A quick journey to the edge of the Mediterranean

Those who know me well will be aware that my dream holiday has always been to take a Mediterranean Cruise…..its still only a dream but recently I had the opportunity to dine at Mecca Bah Cairns who promote themselves thus…

As you stare out onto the ocean from the dining room of Mecca Bah Cairns and dip your toes into its cool softly rippling water, allow your self to be transported to the edge of the Mediterranean Sea.

The moment you enter Mecca Bah your senses will immediately be aroused. The flavors and scents of the Northern Africa and the Middle East will make you feel as if you have stepped straight into the Bazaar. Our chefs employ traditional recipes to recreate the most delicious and tasty dishes that the Middle East has to offer while our beverage menu has been carefully selected so that each wine, beer and cocktail complements our dishes creating a complete culinary masterpiece for our guests.

mecca Bah

In a walk earlier in the day I had perused the menu boards of several local restaurants and was inspired by the Middle Eastern Spiced Local Reef Fish With Fennel, Rocket & Lemon Salad that Mecca Bah had on offer.  So that was where I headed for dinner.

There were other decisions that then had to be made while I started my evening with a glass of Chardonnay.  The big decision was do I have a starter of bread and dips…or the spiced chips with my main or leave space for dessert?  All three options had their merits but under the guidance of my waitress I decided to save the space for the tart on the dessert menu

The Middle Eastern Spiced Local Reef Fish With Fennel, Rocket & Lemon Salad arrived promptly with a wave of aromas that had me rearing to get into it…so much so that I didn’t even pause to photograph its magnificence.   The generous portion of delicately spiced fish was beautifully cooked and sat gently in a pool of a hot spicy tomato sauce.  This sauce was smooth, creamy, spiced and yet gentle enough that it didn’t overpower the flavour of the fish.  Piled on top of the fish was a vibrant salad of rocket and finely sliced fennel with a simple dressing of lemon that added colour, crunch and a freshness on the palate.

To put it in a more simple way – it was really yum and I licked the plate clean!!!

Although I had decided to save room for dessert this main course was actually very filling and dessert was looking doubtful until the waitress returned with the menu so I could have a look – and there it was, Temptation, with a capital T!   Almond & Rosewater Tart With Ginger & Prune Compote  –  Where is the genius who put all these flavours together?  I ordered the tart and a glass of Muscato to keep it company.

The Muscato arrived first – all pink and sparkly…

Pink bubbly

….then the Tart arrived, an unassuming pastry topped with a scoop of red gelato…and no sign of the promised compote… puzzled, I picket up my spoon to investigate.

The gelato was made with fresh raspberries, the pastry broke with ease and there in the base of the tart was the compote.   In order to describe this dessert it is hard to know where to start – visually it looked a bit like a frangipane tart – short pastry shell, soft sponge filling atop a fruity layer…and the almonds atop the sponge….. but it was more than that.   The prune and ginger compote was fine and only lightly gingered, the rosewater came through pleasantly on the end of the mouthful, the raspberry gelato bounced playfully off the rosewater and muscato….   but the highlight was the melt in the mouth sponge filling.  It simply dissolved in my mouth with the utmost grace leaving me wanting more!

This heavenly dessert provided layer after layer of surprises in the flavours and the textures that were complemented by the Muscato in making this a most memorable end to my mock Mediterranean escape in Cairns.

My purposes for wanting to visit the Mediterranean were…

  1. I love the blue of the sea (as it is seen in the travel magazines)
  2. I love the foods of Greece and Italy
    • and now….
  3. I also love the flavors of North Africa and the Middle East thanks to Mecca Bah

Mecca Bah Cairns 

7-8/1 Marlin Parade,
Harbour Lights Waterfront,
Cairns QLD 4870

(07) 4051 3737

Monday to Thursday, 5 am till late
Friday to Sunday, 11 am till late

 I was delighted to discover that there are other Mecca Bah locations – closer to home in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast and was then gutted to see that they have a slightly different menu that offers neither of these dishes.  Try as I might, I can not even begin to recreate that sumptuous tart in my own kitchen and can only hope that the lovely people at Mecca Bah Cairns read this review and share their recipe with me…. please.

Mecca Bah is the quintessential dining destination where you’ll experience the aromatic flavours of the Middle East & Morocco.

Our menu has been specially designed to take you on a culinary journey through the Middle East. We’ll take you to a place where the ingredients are diverse & exotic with a clear emphasis on crafting your meal from fresh colourful herbs & spices combined with products from both the earth & the sea.

Your journey continues through Morocco where you can experience the extraordinary combinations of savory and sweet, smooth and textured, hot and cold.

With four dining destinations Mecca Bah encourages you to take your own journey through the beautiful regions that inspires our menu by visiting us in:

  • Broadbeach, Gold Coast
  • Fortitude Valley, Brisbane
  • Manuka, Canberra
  • Cairns

Each destination is rustic in its design and features bright bold colours, shapes and artifacts that symbolises the Middle East & Morocco.

Mecca Bah will enlighten your senses giving you a beautifully inspired sense of the Middle Eastern spirit, which will set the perfect mood to complete your destination dining experience.

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