I initially thought Café Lua was Mexican or of Mexican descent. Why I thought this I can’t really explain, but it may have had something to do with all the red tea cups and blindingly hot sauce that was on one of the dishes I ate that may have led me down this piñata-laden path.
Anyway, after a little more research I failed to find anything that indicated Mexican as the root of Café Lua, leaving me to think they are simply a delicious, innovative café that has been able to fashion one of their breakfast dishes into some kind of spicy Mexican fiesta.
I rocked up to the café and quietly expected the same kind of café layout I have received on various occasions in this area of town. Quirky, eclectic, bric-a-brac style fit out, non-matching crockery, wobbly tables and good food that would choose not to be your friend if it were a person.
After conceding that it wasn’t Mexican, I was then in the mood for a rich cultural adventure, so instantly tried to pinpoint the foundations of this place. Coffee bags hung on the wall equals ‘could be Colombian’. Unusual earthy music equals ‘perhaps African’. Independent art all over the place…well, this could be from anywhere, really.
While mulling over the endless possibilities I noticed the service was fast and polite, although there are no real ‘standout personalities’ (like at Piccante). In all fairness it was the Sunday of a long weekend and these poor peeps were probably pissed off that they had to work, and fair enough really. They were much friendlier than I could ever be in these circumstances, so three cheers to them. In order to help ease their burden I ordered seven types of coffee and then complained about each of them for different reasons, including claiming that one of them was in fact a form of Siberian tea.
The menu is as colourful as the Zimbabwean flag, and after about three hours of complaining because I couldn’t choose between two outstanding looking dishes, I finally ended up on the Corn Cake Stack, a concoction including all things perfect in this world.
Keeping in mind it was a long weekend, a Sunday, and the café was near-on bursting at the seams, the dishes were delivered rather swiftly (within 20 minutes), and waiting time was punctured by waitresses asking if we needed more coffee/water (yes and yes).
To be honest, I can’t fault the meal choice. A solid effort that hit almost all the marks with flavour, colour and aroma. I was able to overlook the egg being about one minute overcooked because the corn cake was so incredibly tasty. The corn kernels were fresh and juicy and tiny, tasty cubes of capsicum were littered throughout. The bacon was spot on, and the coriander pesto tasted very much like someone’s mum had made it for a sick friend (as in you could taste the love and care stirred through). The chef was clever enough to slightly dry out the roasted tomato so when it was put on top of the corn cake it didn’t make it all soggy and gross, something I wish all tomatoes would do. But they won’t because most of them are selfish jerks.
The ambiance wasn’t quite as warm and welcoming as the food, but it’s still a comfortable place to chow down, and offers a wonderfully colourful menu. They also have many gluten free options so those of you who swell up like a water balloon after eating bread should really check this place out.
Also, those of you who like rad food should also pop in. Because it’s rad, obviously.