Coast’s fabulous cafe block – Cafe El Nido. And this little pot of gold at the end of the Merrijig Drive rainbow bangs all the gongs for originality, creativity, seasonality and sustainability.
Cafe El Nido is far more than a coffee-and-cake stop. The menu changes every couple of months, as these guys love to experiment, and to play around with flavour and presentation. This is restaurant quality fare. Expect to be surprised. There’s some exciting culinary juju going on inside this little kitchen space.
On the coffee – the beans here are St. ALi of Jakarta and Melbourne fame, and behind counter the team know just what to do with them. So yep, the coffee’s good here. And, by gum, they do a piccolo and ristretto, which you don’t come across every day ‘round these parts. Soy and almond milk coffee options are available, too. Love Tea – chai and herbal tisanes, Remedy Kombucha, kids’ thick shakes, espresso iced coffee, and a wicked hot chocolate, if you’re not needing the caffeine shot.
The menu at Cafe El Nido is authentic Asian fusion-contemporary Australian, locally sourced ingredients, and fresh and feisty. The preparation and presentation of seafood at El Nido is faultless.
And on the menu MSCL’s visit, and to our mind-boggled shock and delight – and ‘shock’, purely because what’s on offer here is way beyond out-of-the-ordinary in the culinary stakes – for an outwardly unassuming little suburban eatery, anyway.
Gado gado with green tea smoked tofu with Asian vegetables and house-made kaffir lime satay.
Miso lawa with silken tofu, wakame, daikon, Asian mushrooms and vegetables atop udon noodles in a miso broth.
Filipino pork pie – marinated slow-cooked Otway pork adobo, and pastry with mixed leaves.
Siba burger on a Zeally Bay brioche bun, cornflake-crumbed buttermilk chicken, ranch slaw and buffalo wing sauce with beer-battered fries.
The Soul Bowl presents a daily surprise – all depends on what’s in season, and the buzz-about in the kitchen.
And lots of GF, DF, V, VG options here.
The breakfast menu is a stayer, an immoveable feast at last check. Seems there’s something for everyone on this list, so looks like ‘if it ain’t broke’ and all that…
The chia and quinoa pikelet stack was MSCL’s top of the pops pre-lunch fare. The pikelets arrived smothered in apricot and saffron-infused maple syrup, fresh figs, berries nuts and mascarpone.
Torquay’s now world famous Zeally Bay Sourdough is the bread du jour at Cafe El Nido. Who said man cannot live by bread alone? He can on the Surf Coast, actually. Torquay’s Zeally Bay’s certified organic artisan loaves are damn hard to beat.
The Little Humans Breakfast Menu is just as fun and funky as the Big Humans brekky offering. The Teddy’s Brekky Toast – with peanut butter, banana and blueberries – is our favourite. Although it’s a seriously tough choice, as the Kids’ Vanilla Hot Cakes – with honey and strawberries – is pretty scrummy also, we’re reliably informed – the validation’s in the photo shoot.
The sweet things here are something else, too. Lots to choose from on the raw, vegan and bliss ball front; homemade everything from scones to muffins to yo-yos, and the odd random unexpected taste-test extravagance. The rosewater-pink Persian fairy floss slice we luckily spotted on Instagram seconds post its creation. And boom! We made it just in time…
Keep an eye on these guys’ Insta feed, and you may just get lucky, too.
Enough said – Cafe El Nido is an absolute wonderment.
Oh, and friendly, happy, child-patient service. And there’s a little indoor cubby play area for tiny ones; and loads of parking. And there’s a beautiful selection of locally produced lovely things for purchase at the front counter, too.
All-day breakfast for big humans
Little humans breakfast till 11:00am
Lunch 11:00am – 2:00pm
Monday to Saturday 7:00am – 3:30pm
Sunday 8:00am – 3:00pm