Friday, 10 January 2014

Uneatable food on Esplanade?

Kitchenslut has always been a fan of Japanese food art in the traditional plastic display food menu form. Sadly, when I stayed in Asakura (Tokyo) a few years ago I missed an opportunity to visit the nearby centre of this vibrant industry.

The Ibiza Beach Bar on the Esplanade strip has this week taken a different strategy to display real food on the footpath to attract hungry breakfasters:

The lovely Asian waitress was somewhat perturbed that I found this amusing enough to photograph. It was suggested the word "uneatable" attached to their food display may not convey their intended message? At least with a plastic food display this does not have to be qualified?
I'm sure their food is likely quite edible and worth a try and at least an innovative approach although perhaps they should check relevant regulations!?

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Breaking: Local food discovered at Rusty's on a Saturday!

Gavin King  - this morning we actually asked one of the long serving stall holders (a local FNQ farmer) how many councillors shopped at Rusty's on Friday mornings, which is the only time you can get locally farmed produce and often a time when parking is at its worst.

This stall has apparently breached convention by selling locally farmed produce at Rusty's on a Saturday! What? There were others??

Thursday, 12 December 2013

A letter to Woolworths

Dear Woolworths,

I recently returned to FNQ after an absence from my home and discovered that my old and much loved coffee machine had succumbed to humidity and the thermostat become dysfunctional.

I visited your store nearest me but alas couldn't find even an interim replacement coffee plunger. Never mind who could possibly resist a half price $49 coffee capsule machine? Not me!

Sadly, the coffee it produces from Woolworths Select capsules is bitter nasty shit! What, do you think this is the USA or something when it comes to coffee?

Can you advise an appropriate disposal method for the machine and are the capsules designed for any alternative use? Veterinary suppositories perhaps?

Best regards,

Sunday, 15 September 2013

I love awards o_O

The 2013 Savour Australia Restaurant & Catering Awards for Excellence were announced last week with the major award winners in Northern Queensland:

WINNER – Salsa Bar & Grill, PORT DOUGLAS


WINNER - Port Douglas Catering & Events, PORT DOUGLAS



M Yogo is really restaurant of the year? Not sure it is quite what it was some years ago when it kicked off and The Pier is looking a bit sad these days with closure of nearby Pesci's and Boardwalk Café!

With such a substantial amount of high profile restaurant space empty I went for a look last week to see if the obscure Japanese Oooh Cha Cha was still there. Wander up the stairs overlooking the stripped interior of the defunct Blue Sky and on the bland mezzanine level it is still going even in such a location! Must be doing something right?


Friday, 28 June 2013

Red tape unravels on Spence St

Kitchenslut has posted a couple of times on the requirement of the ACCC that if a restaurant wishes to impose a public holiday surcharge it should issue an entire new menu with adjusted prices. A simple statement of a surcharge of 10% or whatever did not suffice.

It was apparent that this was often abused but anyway. This week the Assistant Treasurer acted on 'red tape':
Cutting red tape for restaurants and cafés
Restaurant and café owners will face less red tape after the passage of new legislation through Parliament today, said Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury.
The amendments to the Australian Consumer Law will mean that small businesses in the restaurant and café sector no longer need to provide a separate menu for days when they choose to apply a surcharge, such as on public holidays and weekends.
"Restaurants and cafes are a valuable part of the Australian economy, so it is important that these businesses are not subject to any unnecessary regulatory burden," said Mr Bradbury.
"These amendments will cut red tape for small business, enabling many venues that are open on weekends and public holidays to go about their business without fear of accidentally falling foul of the law."
27 June 2013
I must say I do agree with this change the previous requirements were excessive and unnecessary. However this week also I wandered past a new restaurant in Spence St and next to the window menu, with included prices, was this statement:
"Prices subject to change without notice" 
I do hope they notify changes before one orders? Note to small business: if you object to regulation then best to think, do the right thing, and communicate appropriately in the first place!

