SHACKING UP AT THE BEACH

THIS IS STRICTLY A NO-HEELS ZONE. IN FACT, NO SHOES IS EVEN BET­TER

The Weekend Post - Cairns Eye - - Front Page -

We have kicked off our shoes and no one has raised an eye­brow. Where else could you sit at a ta­ble bare­foot in the sand watch­ing the sun­set across the Co­ral Sea, glass of wine in hand, as the tan­ta­lis­ing smell of your din­ner cook­ing wafts past?

Wood­fire pizza Sun­day af­ter­noons at The Beach Shack (Ke­warra Beach Re­sort) have be­come leg­endary over the years, as lo­cals book weeks ahead to se­cure their spot.

Food is served from 3pm and, as we make our way down the beach, the sounds of mu­sic and mer­ri­ment lilt on the breeze.

I’m not sure why it has taken us so long to ac­tu­ally do this.

We’ve been here half an hour and al­ready we’ve agreed to make it a rit­ual visit at least one Sun­day a month.

Open for piz­zas on Fri­day and Sun­day, the shack now of­fers oys­ters, nib­bles and Sun­down­ers on Wed­nes­days from 5pm.

As we are shown to our ta­ble within a rope­d­off area on the sand we dodge a vol­ley­ball game, adults and kids hoot­ing with laugh­ter.

A soc­cer match is tak­ing place just across the way, while a bunch of kids (and some rather big ones too) test their skills at scal­ing a skewed palm tree.

It’s fam­ily fun the North Queens­land way, in com­fort and style.

As food or­ders close at 6pm a queue forms (last-minute rush) so we join the line-up for a cou­ple of glasses of sauvi­gnon blanc. They’re a chatty bunch. Ser­vice is brisk and friendly on all fronts, from bar to wait­ing; even the guys at the pizza oven pavil­ion, though un­der pres­sure, seem cheer­fully ef­fi­cient.

Some tapas plates to share – house-made olives mar­i­nated in chilli are ex­cel­lent – and we’re happy to watch kids run amok (they are ev­ery­where, but there’s so much space, it’s no prob­lem) as we soothe away the week’s con­cerns.

Twi­light ap­proaches and fairy lights twin­kle be­tween the trees as our piz­zas ar­rive.

We’re not sure pre­cisely what the Finns at the next ta­ble are say­ing, but from the be­atific ex­pres­sions, it’s not hard to see they’re en­joy­ing the food and re­laxed set­ting.

Of course, as the food lands, so too do our hun­gry young­sters mag­i­cally ap­pear.

We’re shar­ing bar­be­cue chicken, margherita and seafood mari­nara piz­zas.

With per­fect rus­tic crisp bases spar­ingly charred just the right way and piled with qual­ity in­gre­di­ents, they make for de­lec­ta­ble fin­ger food.

The margherita, with slices of fresh tomato, oregano, basil oil and lash­ings of stretchy moz­zarella; chicken with ba­con, onion, pineap­ple and tangy bar­be­cue sauce; and the seafood topped with baby oc­to­pus seg­ments, mus­sels, prawn and scal­lop frag­ments on sweet chilli sauce, are all ex­em­plary and enough for shar­ing be­tween four.

It’s no-frills din­ing with plastic glasses, a ba­sic wine list (though you can re­quest wine from the up­mar­ket Paper­bark restau­rant at the re­sort) and tonnes of fun. Ver­dict: Put it top of your list.

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