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Saturday, 1 December 2007

Sacred Spice overcomes dining reticence

Sacred Spice is the new dining experience at Stratford. It is the latest reincarnation of the outlet on the corner of Stratford Parade opposite Marsh's Meats. My interest in visiting this establishment was sullied by past experiences with dining at this location.

But I am happy to report this new addition to the Stratford dining scene was worth the visit.

Husband and wife team Heather and Peter Boulot have collected their favourite African inspired recipes and offer them in a relaxed suburban environment. Peter was my waiter and was friendly and knowledgeable. Service was a little slow but as my friend and I had plenty to talk about and were not in a hurry we we not concerned. But being a suburban restaurant that accepts children diners, families may need to take this into account.

My friend and I had several interests in the menu but were swayed by Peter's recommendations.

We chose the Flamed Sambal Prawns and Lemongrass Cha Bo (the only Asian item I saw on the menu) as entree. These were both generous serves, easily as big as many restaurants offer as mains. The prawns were fresh, crisp and flavoursome. I tend to like my spices hotter but the dish had some lovely subtle spice flavours that may have been lost had it been hotter. My friends Vietnamese Kebabs looked a bit like mini Thai fish cakes and again the flavours were a bit subtle. But the mint and Noc Dam sauce on the salad was a real surprise, very interesting and amazingly complimentary to the meats.

The special was Maldives Sour Fish and we chose this and the West Indies Spiced Goat for mains. The goat was a tender young thing from the Tablelands and was perfectly prepared. Don't be put off thinking goat is a tough or cheap meat. After some fantastic Turkish goat experiences, it is now one of my favourites for a great curry base. The fish was beautifully complemented by its condiments. The rice subtly flavoured and enhancing the sour tang of lime and tamarind.

Being a decadent night out we were easily convinced by our host to explore the dessert menu and sighed over the Fresh Dates. These were marinaded in Marsala and served with home made wattle seed ice cream, double cream and Persian Pashmak (fairy floss). Fresh dates would be one of my favourite fruits and in the Marsala were the perfect end to a very good meal. A hot fresh coffee finished me off and I felt very decadent. We also were impressed by the Cardomon Orange with an organic vanilla bean yoghurt cream and Pashmak. The yoghurt was a perfect foil for the citrus.

The bill was not too scary. Entrees were generally in the $12-15 range. Mains $25-28 and desserts about $10. The nicest surprise was the very affordable wine list. With quality wines available by the glass or bottle and the bottle affordably priced. We shared a Clifford Bay Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough NZ at $36.

And the menu was not too large. Even after our decadent indulgence, it had sufficient of interest for me to go back for a further tasting.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your review led us to a great evening celebrating a wedding anniversary on the June long weekend.

I didn't want a touristy place and also wanted a menu that didn't replicate the variety that my beautiful cook spoils me with at home. Sacred Spice provided the ambience, a menu that demands multiple visits (pity we live in Sydney) and dishes that lived up to my expectations.

We had the 'Spice Platter to Share' for entree. My bride of 39 years had the 'Cardamom Chicken' and I had the 'West Indies Spiced Goat' for mains. Finished with 'Roasted brandied fig & almond semi-freddo' and 'Flambé cinnamon bananas'. Total bill for 3 courses, a beer and a nice chardonnay was $130. Great value.

Thanks for leading us to Sacred Spice.

Anonymous said...

Sacred Spice is one of the best restaurants I have been to in my whole life. It has multiple choices. I had the duck salad which was exquisite. The main course I had was Amchur Fish.To end the evening I had The chocolate Nut torte which was WONDERFUL.

Dutchie said...

One of my favourite (if not, my favourite) restaurants in Cairns.

Kitchenslut may consider service slow, I thought it was refreshing to finally not be rushed out of the place and not have time to breathe inbetween courses! This is a place you go to to spend a night out!

The food is always fresh, and I have never been disappointed, no matter what I chose on the menu.

The wines are equally delicious and I feel that the wine menu has been put together by people who care about wines, rather than a wholesaler (like many other restaurants in this town).

And, they have linnen serviettes! Yes, this is my pet hate in Cairns restauarants, and it pleases me that the owners seem to care about this too.

I feel that the owners treat people how they would like to be treated, and serve you what they would like to eat. And given that they have great taste, that is perfectly fine by me!

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