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Ukulele Interlude

Kitchenslut has been reminded that the annual Cairns Ukulele Festival is getting closer and that this years world record attempt for the most ukulele players simultaneously playing the same song  will require participants to learn three (3) chords for a rendition of Waltzing Matilda:

Now KS has always been more partial to the Queensland version which is also more faithful to the original Banjo Patterson lyrics as performed by The Seekers. However this indigenously inspired version of the traditional melody is rather good: Waltjim Bat Matilda

However this version would require a few baas as well as three chords!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Bagus Cafe

Kitchenslut has rarely failed to be underwhelmed by the café at nearby Muddy's playground. A better alternative may be to negotiate the route through the back gate and over the bike path to the hole-in-the-wall at the Caravella Backpackers now known as Bagus Café.

Apart from the typical backpacker breakfast offerings Bagus also has a cheap and cheerful selection of Asian dishes including: Nasi Goreng, Mi Goreng; Spicy fried chicken & rice; Indonesian beef rending curry & rice; Spicy beef, cheese & cucumber baguette.

Prices from these range from $6.50 to $7.50 and one can dine in at a robust plastic table on the footpath or take away. The cuisine has just enough heat to deter the kiddies. Kitchenslut no longer has to walk all the way to Rusty's for a samosa fix!

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Snake dreaming?

The Year of the Snake is now upon us! Kitchenslut exited his reclusive CBD hovel and wandered down rather late at about 7pm to the Grafton St Chinese New Year event.

Now, I do think it was a good idea to move this from Fogarty Park to a street event around the original Cairns Chinatown and now cafe strip. Perhaps I was spoiled by a Chinese New Year in Sydney's Chinatown a few years ago ....... with an excellent dinner at the BBQ King  ..... and I do know we shouldn't compare the two ..... and perhaps I am expecting too much too soon but ......

Well, there weren't really many Chinese except on a stage which was not particularly well set up or accessible?  However, most curious was the food! Stalls with Italian cannelloni and German bratwurst predominated ...... and chips! The Chinese food stall seemed to be supplying prawn crackers and spring rolls in brown paper bags! Wow!

The CBD was quite vibrant for the occassion but? It reminded me of the similar hype surrounding the CBD revival event along this strip which was basically just lots of Zinc FM flags and a couple bits of tacky fake grass! Who was that again?

It could have been the same person who facebooked this week a Chinese New Year kickoff at the Golden Boat restaurant. Could this also be the same person who posted a scathing criticism of the Golden Boat just a few years ago when a professional (sic) journalist: Kamikaze Parrot sinks Golden Boat?

There wasn't even a decent double prosperity burger on offer at Maccas: McDonalds Double Prosperity Burger

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Shark Fin Soup?

With the Chinese influx upon us just a post to divert any readers to a blog by Mike at An imaginatively titled blog on shark fin soup at Chinese restaurants in Cairns.

Some of the best blog posts don't need opinionated comment and such is this ......

Monday, 15 October 2012

Food, Sex & Mussels

Kitchenslut has been somewhat perplexed by the controversy and political upheaval following the comparison by the now parliamentary ex-speaker of bivalve molluscs to female genitalia. 

What has confused is that beyond the context of the legal and political implications, whic are indeed real, the descriptions themselves have been regarded as too “vile” or “disgusting” to even report: Mussels off the menu at the ABC.

Food and sex, sex and food, have long shared an intimate association. KS recently acquired an anthology of food writing by Clarissa Dickson Wright (half of the two fat ladies) where she relates advice from her mother that you could assess someone sexual abilities by the way they ate asparagus. Personally, an image of how one devours oysters freshly shucked from the shell is a preferred indicator! Damn, there’s the shellfish again!
Bivalve molluscs, including mussels, have been associated with female genitalia since at least the ancient Greek civilisation. There is no absense of links to comparisons of mussels with female genitalia so rather than dwell on that perhaps some more contemporary and obscure references. A food blogger is most eloquently erotic when posting her recipe for drunken mussels linguine:
‘What kind of woman has to seduce her boyfriend?’
The kind of woman who, right before dinner, asks her man (who hasn’t eaten all day), “Don’t you want to sex me now?”
The kind of woman who says during dinner, “Don’t the mussels look like vaginas to you?  Look, there’s the labia.  Eat the labia!  Eat the vagina-mussels!”
I’m a good seductress, don’t you think?

A more naive lad has responded in comments at ASK Yahoo: What does a vagina look like?

The entry of the inner labia looks like a mussel after cooking it (the shellfish, not the vagina lol), different color obviously. I never noticed that until my girlfriend showed me at a buffet.

