The Pantry Cafe at Burleigh Heads is a great place to grab an ice-cold smoothie after catching a few waves or working up a thirst on the walking track round Burleigh headland.
We visited the Pantry on a recent trip to Burleigh to try out the boogie boards Santa had delivered. The surf turned out to be a bit wild, so the boards didn't actually make it into the water, but we still enjoyed our swim and had worked up an appetite by the time we got out. It was 11.30am - the perfect time for a satisfying brunch.
I'd checked online for nearby cafes before we left Brisbane, and The Pantry Cafe kept coming up in customer recommendations. Its location was certainly ideal. Part of the cafe strip on Connor Street, right opposite the beach, it was only a few minutes walk from our beachside carpark.
We didn't have a booking but were warmly greeted and quickly seated by the owner, despite the flood of holidaymakers streaming in. Menus swiftly appeared in our hands and we got down to the serious business of choosing from a wide range of burgers, salads, all-day breakfast options, and other meals.
While we made up our minds about food, we ordered some drinks to tide us over. My husband, a Serious Coffee Man, ordered his usual short black. My sons and I went for something longer and cooler, choosing a standard strawberry smoothie, a banana and strawberry smothie made on soy, and an icy mango crush.
Serious Coffee Man described his coffee as 'good' (awarding it 7 out of 10), but the fruit drinks were the stars of the show. They were all big, refreshing and delicious, made on real fruit and full to the brim. They made perfect thirst quenchers on a hot summer's day. Even Serious Coffee Man was jealous after he took a sip or three.
The eggs benedict brought high praise from my older boy, while Son Number 2 enjoyed his chicken burger, which came without mayo as he'd asked. Its accompanying salad was fresh and crunchy, the chicken lean, and the white roll and chips acceptable, if hardly gourmet.
My steak sandwich had a good onion marmalade, crusty ciabatta and another fresh and appealing salad. The steak itself was a decent size but slightly tough and a bit fatty - although I'm starting to realise that this is pretty much the norm when you order a standard (as opposed to eye fillet or rump) steak sandwich. My husband's Mexican beef wrap was generous and fresh, with nicely marinated beef strips and a mildly spiced sauce.
With hearty post-swim appetites, we quickly polished off our meals. After paying our bill ($84 - a little over $20 per head), we got our things together and made way for the next wave of hungry diners. We left just over an hour after we walked through the Pantry's door.
The Pantry Cafe has lots of things going for it -- including a great location, attentive staff, speedy service and great smoothies. Our food was average to good rather than great - but then, regulars may know which menu items are the real stars. Everything was reasonably priced, and the cafe doesn't even charge a public holiday surcharge - a rare thing in tourist areas nowadays.
The Pantry certainly ticked enough boxes for us that we'd be happy to return next time we decide to splash out at Burleigh.