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1 October, 2021

Meldrum’s, the home of mmmm pies

MELDRUM’S Bakery Café in Grafton Street, Cairns has kept baking its way through the COVID pandemic thanks to strong local support and a range of popular flavours.

By David Gardiner

Locals love their ‘old favourites’ such as chunky steak pies, and steak, bacon and cheese. These plus a range of other fillings including curry, chilli, and steak and kidney, are what keep dedicated customers such as office workers and tradies coming back to satisfy their hunger time after time.

“It’s because of our secret recipe we use with our meat,” says Daniel Freebody, who took over the established bakery about a year ago from original owner Graham Meldrum. “It’s prior cooked and then the ingredients we put in it makes it taste amazing.”

When Graham retired, he didn’t actually leave Meldrum’s until he had spent six months training up Daniel and his bakers on the special recipes and methods, he had refined over the 15 years since the bakery opened.

“With our pastries we make them a special way; it takes a bit longer than what most bakeries do because we do it our special way, but we hand-craft each one individually.”

Unlike other food businesses in the region which have had to cut staff and hours, or even close, COVID-19 certainly has not direly affected Meldrum’s. The bakery’s pies and cakes have built up a reputation not only in the local market but also with tourists – both domestically and overseas.

Daniel is looking forward to the day, hopefully within the next few months, when international and state borders re-open. Before COVID, Japanese and Chinese tourists would come to the café “in droves” because they had heard about Meldrum’s pies on social media.

“So, when lockdown comes out that’s obviously where we’ll get a lot of our visitors, from overseas,” Daniel says. “It is also very well-known Australia-wide.”

Meldrum’s employs eight staff in the bakery and behind the shop counter but Daniel says he hopes that increases once borders are re-opened and the tourism trade returns.

They also do special orders and catering for office functions, birthdays, and the like, adding special order items such as mini pies, sausage rolls and sandwiches to their menu. 

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