Leaving unclear precisely whether his girlfriend had shown him the mussel or her labia at the buffet??

I did also stumble upon a comment that critics of the description as offensive may not have read enough erotic lesbian poetry. Darn those misogynist lesbian poets! 

However, it must be acknowledged that the comments from Mr Slipper related specifically to de-shelled brined mussels in a jar. Not an image which rocks my boat but hey! Was it this which actually caused offense in either a culinary or metaphorical sense? At least Slipper's texts were meant to be private and not Posted on Youtube!

We are privileged in this era to now enjoy mussels more than ever. The vacuum packs of live mussels in salt water are an exceptional innovation and quality, the uncertainty once associated with mussels removed. Also no longer the tedious task of de-bearding the mussels! Note that ironically this last feature also parallels contemporary pubic fashion in recent times!

It is to be hoped the current prudery does not taint the image of mussels! Perhaps it is the mussels which should also be offended?

Friday, 7 September 2012


Kitchenslut from his reclusive bohemian Esplanade abode this week for a mid-week rendezvous with good friend the English Rose. A diminishing quantity of Table 52 cards dictated Splash as the venue for a seafood fix.

We chose the Mahi and the bugs. There is only one thing you can really do wrong to such quality seafood and that is to overcook it.

The service was exceptional.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

The Yak's Vomit on Fetta's

The state member for Cairns has facebooked a glowing PR release congratulating Fetta's "on receiving a coveted 2012 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence". Don't get me wrong, I have enjoyed a Greek night out at Fetta's and it previously received a positive post at Kitchenslut.

However, I wonder at such advertorial style spruiking of a single restaurant by a politician when I understand there are "stacks" of these awards around town? This is really a commercial marketing tool developed by TripAdvisor:
Certificate of Excellence honorees can showcase their achievement in multiple ways, including prominently displaying their certificate that they will receive in the coming weeks, exhibiting an award widget on their business's website, and celebrating their award with a press release. The array of promotional items can be downloaded through the TripAdvisor management Centre.

TripAdvisor PR acknowledges that with regard accomodation "Approximately 10 percent of accommodations listed on TripAdvisor receive this prestigious award." Neither is it the "top TripAdvisor honors" claimed: "The Certificate of Excellence program does not replace the TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice® Awards"

The irony is that it was King who was cynical of the value of awards in his infamous Yak's Vomit rant. A further irony is that he then naively proposed an official rating system for every eating place in town.

Fetta's is today rated at #41 in Cairns on TripAdvisor and reviews include some scathing criticisms of service. I would prefer to defer to FoodVixen who is currently doing the best restaurant blogging in town than to TripAdvisor.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Return of the Star Apple

A while ago now Kitchenslut was a sad attendee at the final night of A Lemonade Tree, hosted by Ray and Arpid. This delightful small Asian influenced restaurant was next to the jelly babies (now the jazz music bar). Despite a low profile this was one of the best places in town!

Wandering around today KS bumped into Ray and Arpid who are now back in town and have re-opened the Star Apple at Golden Sands resort in Yorkey's, which was their initial restaurant location in Cairns some years ago. A return visit is not required for an immediate place in my top ten, but will get there when I can ......

Star Apple at Golden Sands, Yorkey's Knob

Friday, 18 May 2012

Worst fish & chips ever!

Kitchenslut has spent a week or so traversing the east coast on return from his annual southern vacation. It's several years since I had sidetracked into Airlie Beach so was looking forward to a stopover there. A monday night may not be appropriate to make a judgment but the place did seem very quiet and a touch drab.

The food choices in Airlie are not really very inspiring either. The couple of good restaurants seemed expensive for their offering. Hog's Breath was closed for renovations. The sailing club is a good place for a sunset drink but was also expensive for club food and that club-genre puke inducing kitsch carpet is almost a feature in itself.

I did flirt with Fish D'vine, the rum bar which has previously closed in Cairns. The fish display was typically enticing howver my recollection of Cairns was that what came out of the kitchen didn't quite match the expectations from the display. There isn't much competition in its price and quality range in Airlie which may explain why it has survived there and not in more competitive Cairns?

