Saturday, March 18, 2017
All right, a few days into Port Douglas, and we had tried, Aussie brekkie’s, Mexican, Irish pubs, modern Australian, Italian. Last night, tired after a day long drive up to Cape Tribulation and further into the dirt track towards Cooktown, we returned in the evening, settled for a few pints at the local Irish Pub, followed by a long discussion and a soul searching journey to think what we wanted to eat tonight. No to a lot of things, and it finally settled down to Thai food. Something flavorsome, spicy, and bold flavors, which would hopefully open the chakras of taste on the tongue on this cool, windy, drizzly evening. The best nights in life are when you have the best company, best weather, a few drinks and an amazing food followed by desserts, a drive of the SUV with the windows open alongside the road lined with palm trees on one end and beach on the other.
Well, the plans were perfect and we head into Siam by the Sea, at approx. 8:30 P.M. and looked like a descent place. Casual, seating outside on the pavement as well in the store. Now, we look at the menu and are quite used to ordering the regular fare of chicken satays and money bag. So we order the seared scallops in tamarind sauce. The other starter we order is the prawns crumbed with coconut and deep fried. For mains, we ordered a stir fry.
When the seared scallops arrived, the presentation was wow. Pretty spectacular and posh. Served in single soup spoons, with a tamarind sauce and seared scallop, it looked pretty amazing. Taste wise, interesting. A bit sweet, but worth the try.
The fried prawns crumbed with coconut is something I have had a number of places and this one here was no different. Basic shredded coconut, fresh prawns but no flavors. Only a simple sweet chilli sauce by the side. The prawn was fresh, but somewhere, the batter had nothing in it. Just too basic and bland.
The next came our main course. We had decided to go for a stir fry and not for curry and had asked even for the recommendation from the person serving us as well. The stir fry with basic veggies and prawns, was the biggest disappointment. There was simply no flavor. Just very basic and no taste. We usually get into Thai joints expecting, strong and bold flavors, but to me this place missed the mark. Be it the scallops, or the crumbed prawns and same with the stir fry, all in all, just lacking flavors. If I could say this is one place I would not like to visit again.
Shop 2 28 Wharf St | 07 4099 4384, Port Douglas, Queensland 4877, Australia
+61 7 4099 4384
All right, the third day of our visit at Port Douglas and I continue the search for the best breakfast. Something different, something flavoursome. Something different from the regular stuff. And here we were at Café FresQ. Early in the morning, again, regular café and seems quite popular. It was so full to my surprise.
We settled in on a cool cloudy morning, to start off with a cup of coffee and looked into the menu.
Well, again, to be honest, the food was descent, regular brekkie fare. Herb mushrooms, grilled tomato, scrambled eggs. All freshly made. A part of me always wishes for something new and something piping hot, even if it’s the eggs. A normal issue I face in most Aussie breakfast places- the scrambled is cold and pre made. Anyways for the part of me craving something new, it was the black and white pudding. Now I didn’t know what it was initially, but turns out to be blood sausages with pork blood in the black pudding. Well, hearing about it did make it weird for me, and then I did taste it. To be honest, it was herby, flavored and a bit gritty. All in all, it was okay, nice to have tried something new, but probably something I didn’t relish too much. The potato rosti was good, crispy, fried. Along with the whole brekkie deal was the mug barry’s tea. A whole big cup of tea.
The other thing we tried out over here, was the corn and zucchini fritters. Good, fresh fitters and quite delicious. Liked the presentation, they had a grey plate with green spinach leaves as the bed, corn fritter on top stacked up and topped with a beautiful, colorful and vibrant tomato salsa and a green fresh pesto. They had avocado and whipped feta as these cute little circular snail shell like drops. Along side came a fresh tomato and chilli relish, which just completed the circle of taste. All in all, I loved this one, it had great flavors, colors and the kind of thing I want in my brekkie.
All in all, this is quite a good and favorite spot amongst the tourists. Diagonally opposite is the Port Douglas visitor center. It’s a good spot to sit down and relax over the day or early in the morning, as you have relaxed breakfast reading you local newspaper.
27 Macrossan St, Port Douglas QLD 4877
Sunday, March 5, 2017
All right, this one is about a breakfast place we ventured into at Port Douglas. Again, over all these years, breakfast is a big fascination whenever we are at holiday. A perfect start to a day is with a great breakfast. We ended up at the little larder, looking at great reviews online. A regular café at Macrossan St, Port Douglas. Quite busy as expected. We go in and wait for 5-10 minutes before getting a seat outside on the street. The ambience is relaxed and casual. People can sit inside in the café or outside, at the porch and surrounds or at the street. A look at the menu and its qute the typical breakfast menu. Initially when I was new in Australia, about 10 years back, I always had this feeling of wpow – so many new things to try. But perhaps now, after all these years, the brekkie menu is all about toasts, bacon, eggs, mushrooms, or a granola bowl, muselli or vegetable fritters. Well, over here, a similar menu. There were toasts, poached ocean trout, mushrooms on toasts, buttermilk waffles. White beans shukshuka and then the regular eggs and bacon.
