THIS is something of a puzzle for some, so perhaps it’s a good time to clear the air. There’s a popular cafe in Grafton St called Macaron. People often refer to the delicacies served in this shop as macaroons ( notice the longer “oo” sound).
As the shop calls itself a French patisserie, perhaps people wonder if there is something going wonky in the translation.
After extensive research to ensure the folk of Cairns are all reading off the same page and dispel any chance of us being labelled ignoramuses, I can clarify. They are two different things. A macaroon is a small coconut meringue, typically partially coated in chocolate.
A macaron is a biscuit of two crisp domes made from egg white, sugar and almond meal, joined in the centre by a sweet velvety fi lling.
They are apparently a notoriously tricky creation, or at least good ones are.
Those goodies in the Cairns shop by the same name come in jewel hues as vibrant and varied as coral reef fi sh, a vast range of fl avours, from salted caramel to orange and are almost ( only almost) too pretty to eat.
Though it has been claimed macarons originated in Venice, it is more widely accepted this delectable sweet treat was born in a French monastery.
Nowadays they’re popular worldwide.
Today, however, we need real food before we can venture over to the sweets cabinet at Macaron.
Breakfast is popular here, possibly boosted by its proximity to backpacker haunts and you can get freshly baked loaves and buns, along with gorgeously indulgent almond croissants ($ 4). Natalie Hyde and Lara Bogusz enjoy coff ee and macarons at Macaron, Grafton St, Cairns. photo // regi varghese
There’s a big breakfast for $ 17 that would set you up for the day, and the Rusty’s fruit salad with yoghurt, honey and muesli ($ 10) sounds lush.
It’s midday though, and my friend and I are eyeing off the lunch menu.
Cold water comes to the table with a cheery smile from its dispenser and as we’re on a limited time schedule, we quickly reach decisions regarding food.
For him, soup of the day, which is pumpkin ($ 10), along with lemon pepper calamari and prawn cutlets on a Greek salad with lemon caper mayo ($ 17.50).
I go the grilled barramundi with lemon butter and Greek salad ($ 17). It too comes with “lemon caper mayo”, though mine turns out to be different to his.
We try to determine whose is the “real lemon caper mayo”, though it doesn’t matter as both dressings are nice.
I quite liked the sound of a grilled vegetable medley with mozzarella and salad ($ 13) but am glad I’ve stuck to the fi sh.
It’s a good portion of just- right barra and the chips are excellent, crisp on the outside, fl uffy inside.
Strangely, my “Greek” salad lacks all the things you’d consider Greek – olives, feta, oregano. Otherwise, this is a top notch bit of lunch at a very reasonable price.
My guest’s soup doesn’t arrive until well into the meal, so he asks to take it away. Staff duly oblige with apologies. I fi nd out later it’s nice, creamy and made with good stock, though a bit on the salty side. His calamari and prawns gets top marks. It’s a big meal and one both of us would defi nitely order again, with lots of seafood and a wonderful “Greek” salad ( yes, his contains feta, as well as some sun- dried tomatoes).
It’s a bit Jekyll and Hyde, but overall a really good spot to meet up for lunch, as long as you’ve set enough time aside. If your focus is cake, this is cloud nine. Sweet tooths could justify travelling long distances for the contents of the dessert cabinet.
Not only does it all look rapturously dazzling, but there is so much to choose from, even if you bypass ( at your peril) those lovely macarons sparkling like rainbows.
When in need of a non- weight- watching treat, head to Macaron post- haste.