A little café with a big heart
The first thing you notice about Cabana Café is that these lads have energy. Energy for their community, energy for their customers, energy for the food and coffee they are serving and most importantly energy for life. Which is lucky because Daniel & Josh Duffy-Sykes know not to take anything for granted – especially life.
This humble café sits across the road from our famous Copacabana Beach, sheltered under a Norfolk Pine, across from the skatepark with a playground just around the corner. You see, this is a hub for the community.
The whole team beams energy; no one more than Daniel and Josh who cannot do enough for their customers.
First though…those corn fritters! So good. These oversized nuggets of corn and batter are fried perfectly to a golden crunch, built over bacon (lots of it), avocado, haloumi, and hollandaise sauce.
Having kept the original Cabana Café menu, the lads inherited a locally loved Nasi goreng – which sometimes get marginalised as ‘another fried rice’. Josh is ensuring we have the distinction that this Nasi goreng in essence is more traditional in style, from the smokey flavour through the rice, the lumps of chicken to the tang of the shrimp paste and accompanied with traditional crackers. The serving is generous enough to satisfy the most ravenous patron.
They are giving you the best type of comfort food – the type that doesn’t feel heavy and is satisfying at the same time. The made-to-order juices are well portioned, fresh, punchy and refreshing for anytime of the day.
I feel they are most proud of their Banana bread – this was an achievement as they had been ordering it in, however, during the pandemic (like many of us) they took to the kitchen and completed some upskilling, which resulted in their house-made Banana bread – now a crowd favourite, especially with a coffee. The boys are using local coffee bean providers, Glee Coffee Roasters, and have a wide selection of milks to suit all dietary needs.
You see, for years Josh and Daniel have struggled with their health; whilst teenagers, they lost their Dad to ‘sudden adult death syndrome’ (SADS), an undisclosed illness that resulted in his heart stopping whilst sleeping. With the condition being hereditary, the brothers have both been fitted with pacemakers (more than one for Josh) to regulate their hearts.
After Daniel collapsed enroute to work, additional tests were conducted which showed that both boys’ hearts were stopping for up to 28 seconds. Daniel’s was happening during the day and causing him to collapse, where-as Josh’s stopped when he was sleeping.
This has led to multiple operations and a shift in lifestyle. You will find them learning meditation and finding other techniques to control their heart rate, to ensure they have long lives ahead of them.
Daniel and Josh are incredibly close – which is why Daniel left his aspirational career in Sydney’s fine dining scene to be close to Josh and care for him during his recovery. Working in the kitchen at Cabana Café, Daniel got Josh a job when he was strong enough to start working again.
When the previous owner wanted out of the business after a tough 12 months of bush fires and Covid19, he gave the brothers a chance to stand up together… and stand they have.
Working to one another’s strengths and being able to keep the relaxed Cabana Café & Bar beachside vibe whilst delivering delicious food and generous service, the boys continue to build a strong community around them in Copacabana.