The Lillipad Cafe, Cairns
Last weekend MS and I found ourselves looking for somewhere to go for a late breakfast. After fulfilling my Coconut Water craving with a frigin massive coconut from Rusty’s for only AU$3.50 we headed on down to Grafton St and into well known Cairns dining spot, The Lillipad Cafe. As usual the Lillipad was packed out for Sunday morning with every table bar about two and the manky couch near the front door taken. Unfortunately there were no spare tables outside so MS and I grabbed a table for four inside and made ourselves at home. For once I was surprised that our tables appeared to have actually been wiped down, a first for Lillipad surely! Alas it was a false alarm and it was just that the previous diners at our table hadn’t spilled any obvious food scraps. Unfortunatley I cannot say the same for the floor which looks pretty filthy and needs a good gerniand a scrub with some Sugar Soap. Thankfully I had shoes on.
While we perused the menu my ingrained lack of concentration had me watching quite a few people coming and going, most of them coming inside to see if there were any spare tables for them to sit at. There wasn’t so they either milled around just outside the door waiting for one to free up or I am assuming they went elsewhere. I did notice quite a few people coming and going without shoes and there was a couple of odd ones that even sat down and ate a meal with no shoes on. Now I know that the Lillipad Cafe is full of free-spirited individuals but really? Not only is that filthy and disgusting but I am pretty sure it’s against workplace health and safety regulations. (But hey I’m no expert on the matter.) If anything the staff could maybe suggest that their patrons wear shoes when dining in? I realise that Lillipad isn’t exactly a fine dining establishment but where do we draw the line?
But we weren’t here to criticise, we were here for the food. There are so many yummy items on the menu at Lillipad that I always have difficulty choosing just exactly what I want to eat. MS went with the Eggs Benedict (seems I have rubbed off on him) with the usual fare of Bacon, toasted Turkish Bread, Poached Eggs and Hollandaise Sauce plus a side of Baby Potatoes for AU$15.90. He also ordered a side of Avocado for an extra AU$2.50. Not feeling like any of the breakfast items I went for the Crepe Trip with Sauteed Mushrooms, Zucchini and Onion (I took the onion off) in a reduced Sour Cream sauce wrapped in Crepes with a Greek Salad on the side also for AU$15.90. I also ordered some Green Chilli Sauce on the side of mine for an extra AU$2.50. Since it was MS’ turn to shout breakfast he left me with the Sunday Mail while he went up to the counter to order the food and two Flat Whites.
He returned a short time later with a couple of glasses of water and while waiting for our coffees we secretly fought over the newspaper. After about hmmm maybe 20 minutes our coffees finally arrived. They had taken so damn long that I had actually forgotten that we had even ordered coffees in the first place. Then we watched as three tables that had arrived and paid for their meals well after us received their meals before we did. Not only that but we waited about 40 minutes for our meals all up so by the time they finally arrived we were both pretty damn hungry.
Now onto the food… Despite what I have said leading up to this paragraph the food was great and perfect for a Sunday breakfast/lunch affair (brunch). MS’ Eggs Benedict was a pretty significant portion size, even for him. The eggs were well poached, the potatoes slightly crispy, plenty of bacon and a nice big dollop of thick Hollandaise Sauce. He was pretty pleased with his Eggs Benedict and managed to polish off the entire thing while I stole a couple of Crispy Potatoes off the side of his plate.
My Crepe Trip was just as good, if not better in my opinion. The soft, floury goodness of the Crepes was exactly what I had been craving and the reduced Sour Cream sauce was so yummy that I decided that I didn’t even need the Green Chilli Sauce that MS had paid a whole AU$2.50 for! (Much better than the dry Mushrooms Crepes that I had at Lime Tree a few weeks ago). The Crepes were filled with big chunks of Mushroom and Zucchini and even MS who normally turns his nose up at any dish that has absolutely no meat in it was impressed. In fact, I could go some Crepes right about now.
I have been putting off writing this post for quite some time because I knew it was going to be a difficult one to write. I’m trying to be diplomatic because there are some good points but also a sh*tload of bad points. I’ll start with the bad. Apart from the non-shoe wearing diners, the long wait for your food, the dirty floors, the fact that you always always always have to ask to get your table wiped down and as a result of asking you get met with a steely glare (or the burnies as I like to call it), the majority of the staff at the Lillipad are just plain rude. Three in particular and I’m pretty sure that anyone that has dined at this establishment will know exactly who I am talking about. These free spirited individuals are angry at the world and wouldn’t even crack a smile if Paul Watson called them up tomorrow and asked them to join his crew on the Steve Irwin. MS has even witnessed one of them call a diner a murderer for ordering Bacon with their meal. Wow.
So… apart from all I have written in the paragraph above MS and I along with half of Cairns continue to dine at The Lillipad Cafe and the place is absolutely flat out pretty much any time of the day and for good reason. The food is not only delicious (disclaimer: 95% of the time) but the portion sizes are out of this world and the prices are ridiculously low (and have been since the place opened). Where else can you get a fresh grilled fillet of Atlantic Salmon and salad for less than AU$20? The people behind Lillipad have never put the prices up even though they probably know that they could and it would still be packed out. The meals have never downsized and are just as big as I remember them to be (unlike Sushi Train at Cairns Central). The menu is many and varied with literally something for everyone from the meat eaters (murderers) to the vegos and they are open 7 days till well into the afternoon. I guess these are the reasons, despite all the bad points, that we keep coming back to The Lillipad Cafe time and time again, with shoes on.
The Lilypad Cafe
72 Grafton St, Cairns QLD 4870
Ph: (07) 4051 9565
Opening Hours: 7 days 7am- 3pm