Saturday, 21 February 2009

The Restaurant Recession

I was supposed to be offline this weekend to focus on some other critical projects however my attention has been diverted by ComPost front page headline on the restaurant crisis. I will just post quickly and edit or update later particularly with regard to Queenslands arcane liquor laws .....

This week also Commsec released some reseach behind the latest ABS retail spending numbers. This showed a huge 12.9% decline nationally, adjusted for inflation, in spending at cafes and restaurants.

"One of the clear trends in the latest data was that people are dining out less often. Spending at cafes and restaurants has continued to fall, showing the largest annual decline in records going back 25 years. At the same time a lot more spending is occurring at takeaway food and liquor outlets. Liquor retailing jumped by over 8 per cent in the quarter - matching the largest quarterly increase in nearly 20 years."

Update: LEADING restaurateur Neil Perry has vowed never to open another restaurant in Australia after a protracted battle to get a liquor licence for his two new Sydney restaurants left him $100,000 out of pocket.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Rusty's Street Food

In many parts of the world 'Street Food' can be a feature of the experience. A small section of Rusty's has now evolved into its owm small street food style enclave. It's at the very far northern end as Rusty's spreads out along Sheridan St with a handfull of food vans and stalls, some tables, a busker, and Billy's coffee.

Gavindas Samosas from inside the main area are good for a snack or brekkie on the run but stopped off today for lunch on Sheridan St. For $8 the Vietnamese chargrilled pork, rice noodles and veges from Saigon Hut was tasty and not bad value. It came with plenty of fresh things to bolster my healthful credentials. The busker wasn't bad either.

Other offerings include an Indian stall, Thai and sushi, as well as a traditional style Aussie street food van. It would be good to see this street food style grow and flourish in that location.

Any recommendations on 'street food' at Rusty's or elsewhere in Cairns Region gratefully accepted?

Economists survive fruit and veg shortage!

The 2009 AARES Conference (Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society) has been on in Cairns for the last few days and finishes this morning. There may have been some wonkish items of interest here had I been more aware.

Economist John Quiggin has blogged a quick post on the conference with comments. He didn't comment on the food or Esplanade experience however!

Monday, 9 February 2009

The Moonlight State

Ahh, Queensland .... beautiful one day .... moonlight the next!

Kitchenslut understands that an extremely prominent CBD establishment was recently closed temporarily for health reasons? Who knows whats going on now that it's become common practice for all those places closing not to disclose any notice or reason? We just assume there are problems with the banker? The Courthouse still has has not posted a reason to patrons for closure or to let them know whats going on?

What is interesting here is that, as understood, Queensland still does not require public disclosures of breaches in health laws as has been required in NSW since last year? Correct me if I am wrong?

You can find the list of food places in NSW issued notices of health breaches HERE.

Go and try to find the same info for Queensland? Enjoy those noodles boys and girls, but keep a watch for anything that wriggles :)

Friday, 6 February 2009

Cairns Cultural Plan

Council has today released for comment a cultural plan: "CREATIVE TNQ: STRENGTHENING

Following extensive community participation Cairns Regional Council has drafted a cultural plan.
More than 1,000 people responded during a month long community engagement that resulted in the preliminary document and now it is time for comment on the newly evolved plan.
The public consultation showed strong community support for a Regional Performing Arts Centre, a local museum building and a program to enhance the current festivals and events programs in the region, including Festival Cairns.
The plan .... has been developed to broaden the cultural vision for the region over the next decade and beyond.
It contains strategies to guide funding for the next five years and is designed to dovetail with Council’s new Corporate Plan
Final comment on the cultural plan document is welcome and can be submitted via email by 5pm Wednesday 25 February.

Also recently announced was the formation of a new Festival Advisory Committee. Council has taken the management of Festival Cairns in house this year after the withdrawal of the preferred contractor and there are plans to further develop the festival. Submissions of interest to be part of the new advisory group close on Manday, Feb 9, so any interested persons don't have much time!

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Twelve BC

We have previously given 12BC a wrap for their coffee and service . The coffee is still good and its a great place to get an early morning fix of 'Vitamin J' and take in some people watching. The early morning crowd seems mostly local with an eclectic mix; women from the nearby gym, city workers stopping in for breakfast to start the day, very much a locals place at this hour.