Well, we ordered one was a brekkie which was the onesie with extra mushroom ragu. So the onesie had a wood fired toasted ciabatta, topped with a strip of smoked bacon and poached egg. This came along with the extra of one mushroom ragu, which was basically, wild mushrooms in truffle oil. To accompany this what caught my attention was the Punjabi chai. I did ask if it was with milk and yes it was.
My friend ordered another similar one- this was the vegetable onesie. This one again had a toasted ciabatta bread, topped with Haloumi, scrambled eggs, slow roasted tomato and loads of bacon. This one was beautifully decorated plate with a green herby sauce spread all around the plate. The drink which was ordered with this one was a house made lemonade with fresh turmeric and ginger.
Well, the food was descent and okay. Did it wow me? Perhaps no! But did I like the food.Yes. Descent quality food, nice spot to sit around and relax. The eggs, I wish were a bit warmer, which is usually my complain with most places. Similarly here, the poached eggs was too cold for my liking. The Punjabi chai, to be honest had got me excited, thinking this might be a good masala tea, but unfortunately, this was a regular tea with spices, kind of reminded me of Chai Latte to be honest. Likewise for my friend, the house made lemonade with fresh ginger and turmeric, turned out to be a disappointment. The overall quality of food is good, the produce is descent, the double smoked bacon and all. Presentation is descent as well. May be its me, that has got used to the regular brekkie fare, but you know what, I might come here again, to try something else.
2/40 Macrossan St, Port Douglas, QLD
(07) 4099 6450
All right this one is about Salsa Bar and Grill. Now when you hear the name, you’d probably be thinking if this is a Mexican joint. One of the top rated restaurant in Port Douglas, this one specializes into sea food and modern Australian cuisine. Now on our first night at Port Douglas, we walked and walked and confuse what to have. There are probably the highest density of high end restaurants and that too into Italian, Seafood and Modern Australian cuisine- more than any other tourist place in Australia.
Eventually, with all the confusion and the walking, we decided to check out the popular one Salsa. Now, initially there were no seats available as we didn’t have a reservation- so a must for tourists- please do make reservations as this place can get really busy. Décor wise, very good. Light colored and open front makes it a very nice comfortable relaxing place. The staff is great. Very cordial friendly and informative. We looked through the menu and started with direct mains. Now mind you, this is a pricy restaurant, about $$$ out of $$$$. Most of the entrees are about $20. Now while we had to wait and come back again for getting a table, we had ended up at the nearby pub for a few pints and cheesy garlic bread. So we opted directly into the mains. We ordered two dishes- one which was a fish- a local catch. I opted for the chicken dish. For sides we ordered the Szechwan peppered chat potatoes.
Now to begin with the chicken dish- it was called the Ballotine of chicken – with ricoota gnudi, speck, Brussel sprounts bonne femme. It had crispy skinned chicken breast, finely cut into two pieces, layered with diced chat potatoes, brussel sprouts, and a branch of green peppercorn. Well to begin with, the presentation was fantastic and what you’d expect from top end restaurant.Next, the chicken was cooked immaculately, not too much to make it too dry and not too little to make it raw. It was juicy. The skin was crisp and great at well. There was a bit of a sauce on the plate- which was slightly sweet. Now to be honest, while it was cooked perfectly, I wondered if it could have been more flavorsome. You know what I mean- it checks all the boxes of quality, presentation etc. but it make you wish for something more. And that was when I had a few of the green peppercorns and realized, this completed the dish. The green peppercorn spring, as you plucked off a few, they were moderate hot and it balanced the chicken, potatoes and slightly sweet sauce that came with it. So all in all a good dish. Would I have it again? May be, or may be try something new.
The fish which was on the specials was also pretty good. Served on a white plate with snow peas and asparagus steamed on the base. The two pieces of fresh local fish, pan fried and placed on top of the asparagus, topped with a sort of red tomato sauce. Again, presentation was amazing. The fish was fresh and my friend loved it. There were a few baby tomatoes, some tomato relish on the top and a few snow peas. Overall, the dish looked great, fresh local fish which tasted awesome as well.
For sides, we ordered the Szechuan peppered chat potatoes. Now this was a bit of a disappointment. Purely because of what I expected vs what I got. For me I thought it would be spicy, more with a Szechaun sauce or something. This turned out to be okayish types. Didn’t really impress me.
Along side we had a Mango Nut Cockatail. Malibu, Frangelico and Mango, belnded with coconut cream. Looked wow. My Take, I wish it was a bit sweeter and a bit stronger.
Overall, it’s a good place to be in Port Douglas. The food is fresh. Sea food is the speciality, really fresh. The presentation of dishes is spectacular. Service is great. All in all, it’s a good bar and grill, if you are after some classy fare of grilled modern Australian cuisine.
Personally, I am a more of a person who loves more pronounced flavors in my eating, and this place for me was about an average. Sometimes even with the best presentation and fine dine you still wish for a little bit more, and that was me. I liked the food, I’d definitely recommend this place to try out once.
Salsa Bar & Grill
26 Wharf Street,
Port Douglas QLD 4877
+61 7 4099 4922