Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Cornucopia Museum Cafe

Bullocky Point, Conacher St, Fannie Bay, Darwin
Visited 14th April 2009

It struck me that perhaps I was getting old when I realised it had been seven years since I'd lived in Darwin. I spent a year in this tropical northern Australian city studying to be a teacher and loved every minute of it (well every minute I wasn't studying to be a teacher anyway). Me return was a brief couple of days on route to Arheim Land. I spent the time visiting friends, insisting to locals that the place really hadn't changed that much and buying a new pair of thongs. Back in my day the best coffee in town was at the Cornucopia Cafe, a casual restaurant attached to the city's museum. Darwin's spread along a coast with sharp teeth and the cafe makes the best of its beach side location with a large outdoor terrace offering views straight onto the beach.

The food is classic cafe fair with a mix of sandwiches, salads, pasta and simple mains. As I was back in Australia I decided to order a couple of the things I'm often disappointed with in Hong Kong; caesar salad and iced coffee. Caesar salad in Hong Kong often lacks real flavour as well as the mandatory quality croutons and the anchovies. I hadn't had a good one in a long time so was really impressed with the massive serve I was presented with. Topped with a poached egg, plenty of bacon and parmesan and a rich dressing, the salad used butter lettuce rather than cos, but I think this actually made it better as the softer, creamier lettuce contributed to the melt in the mouth feel of the cheese, egg and dressing. Hong Kong normally has two terrible choices of iced coffee styles - the sweet and sickly 'frappachino' or burnt filter coffee with a splash of sugar syrup. At the Cornucopia Cafe I was presented with a silky, milky coffee dusted with coco and containing a couple of floating scoops of ice-cream; it was a dream.
Hong Kong offers so much fantastic dinning yet I feel we struggle to master the casual cafe; Cornucopia is a good example of how to offer simple and satisfying, yet quality food. Darwin's an isolated, regional capital with a tiny population yet Hong Kong could learn a lot from a place that automatically puts down a bottle of cold tap water when you are seated. I know I harp on about this a lot by I find the environmental destruction caused by bottled water tragically pointless. Anyway it seems the standards at Cornucopia Cafe have been maintained perfectly in my absence. Oh and as there wasn't that ridiculous service charge snuck into the bill I tipped!

Visit restaurant website.

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