The Cacao in Girne/Kyrenia is pizzeria, cafe and cake shop all under one roof. Might sound like an odd mix of offerings, but bare with me.
It's funky facade and brightly coloured chairs and parasols make it hard to miss on the main road leaving Girne towards Lapta, just after the last roundabout. Some might call it pleasing to the eye though I think it's a little garish...but at least it's different.
Parking is limited, although the residential area behind it usually has ample space available.
Upon stepping inside, you notice a few things. This isn't just another coffee shop, and with Gloria Jean's only moments away, it can't really afford to be. The owners have clearly invested a substantial sum in making it feel modern, friendly and inviting. In front of you there is a glass ice cream serving cabinet with about 10 flavours on offer - all of which look mouthwatering. To the left is a seating area in typical cafe/coffee shop layout that allows for an intimate meeting with a friend for a good chin wag. You'll have to speak up though as the place has a vibrant buzz and is noisier than some eateries.
The walls are adorned with display cabinets showcasing some of the most incredible works of 'cake icing art' I've ever seen. Cakes that have been creatively designed to mimic a variety of themes from Disney birthday to Casino, complete with poker cards and stacks of chips!
Alongside these are a number of smaller display cabinets hosting some very attractive looking American style muffins along with more contemporary French pastries such as croissants and tarts. Behind these is the coffee order area where there are a couple of baristas preparing hot drinks.
The staff were busy and running about but I was shown to a table in under a minute and was presented with 'a menu'. You are handed a 10" tablet device (similar to an iPad) which runs some customised software on there that forms their menu. As you browse through the various sections, you get a good idea of the pizzas they offer as well as various other food options and a seemingly endless list of coffee varieties. The menu system is kind of clunky and I'd have preferred a regular menu card, unless I'd been able to actually place my order from the device - which sadly you can't.
So, when the waiter returned we ordered our food, 2 pizzas and some cold drinks. These arrived in due course and were very good indeed. I believe the bases are made fresh on site with Italian flower (I forget the brand name) and had a good mix of flavours. I did also notice that the guy preparing the pizzas was Italian. Nice touch.
Once food was done, we both ordered coffee. I had a frozen latte with cream which was to die for (notice the little chocolate spoon in the pic!). This was more than enough to be considered a dessert so we left at that and paid our bill before leaving, full, amused and impressed.
Food: Good quality, served hot and nicely presented with 'designer' plates and cutlery. Offerings are mostly snack type food although there is more than enough to class it as a meal. Coffee is impressive although more aimed at being fun like a Starbucks grande-mega-frappuccino-frozen-cream latte with ice cream and sprinkles.
Ice cream selection looks impressive and they also do a wide range of waffles and pancakes. Could be good even just for a take-away ice cream.
Ambiance: Buzzy Italian cafe atmosphere with a mix of Turks and British holiday makers. Beware that there aren't as many tables as you'd expect for such a large place...you might even have to wait for one to become available.
Service: The service was good, though it sometimes took too long to get hold of a waiter. This was on a saturday and it was very busy in there. I've since returned during the week and it was much quicker to place our order - food was delivered fast on both occasions.
Price: On the higher side but worth it for the experience alone. A large pizza cost 18TL. Theme park coffees are 6TL.
Location: Easily accessible on the road leaving Girne towards Lapta, although well before Jasmine Court Hotel. Parking is limited, especially on a weekend but there is usually room around the side of the building.
Would I return? Yes definitely - in fact I already have...maybe even twice