The Weekend Post - Cairns Eye - - At The Table -

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.

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