However, inspired by their fish display and a clear starry night I decided the best option would be fish & chips with a bottle of wine (in brown paper bag) down on the beach. There are two fish & chip shops in Airlie and I can only guess that I chose the wrong one?

At $8 for the special perhaps I should have expected to get what I paid for. The chips were edible, as was the batter, but chips and batter do not make a very satisfying meal I found. I had to toss the fish which is my only experience with inedible simple battered fish. The flesh was sort of wet and slimy, completely unappetising, and didn't really taste of anything.

There were some other good food experiences along the way however. The Gladstone Yacht Club  is always a good place on a fine evening for some decent club food in an industrial city. The spag bol with chips, which made an impression on a previous visit for high-carb quantity, is no longer on the menu but has been replaced with lasagna and chips. They did seem to have some problems with what the fish of the day actually was and this changed on the blackboard a few times in the hour or two I was there. Local fish is now somewhat controversial in Gladstone with advertisements on local radio to reassure consumers that it is safe to consume!

The steaks from the good people at Yongala Lodge in Townsville are also recommended, along with the Wirra Wirra shiraz.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

2012 discount deals

A quick note on a couple of offers currently available.

The Entertainment Book for 2012 is now available online and can usually be purchased also through charities such as the Cancer Council.  This offers a number of discount deals at restaurants in North Queensland.

Also, the Table 52 cards have returned again this year with two for one main meals.

As previously discovered with such locals deals if the place changes ownership there is no guarantee the discount will be honoured.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Mrs Beetons Book of Household Management

It is true, says Liebig, that thousands have lived without a knowledge of tea and coffee; and daily experience teaches us that, under certain circumstances, they may be dispensed with without disadvantage to the merely animal functions; but it is an error, certainly, to conclude from this that they may be altogether dispensed with in reference to their effects; and it is a question whether, if we had no tea and no coffee, the popular instinct would not seek for and discover the means of replacing them. Science, which accuses us of so much in these respects, will have, in the first place, to ascertain whether it depends on sensual and sinful inclinations merely, that every people of the globe have appropriated some such means of acting on the nervous life, from the shore of the Pacific, where the Indian retires from life for days in order to enjoy the bliss of intoxication with koko, to the Arctic regions, where Kamtschatdales and Koriakes prepare an intoxicating beverage from a poisonous mushroom. We think it, on the contrary, highly probable, not to say certain, that the instinct of man, feeling certain blanks, certain wants of the intensified life of our times, which cannot be satisfied or filled up by mere quantity, has discovered, in these products of vegetable life the true means of giving to his food the desired and necessary quality.
- The Dictionary of Victorian London

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Yet another round of restaurant awards

With the year barely a few days old the Australian Good Food & Travel Guide has jumped in with their 2012 restaurant awards. Their chef hat awards were handed out to 517 restaurants around Australia. Queensland is generally also well represented with 104 restaurants compared to Victoria (117) and NSW (133). 

The Far North has 13 restaurants awarded, with ix of those in Port Douglas, which is quite a strong showing when compared with  the Gold Coast (18) and Sunshine Coast (16). That places us among the leaders in regional dining with most restaurants awarded concentrated in the Capitals.

The list of Far North winners includes: NuNu, M Yogo, Salsa, Tamarind, Sassi's Cantina, Bistro 3, Bucci, Harrisons, Zinc. Which, if you can count only adds up to 9? Strangely the list on the agfg website seems to have now changed and some that were on the list are no longer there: Cest Bon, Reef House, Bale, and Cafe China.

Kitchenslut has sent a query to agfg and will await a response?

Update: Response from AGFG: 
Thank you for your enquiry regarding our 2012 awards.
We noticed that there was a glitch in our system regarding some of the award winner and we have rectified the situation as of yesterday.
What you will see currently on our website are the accurate and correct awards.
The current display is the 9 listed above. Well at least that is still ahead of Townsville with only three!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Rainforest Bounty

The Rainforest Bounty cooking school program for 2012 kicks off this weekend with a middle eastern theme.
The day begins with a delicious home baked morning tea accompanied by locally produced tea, coffee and juices. We then don gumboots and commence foraging in the orchards and garden for seasonal fruits, vegetables and herbs. Other ingredients are sourced from local organic farmers and markets. Once harvesting is complete, we commence cooking in the modern kitchen to prepare a seasonal feast. 5-6 dishes are usually prepared and the day will culminate with lunch including premium wines and ales.
Funghi, and particularly straw mushrooms, are best to be avoided while foraging following the recent poisoning incident in Canberra. The Rainforest Bounty people however are experts at their rainforest foraging so your survival can be assured.

