Bernie’s Kai Kai Bar
After finally crossing the Jardine River and edging our way to the top, I was getting excited for major two reasons. One, to stand at the tip of 🇦🇺 next to the famous sign was a bucket list item for me and two I had penciled in a review at the most northern bakery on the 🇦🇺 mainland. The bakery I will be visiting is “Bernie’s Kai Kai Bar” and its located at Bamaga at the tip of Cape York.
Owners Keith and Bernie have been in and around Bamaga for the last 20 odd years. Keith is that bloke from Johnny Cash’s famous song “I’ve been everywhere man” This ripping fella was been baking for just on 50 years and literally has worked everywhere. Yes that’s right 50 years !!! Over these 50 incredible years, Keith has worked in Western Australia, Cairns, Horne and Thursday Islands. In 2019 Keith and Bernie returned to Bamaga and now call this place home.
Open Monday to Friday 7am to 3pm this bakery is a little beauty. It’s a real bonus for the thousands of tourists that make the trek up here every year to have access to a bakery and one of this quality. Just to show how remote this place is Bamaga is located approximately 1000km from Cairns and 2670km from Brisbane.
The list of 🥧’s was impressive considering the location of this bakery. After looking at the options, there was only one choice for me and that was Keith’s famous “Crayfish” 🥧. Before getting stuck into that one, I did try two others !!!! “Croc” & “Corn Brisket” 🥧’s
🥧THE REVIEW 🥧
1. Value for Money – Look $14.50 is well and truly up there. Crayfish isn’t cheap and is more pricey than lettuce and fuel combined !!!! This 🥧 isn’t going to be for everyone but if you like your seafood particularly crayfish it’s defiantly worth a go. 7/10
2. Meat Ratio – The middle of my 🥧 had sunk and more fill could have been added. While the 🥧 was a decent size, when your paying as much as $14 odd dollars you would want this 🥧 to be full to capacity. 6.5/10
3. Meat Flavour – Beautiful !!! Fresh Crayfish, onion, garlic, salt and pepper plus cooked in a white sauce. The garlic was the right blend as was the onion. Overall great flavored 🥧. 8.5/10
4. Pastry – The top pastry was really good, but the bottom and base were way to soft for my liking. While it was almost cooked right through, it was still very soft. Keith did say he likes a softer based 🥧 and makes them to suit his liking. The stability of this 🥧 and others I tried was terrific. 6.5/10
5. Serving Temperature – Zero issues here. All three 🥧‘s were a perfect serving temperature. 10/10
🥧🥧 38.5/50 🥧🥧
This was a beautiful flavored 🥧. The crayfish was super fresh and the 🥧 i smashed had 2 massive pieces in there. The garlic wasn’t overpowering and was a perfect mixture. Yes the price was up there but as previously mentioned you need to take into account the cost of fresh crayfish and the extreme location of this bakery and the cost of getting supplies up here. The other 🥧’s were very reasonably priced in my opinion. For mine the pastry was a little soft but Keith makes his pasty to suit him and I cannot argue with that. I also tried the Crocodile and corn brisket 🥧‘s both were bloody superb.
If your up the tip and wanna try something different this bakery should be on your list. It’s not every day you get to try crayfish or crocodile 🥧‘s. Plus the bread and rolls are super fresh as are all of Keith’s other goodies. To have access to bread, 🥧’s and other treats this close to the top is a real privilege, so please support this place while you up here. As with most businesses at the moment there are massively under staffed so get in early to grab your gear and be patient. Also your having a 🥧 at the most northern bakery on the 🇦🇺 mainland and that’s pretty cool.
A huge thanks to Keith and Bernie for there incredible hospitality. During tourist season, these guys don’t have time to scratch themselves and for them to spend a couple of hours with me during this busy time is greatly appreciated. One of the things that stood out was Keith’s continued passion for baking after almost 50 years in the game. The bloke is a dead set legend and one of the icons in the industry.
One word describes our Cape York experience “EPIC” The whole journey has been unbelievable. From the cattle stations stop overs to the tip everything about this place is special. What has made this journey even more special was the people who we have met along the way. We have met so many new life long friends and don’t worry we have already made plans to return to the Cape in 2024.