Friday, 15 October 2010

Fish D'vine

“You remember that I asked whether whisky and brandy were in the cabin. You said they were. How many landsmen are there who would drink rum when they could get these other spirits? Yes, I was certain it was a seaman." Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure of Black Peter

Fish D'Vine is a rum bar and fish cafe, or vice versa?! Like Sherlock Holmes, Kitchenslut is suspicious of rum. So, without enthusiam he and a friend rolled up to the new bar and asked what we should try if we didn't like rum. The waiter proceededd to educate us on a vast array of rums and was able provide a concoction more than acceptable to our sceptical palates. The image and quality of rum has certainly come a long way and there is now also a boutique local Platinum white rum from Mt Uncle.

We didn't sample the food on that first visit but KS, whose passion is seafood, has since returned to sample the wares. I later dropped by for a lunch of fish'n'chips which was basic standard fish'n'chips but not good enough by any means for this to be the classic fish cafe lamentably absent in Cairns.

Kitchenslut susequently visited with a lady friend whose exotic background was attracted by the rum. The main food attraction at D'vine is the display cabinet stocked the fresh seafood for your selection.  From the available specials we chose a mahi and a red emperor dish. These were again ok without being exceptional as both were slightly overcooked, which in KS view is almost the only crime one can commit against such quality seafood. Also noted was that the winelist is very disappointing and neither of us were enthused with even having to make a selection. Yes, I know it's a rum bar but some still prefer wine when it comes to the actual meal.

More recently, KS the seaman staggered in after a rough day at sea on his Ocean Spirits local card to quaff a refereshing rum cocktail. Exuberant from the rum and ocean voyage the seafood display was too much so KS selected the tuna steak as looking the best of class. Size seems to matter with certain items in the seafood display and the tuna steaks were thick. The displayed oysters are huge but KS is one who is cynical of those who judge seafood by the size of their prawn, or oyster.

The tuna steak was fine, seared on the outside and pink in the centre. It came smeared with a wasabi mayonnaise, which I didn't think added anything and I scraped off to use with the chips. The chips themselves were average.

Fish D'vine follows their apparently successful outlets in Airlie Beach and Mackay. The food is modestly priced, service on all visits was frendly and professional, and the theme is attractive and welcome diversity to the Cairns scene. They are another that promote their awards including this from their website:

Queensland Tourism Awards 2008 Judge’s comments…

“What an unexpected surprise! It would appear that Fish D’Vine Café & Rum Bar has nailed the market, offering a substantial range of quality, fresh local seafood dishes to enjoy dining in or taking away. The café appeals as much to locals as visitors in an atmosphere, which is simply buzzing. The Rum Bar offers a unique point of difference & clearly the business mix is working well. It was evident that management has a strong commitment to customer service & understands the visitor’s needs – this came through in product presentation, menu design, guest interaction and business philosophy. Fish D’Vine & Café is punching well above its weight & has manages to add great local ‘flavour’ & tourism dimension to what could otherwise have been just another fish in a food court. Brilliant!”

A glowing reference with not a single reference to the actual food? KS is sure he will be here again for one reason or another it's just that he can't find a compelling reason to return for the food alone. Now, if they would sell me some of that seafood on display fresh KS would love to take it home for the BBQ!

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