Saturday, 31 December 2011

Le Crouton Boulangerie

Le Crouton boulangerie has been a hit with locals out at Freshwater who no longer have to travel all the way to Stratford for a quality cafe experience. Le Crouton attracted the attention of Kitchenslut earlier in the year when they had a Rusty's stall for a few weeks before moving in to permanent residence out at Freshwater.

The most likely cause of disappointment on subsequent visits has been if they have sold out of some products. However, after an early visit Kitchensluts official carbohydrate taster gave the brioche a thumbs up. A visit this Saturday morning for a garlic bread baguette saw all tables occupied and a queue inside for the bakery ..... oops ..... boulangerie.

The Freshwater Village shops have been refreshed and lifted by Le Crouton and a thriving business is good to see.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Prawn head guide

Christmas and seafood have grown closer over the years and the festive season is now as likely to be associated with prawns as turkey. Prawns are also really not that expensive compared with other seafood.

Kitchenslut once had a debate with a lady who claimed prawns were too expensive because of the waste, which is only true if you see your prawn heads as waste. Prawn heads make excellent material for stocks which can be used for such as rissotto or pasta sauces.

Prawn heads are good for you. Yes, prawn heads are an anti-oxidant super food! This makes prawn heads a perfect way to counter the damage from seasonal excess, so dont throw those prawn heads out!  The wastage of prawn heads must be enormous so Kitchenslut is on a mission to stop this waste!

Kitchenslut's prawn fisherman uncle was partial to sucking on his prawn head although this may not be considered appropriate ettiquette in some circles. However a quick guide to some ideas and recipes for prawn heads.

Prawn head powder is easy and should even be appropriate for the more squeamish gastronome. Just stick your heads in the oven to dy them out and then grind into a powder: "It really tastes like the dry powder version of sucking the juices out of a freshly cooked (prawn) head.". If you use your coffee grinder for the powder this may also add an interesting texture to subsequent coffee.

The Japanese could always be expected to do something spectacular with a prawn head including this sushi sweet prawn nigiri. The Koreans are also aware of their prawn heads. However, when it comes to Asia I think the Thais have it. Prawn heads are an essential ingredient for Tom Yum Goong soup.

Simon Leong demonstrates crispy prawn heads with salt, pepper and paprika. An excellent late night snack! The BBC is an interesting recipe for prawn head soup with oranges coriander and sesame.

Just this week Kitchenslut was enjoying the whitebait at Tha Fish while contemplating why there were no prawn heads on the menu. The answer is probably our cynical bogan culture amply demonstrated by 'oldboot' at the Ausfish website with a recipe for left over prawn head and stale garlic bread patte:
Take a quantity of cooked whole prawns of your preference, shell and eat the prawns saving the shell parts and the heads. set aside in the fridge.
On a different night order pizza in a deal with a garlic bread and drink of choice.

eat the pizza and drink the soft drink, save the garlic bread and the pizza crusts.

In a blender of food processor, blend up the prawn heads and shells until a thin paste with a little water...... add the garlic bread and piza crusts and continue blending till a smooth paste.

Turn out into a plastic food conatiner.........At this time the "mixture" should look and smell like some sort of party dip or patte....... I would not recomend eating it.

It is best if the plastic food container is nearly full to the top, put the lid on and freeze.
I have found this works as an excelent burley for bait fish, bream and so forth.

to use it turn the still frozen block out into a suitable burly container and chuck it over the side..........the burley container will need to be weighted as the block on its own will float........should last 30 to 40 minutes ( depending on size).

any old bread crusts cand be used, extra garlic can be added.

stay tuned for my "pilchard and left over rice surprise"
Oh dear! However for those who retain an aversion to prawn heads the website of Endeavour Prawns promotes their use as chook food. Heston Blumenthal recently experimented with feeding a goose to make it taste the way he wanted. Hmmm, I wonder what chicken fed exclusively on prawn heads would taste like?


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