Although it’s been open for less than two months, Kookaburra Café on Calle Larga, has established itself as a favorite gathering spot for Cuenca expats, tourists and Cuencanos.
A labor of love for Jenny And Chris Bluefields, Australian artists attracted to Cuenca by its rich cultural tradition, Kookaburra (it’s an Australian bird, by the way) is located on Calle Larga just west of Benigno Malo, in the downstairs of a two-story building that the couple restored in 2008 and 2009.
Open for breakfast and lunch, the café specializes in healthy, light cuisine and everything is fresh, good and inexpensive.
Breakfast begins bright and early at 7 o’clock, and options include scrambled eggs with tomato and onion ($1.60), omelets with herbs ($1.60), stewed apples and peaches ($1.50) and muesli ($1.50). Among the sides are wholegrain toast and English muffins.
Lunch flows seamlessly from breakfast with many customers mixing and matching breakfast and lunch menu offerings. Choices include one of Cuenca’s best salads, with mozzarella ($3.00), portabella mushrooms fried in garlic butter ($2.00), fried garlic potatoes ($1.25), humitas, tamales ($1.70), toasted ham, cheese, tomato and onion ($2.20) and toast with avocado and lime ($1.50) or vegemite ($1.50). In addition, Jenny and Chris offer daily lunch specials, usually including a choice of quiches and papas gratinada.
Drink specials include Kookaburra’s homemade vegetable juice (celery, ginger, beetroot, apple and carrot) and fresh-squeezed orange juice. They also serve bottled water, soft drinks, beer and wine.
The dessert selection is top-drawer and goes particularly well with an espresso, cappuccino or a simple café Americano. The cakes and pies are baked by Chris's and Jenny’s friends.
The café’s main dining room is defined by a large window that presents a moveable feast of life on Calle Larga (which is never boring). Tables extend back to an open courtyard and another dining room to the rear. A table of newspapers in English and Spanish, magazines and the London Book Review, adds a touch of class and provides entertainment for single diners.
Besides the café, the downstairs of the house includes two suites that the Bluefields rent to travelers (for details, inquire within or by email).
For more information about the café, Cuenca culture and Jenny and Chris, check the Kookaburra blog at http://kookaburracafe.typepad.com/
Kookaburra Café is open Thursday to Monday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.; closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. Located at Calle Larga 9-40, between Padre Aguirre and Benigno Malo. Phone 2840 423 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo credit: Kookaburra Café