When it all comes together it's hard to beat the Sunday jaunt to Port Douglas. The colours come out to play in the morning sun on the drive north with the azure ocean blues to the right and the vibrant green ranges to the left.
At journeys end an excellent strong coffee near the water provided the boost for a morning among the sunday market stalls and exploring the shops along Macrossan St. My companion for the day was set on a Christmas shopping crusade and determined to peruse every saleable item of jewellery in Port. The kitchen slut's role as handbag in this crusade being frequently diverted by replenishing his condiment supplies at the 'Pickled in Port' market stall, discovery of the new 'Taste on Macrossan' delicatessen, and sussing restaurant menus.
Well before the jewellery crusade was complete the slut had completed his review of restaurant specials boards and was outside the Salsa Bar salivating under the spell of sandcrab cakes and tempura yabby with a goma aioli and kimchee.
The Salsa Bar has always been a traditional Sunday lunch favourite for locals. The open Queenslander style building has great ambience and the friendly waitresses were quick with the ice water on a very steamy day and equally fast to replenish the quickly drained glasses while we perused the menu and wine list.
After some deliberation of the menu, my accomplice chose the preserved lemon tempura coral trout fillet with wakame and kipfler potato salad, sundried tomato salsa. A glass each of NZ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is an ideal accompaniment for atmosphere, climate, and seafood.
The food, as usual, excelled with the highest quality fresh ingredients providing interesting blends of subtle flavours and more defined tastes, all beautifully presented. The subtlety of the sandcrab was not overwhelmed by the delightfully tangy kimchee, the cucumbers with just the right crunch, an adaptation of a traditional Korean dish to modern Australian cuisine. The goma aioli (Japanese sesame) was an interesting addition.
The coral trout was perfectly cooked in its light tempura drizzled with the more intense flavour of the preserved lemon. It's rare to be able to be able to rave about potatioes but the kipfler salad was a perfectly textured complement to the coral trout. Lunch prices are also reasonable with both dishes under $20 for superb quality.
As my companion was the driver for the day she went for a Flat White reviver for the afternoon trip home and then proceeded, along with the persuasive but friendly staff to convince me that an espresso martini would be a good idea. Deliciously decadent and I really should thank them for talking me into this grand finale.
Martini enhanced, the colours were if anything even more intense for the drive back home with a clear sky and light breeze rippling the ocean as we snaked our way around the headlands and coves. When the Far North turns it on like this it just can't be beaten.
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