The food interest at 12BC is really on the small selections, for both breakfast and lunch, on the blackboard specials menu. These offer a selection of about 4 specials of interesting food at good value. An accomplice and I dropped in for lunch last raindrenched Saturday with the CBD very dead, yet 12BC still seemed to be doing very good business.

From the lunch specials board I went for a chicken, basil & mushroom risotto. My accomplice, Essence, stole my first thought with the nori crumbed mackerel goujons with sweet potato chips, cucumber and ginger pickles with tatsoi salad and a lime mayonnaise.

I was envious when Essence waved a sample of mackeral goujon before my eyes ..... easy to tell from appearance that it was good fish and cooked perfectly. It would have been tempting to bite the morsel from her fork .... however the KitchenSlut is a gentleman! The lime mayonnaise got a special wrap and we were assured they made it themselves. The sweet potato chips maybe don't quite work as chips with more of a roasted texture. I couldn't complain about the risotto and certainly didn't leave any. It was fresh, tasty, and nicely done.

So how to classify Twelve BC ..... where does it fit in? If I had the same food in an expensive restaurant at considerable cost I would likely have been slightly disappointed. However this is a breakfast and lunch cafe. It fills a niche well. It's good value, tasty fresh food with a specials menu much more interesting than the high priced tourist trap formats on The Esplanade.

Give it a go. I think it deserves it and will be back to try the brekkie specials soon .......

City Place

The Kitchenslut view of the discussion and proposals in the Weekend Post for City Place and Shields St .......

Well I had hoped to find some more links but as usual the ComPost don't seem to have posted their main story (?) apart from the Gavin King commentary linked above. However, the basic theme is one that people who know me undertstands that I have been advocating for years now. City Place doesn't work and is unlikely to ever work!

A fleet of bulldozers down Lake St to reopen north - south traffic, and help public transport flows, combined with an expansion of public pedestrian areas and or malls down Shields St has been so blindingly obvious for so long that we have to seriously question the imbecility of any civic remnants still locked in a denialist mindset on how to fix City Place!

Monday, 2 February 2009

Australus Roastus?

The Blarg of Fosnez has a great post on an attempt to rename kangaroo roast to disassociate it from skippy and make it more palatable. This is a similar theme to our recent post on an attempt to rebrand fish as sea kittens . KitchenSlut still thinks Sea Kittens is a fantastic name for a fish cafe and wonders if it is still open as a business name?

To really appreciate kangaroo you must also appreciate rare meat, particularly because it is lean, and this link on how to cook our symbolic national game by Benjamin Christie is the best I have seen. My preference is the fillets and when done just right on the bbq seared on the outside and warm and pink in the middle when the fillet is sliced, this meat is as good as any other!

A few rare times in the past I have managed to pick up some kangaroo prosciutto from the mighty men at Marshes Butchers in Stratford. A fantastic smokey flavour although the lean dry texture made the prosciutto somewhat crumbly.

For more traditional palates who are squemish about evidence of blood with their meat one would have though corned kangaroo would have some interesting potential given its tendency to be too dry if overcooked by other methods. My dear old Mum told me that an old relative years ago always delivered any fresh roadkill to the local butcher for corning!?

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Virginity well and truly lost ......

Virgin Atlantic guest, Oliver Beale, was unimpressed when culinary offerings on a recent flight from Mumbai to London fell short of even the usual limitations of airline food. He wrote directly to Virgin icon Richard Branson in what is regarded as one of the better complaint letters, with photographic evidence.

"On the left we have a piece of broccoli and some peppers in a brown glue-like oil and on the right the chef had prepared some mashed potato. The potato masher had obviously broken and so it was decided the next best thing would be to pass the potatoes through the digestive tract of a bird.

Once it was regurgitated it was clearly then blended and mixed with a bit of mustard. Everybody likes a bit of mustard Richard."

It's been reported Branson has apologised personally and invited Beale to select food and wine for future flights. Virgin Atlantic has just celebrated its 25th anniversary.

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