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Scarborough Fair

It’s weird returning Down Under from the old world and seeing all these old English place names, now that I’ve been to the original places. Over the past few days in Brisbane I’ve been to Margate,  Ascot and Scarborough and yet I’ve not left the Southern Cross behind. Scarborough is the weirdest one of all as it is my Mum’s new home and also my Englishman’s town of birth.

“How weird to see Scarborough QLD” he commented on Facebook chat.

Scarborough, Queensland

Scarborough, Queensland

It was weird enough being there. I have no idea why the settlers called it Scarborough, as it looks nothing like the place in Northern England, save for the beach. Both places have a beach. That’s about as close an affinity as it gets. And as for Margate, which is just up the road from Scarborough (QLD) the only similarity between the Aussie version and the English place was the dour weather on the day I visited.

Which was unusual for Brisbane, but perhaps not unusual for me. It seems I attract cyclones, storms and even tornadoes every where I go. I arrived in Auckland and there was a tornado, I go to Brisbane and there’s tornadoes. I think it would be only right for me to make a public announcement advising my travel plans well in advance so people can make the appropriate plans.

One thing in Scarborough Queensland that was very different from Scarborough UK, was the brilliant eclectic cafe I found on the main street, called The Sugar Deli. Managed by the delightful Sara Ciancio this little cafe with the chairs on the roof and Nonna’s old plates on the walls must have the best coffee I’ve tasted in Australia and at a very reasonable price.

And what a cute wee place it is.

The Sugar Deli  serves the best coffee in a gorgeous eclectically styled space.

The Sugar Deli serves the best coffee in a gorgeous eclectically styled space.

We visited on a grizzly old day with Cyclone Oswald doing its best to dampen our spirits, and yet the brilliant styling and humungous lamingtons went a long way towards cheering us up. The Sugar Deli is a destination in itself, with an intimate private lounge and fireplace at the back of the long narrow building, and cool tables and chairs out on the boardwalk overlooking the road and the children’s playground across the road.

Iconic Australiana - the biggest lamingtons I've ever seen.

Iconic Australiana – the biggest lamingtons I’ve ever seen.

sugardelicollageMum tells me that on sunny days (which is most of the time in Brisbane) yummy mummies get their coffee delivered across the road to the playground so they can sip whilst watching the kids play. Sounds perfect to me.

It reminds me of when I lived in Brisbane when the kids were little, and how I used to scarper to the bayside when the humidity levels in town became unbearable. I can imagine a clutch of Brisbane Mums doing the same even now, especially as Scarborough offers a fuss-free day by the seaside. Great coffee, fab playground under the shade sails and (usually) calm swimming waters for the littlies. Later in the evening you could even BBQ a few snags on the free gas-fired beachside BBQs.

That’s what I love about Australia. How many countries in the world pander to their national obsession by providing free BBQs at the beach? How very cool, and chilled out. I love it!

And even though the place was named long before The Sugar Deli Cafe opened, now I understand why the place is thus named. I reckon Sara Ciancio, through her fab little cafe, put the ‘fare’ in Scarborough Fair.


Where - The Sugar Deli, Scarborough (just north of Brisbane, bayside)

Why – Go to grab some cooling sea air and to scoff lamingtons the size of your head


NB/ I promise to advise my travel plans well ahead of time so that you can be sure to make arrangements and not be there, unless of course you enjoy natural disasters!


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