Brunch at Cactus: New to the Kailua Breakfast Club

Torrejas (left), French toast with dulce de leche, and the Nacho Libre

Any newcomer to the Kailua breakfast club has some tough competition. The old Windward morning meal guard is loyal to its long-time establishments. Ask anybody that side of the Pali tunnels where to get a good breakfast, and we’d bet our guava chiffon pancakes that it wouldn’t even cross their minds to send a hungry bruncher town-bound. Even now, with the great O‘ahu breakfast boom well underway, any Kailuan worth their 96734 zip code wouldn’t dare stray from Cinnamon’s, Moke’s or Boots and Kimo’s on a Sunday morning, and if they did it would be to Zippy’s or Big City Diner. In Kailua.

So what about a breakfast place that’s a fair distance taste-wise from the usual Kailua spots, but still happens to be in Kailua? We say: One more reason to stay Kailua Town.

At Cactus Bistro, the little Latin fusion joint that surprised everyone by not opening its doors in a more, um, hip neighborhood, but rather chose to keep it Kailua, the weekend breakfast menu is a welcome addition to the town’s bountiful breakfast offerings.

We love, and we mean love with a big l-o-v-e, the Nacho Libre, a giant bowl of tortilla chips tossed with Cactus’ own turkey chorizo, bell peppers and onions, and then topped with two eggs. It’s nachos for breakfast in the most appropriate way. It’s exactly what you need after a Saturday night out where your Dos Equis may have turned into five or six. Or get the deftly balanced Latin Elvis (which we wish was called the “El Elvis” because it’s so much more fun to say), a king-sized portion of toasted baguette slices spread with cocoa-cashew butter, topped with thick-cut bacon and finished with caramelized bananas and a drizzle of dulce de leche. It sounds indulgent and over the top, but it’s actually perfect. And indulgent and over the top. For a more traditional breakfast plate, the Torrejas is a take on French toast made with caramelized pineapple, custard-dipped spice bread, dulce de leche and a fruit salad topping of chopped seasonal fruit. It’s super sweet, but not distractingly so, and it makes great leftovers. We wanted to love the Argentine fry bread stuffed with guava and cream cheese, but the filling may as well have not been there, and in one of our fry breads it was absent all together. So next time we’ll just skip right to the breakfast nachos.

Breakfast from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, entrees $8-$10
Cactus Bistro, 767 Kailua Rd., 261-1000,