SALAD DAYS

STEP BACK IN TIME TO EN­JOY A CUPPA OR MEAL AT A QUAINT RAIL­WAY DIN­ING ROOM WITH BUCK­ETS OF LO­CAL MAGIC

The Weekend Post - Cairns Eye - - Front Page -

There’s more than a hint of old world charm at the Fresh­wa­ter rail­way sta­tion’s Bar­rons Bistro. The for­mer sta­tion tea room has been con­verted to ac­com­mo­date mod­ern din­ing, yet, as the business mantra states, it retains “a bit of coun­try tra­di­tion”.

Ef­fort has gone into recre­at­ing a quaint am­bi­ence of yes­ter­year, com­plete with age­ing piano and a gen­eral dis­card for trendi­ness.

With seat­ing choices of an old rail­way carriage (con­ve­niently air­con­di­tioned) or ta­bles on the rail­way plat­form (plenty of fans and nat­u­ral breeze), we opt for the great out­doors.

It’s a week­day lunch and quiet, just a few ta­bles oc­cu­pied.

Our waiter brings menus (water is self­serve) and a spe­cials board of­fers a cou­ple of ex­tra op­tions which we mo­men­tar­ily con­sider.

De­cid­ing sal­ads are the way to go, my guest or­ders salt and pep­per squid and I choose tuna and haloumi.

I hope out loud it is fresh tuna; my guest tells me not to expect it. Within no time our meals ar­rive. Plates brim­ming with food – every mil­lime­tre of sur­face cov­ered in colour – are pret­tily pre­sented.

My salad does in­deed come with tinned tuna, but it doesn’t mat­ter, among the for­est of leaves, juli­enne car­rot, cherry toma­toes, red onion, olives and a lat­tice of grilled haloumi slices sprin­kled with a mix of del­i­cate fresh herbs.

There’s a pot of soy dress­ing on the side and two slabs of but­tered cia­batta toast for a lit­tle ex­tra ex­trav­a­gance.

My com­pan­ion has an equally vis­ual feast. Thick ten­ta­cles of squid lightly sea­soned and flash fried with fresh salad and chunky chips.

Did I say chunky? Th­ese are potato planks with a lightly crisp outer, fluffy in­ner and so deca­dently served with ex­cel­lent aioli.

With views across the cane pad­docks, Bar­rons is a great sum­mer din­ing venue with char­ac­ter for break­fast, lunch or din­ner.

There’s live mu­sic on Fri­day nights and a bar­be­cue from midday to 9pm on Sun­days with ribs, steaks and veg­e­tar­ian op­tions.

Hav­ing been so vir­tu­ous on the veg­etable front, we agree on a shared dessert of pecan pie.

Served with fresh straw­berry and cream and a he­do­nis­tic driz­zle of choco­late, it’s home- made but­tery, nutty heaven, in a sub­stan­tial crumbly pas­try shell.

Ver­dict: Qual­ity and quan­tity.

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