A warm smile is the universal language of kindness, and nowhere more so than in a tourist town.
It’s a place where you need to be ‘in the know’ when it comes to dining. For example, brekkie can be a buffet at the local hotel, bacon and eggs down the tourist strip or, if you have the info, a hidden gem with a warm welcome and food above the norm.
There are a few hidden gems in Surfers Paradise, but we’ve just found another one: Classic Café House.
Situated in Elkhorn Avenue between Orchid Avenue and the beach, this tiny café is owned by Nilima Manandhar, a lady who puts a smile on every diner’s face. She’s the chef who found a passion for coffee. Front of house and barista of her own café, her cheeky smile warms even the coldest winter’s day.
Dining on a weekday lunchtime, the beach is within view 50m away. Our coffees arrive first, bringing a smile. Nilima uses a double roasted blend from Coffex in Melbourne, my one-shot mug smooth and chocolatey, beautifully decorated with coffee art on the top, Nilima’s special touch.
The coffee’s a good intro for the food that follows, beautifully presented with care and love, so much better than the description of the dish reads on the menu.
That’s when we realise Classic Café House’s points of difference.
I’d probably never thought about how difficult it would be to cook the food of another culture every day, but Nilima and her chef Hiraj Prajapati, who are both Nepalese, produce modern café food with style and beauty, (far better than I can cook Nepalese food, let me tell you)! The all-day breakfast menu contains dishes such as the Aussie Big Breakfast, Vegie Stack and French Toast. But they’re not stock standard dishes.
“Everything is made in our kitchen,” Nilima tells us. “The snapper is hand-crumbed. The Vegie Stack includes haloumi and is served on Turkish bread, and the French Toast is made from semi-brioche.” They’re only a few of the details that we love. There’s also the Nilima factor.
“I love talking to people,” Nilima beams. “Coffee is a highlight of the café and lots of people drop in, such as walking groups and local business people who need something quick and well-presented,” she says.
People may come back for the gorgeous food at very reasonable prices (most around the $15 mark), we believe, but most of all, we realise, it’s Nilima’s personality that makes this café shine. It’s sunnier than a summer’s day on the beach, just a stone’s throw away, and that’s special.
Classic Café House, 17/2 Elkhorn Ave, Surfers Paradise Ph: 0432 092 183 Open daily 6.30am – 2pm
NOTE: Good Food Gold Coast dined as a guest of Classic Cafe House.