CAFE SO­CI­ETY

AS BRUNCH CON­TIN­UES TO BE THE IN THING, CAFES ARE BOOM­ING, BUT GOOD FOOD AND COF­FEE IS NOT AL­WAYS GUAR­AN­TEED

The Weekend Post - Cairns Eye - - Front Page -

You could be for­given for show­ing sur­prise at the suc­cess Cafe Mat­teo is en­joy­ing. If you haven’t been there, you might think it is just an­other cafe. They seem to sprout like mush­rooms th­ese days. On the out­side it is in­deed yet an­other cof­fee shop.

It is also proof you don’t need to come up with some amaz­ing gim­mick to do well.

Just try hard, be true and gen­er­ous and peo­ple will come and then come back.

Mat­teo es­tab­lished its rep­u­ta­tion for straight­for­ward food and ser­vice when first opened on the other side of An­der­son St to its current lo­ca­tion.

In the same neigh­bour­hood, but now in larger digs, the new Mat­teo hums with cus­tomers, break­fast through lunch, six days a week. To be hon­est, I thought it would be nice enough. Hav­ing been in for cof­fee once or twice, I’d glimpsed the cake/salad cab­i­net and ac­knowl­edged the fresh ap­peal. I did not ex­pect to leave af­ter lunch im­pressed enough to tell friends and pledge a re­turn visit.

We ar­rive and help our­selves to the long bench seat­ing in the cen­tre of the cafe.

It’s Saturday al­most mid­day and there are a few cus­tomers wait­ing for take-aways, mums and bubs, friends catch­ing up, a solo worker with lap­top open and a bevy of soc­cer mums and dads with their lit­tle crews proudly sport­ing team colours.

It’s busy, but there is plenty of in­dus­tri­ous friendly staff, in­clud­ing Raili, who has come across from the old shop with her cheery smile and ef­fi­ciency.

The cof­fee at Mat­teo is uni­ver­sally con­sid­ered ex­cel­lent and the cake cab­i­net sheer temp­ta­tion. I love the sound (and look) of a mac­chi­ato tart – ganache on top, choco­late bis­cuit base with cof­fee mousse in­side – as well as the pis­ta­chio and al­mond short­bread.

Not to­day! This is about eating some whole­some food and we’re in the right place.

Mat­teo’s club sand­wich with kumera chips is a sub­stan­tial feast. Lay­ers of toasted rye pin­ioned to­gether with wooden skew­ers and filled with turkey, pan-fried chicken breast, lo­cal smoked ba­con, let­tuce, tomato and herb aioli, along with chunky sweet potato ba­tons, is ev­ery bit as good as it sounds.

Que­sadilla, a soft pan-fried tor­tilla stuffed with Mat­teo’s own lightly spiced bean mix, roasted cap­sicum and ched­dar, smoth­ered in crème fraiche and av­o­cado salsa, is a walk on the wild side with a healthy un­der­tone.

We’re stacked and agree it is ap­par­ent why this es­tab­lish­ment has been em­braced with gusto by lo­cal pa­trons.

Mod­ern ap­peal, open, light and bright with plenty of out­side and in­door seat­ing, it’s a sure thing.

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