Friday, May 19, 2017

El Puerto (Hervey Bay, Queensland) 05/2017

Part of the Hervey Bay Boat Club
this Brazillian style restaurant, 
offers an all you can eat meat fest. 
Simon, an enthusiastic, hyperkinetic Major Domo has a team of waiters who all try extremely hard to please.
Soon after you are seated at a simply set bare table featuring a South American steak knife, a fork and a pair of tongs on a serviette food
 starts to arrive. A small pot of pesto and a tomato and onion relish are brought early, 
First condiments and a litlle serve of cheese sticks, a warm bread bun and a pastel which is a thin pastry envelope wrapped around a filling and deep fried. Soon after the accompaniments arrive. Plates of rice, steamed vegetables, a garden salad, a plate of chips and a wonderful sort of bean salad made with a pork stock.
Waiters come around constantly with skewers of sausages and meat from which they carve off slices if you want - that's what the tongs are for. Chicken wings and chorizo sausage was first, The sausages were not quite mild and did not interfere with the taste of the following dishes
 Pork sausage and chicken breast. came next.
Every thing was barbecued with a variety of seasoning. 
Beef with a garjic seasoning, 

came next. I requested rare and that's how I got it. Tough but tasty> There was a contiuous flow of different barbecued food. 
Red Snapper, filleted and battered
You don't actually have to tell the waiters to stop bringing food. Each table has a tri-coloured cube on it to be turned red side up if you want a rest and green side up when you're ready for more. 
There were several other meats including pork ribs in a mild sweet marinade, lamb, which was excellent and pork. 
The last thing was a barbecued pineapple, 
peeled and rolled in sugar it was a delicious end to a hugely varied range of BBQ'd proteins of one sort and another. The marinades made the food interesting. The nature of the food preparation and served on long shashlik sticks makes it difficult to serve it as rare and tends to lead to the meay being dry.
Chef Gavin, and his sous chef worked hard in a hot open kitchen.
Simon told me he has a motto. "No breakfast" I might reasonably add No lunch either.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Boat Club (Hervey Bay, Queensland) 05/2017

You get plenty of clues that you're getting to this popular club including a large billboard on the main road through Hervey Bay.  They even provide a free shuttle 

bus to bring people to the clubAt the end of the very large car park a sign welcomes you
and on it's other side thanks you for visiting. 
The club looks a bit like a ship with round 'porthole' windows. 

In side as well as several bars, and pokies, there is a Mexican restaurant, 

a large  no frills restaurant

and and a small, and even less frills, cafeteria
serving limited food and desserts.
It's got a very Australian rural club atmosphere.  Prices for members are about 10% less than for visitors but they're still cheap.  
Meals are quite large. I had fish and chips with a bowl of vegetables.
Four fillets of red skin snapper, lightly battered, were delicate, moist flavoursome and very fresh.  There was plenty of commercial tartar sauce. Vegetables were a little, but not grossly, over cooked Chips were crisp.  That, including gratis tea and coffee was a very decent meal for $16.50.  
Comments: Solid food at fair prices.
Score: 13.25/20

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Thr Vinyard (Hervey Bay, Queensland) 05/2017

Introduction: Highly rated by reviewers on TripAdvisor, and close by I got a last minute table on Saturday night although they were heavily booked.  
The restaurant is like a wide L shaped balcony on the first floor of a building separated from the beach by a road and a few trees. 

A great place from which to view the gorgeous tropical sunsets. Indeed their menus have a face page depicting sunset over Orangun pier.

Friendly efficient uniformed waitresses zip around well spaced tables.
I was amused to see an advertisement for a nearby Pizza cafe prominently displayed on the adjacent street corner.

 For no obvious reason some tables have clothes 
and others don't.
Seating is not very comfortable on hard weather resistant chairs.

Little ceramic umbrella shaped tiles are used for salt.

I started with their fish chowder. Served in a hollowed out cobb loaf. 
Packed with seafood, including scallops and prawns it was just a little too peppery for the delicate sea food but an excellent start to a meal.
Fish of the day was barramundi, grilled and served with a small salad.

Slightly more cooked than requested this was still a good dish but a small serve for the price.
Still hungry I finished the meal with a Rosewater creme brulee and pistachio biscotti.
A pleasant dessert missing the rosewater flavour
I enjoyed a pretty average glass of Spanish Rioja marked up about 500%!

Comments: They have a well stocked bar and on their website stress their wine matching but I saw little evidence of this except for some suggestions to go with the deserts. Knocking on the door of very good. 
Score: 13.75/20

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Aegean Waters Restaurant (Hervey Bay Queensland) 05/2017

The name may be Greek but this restaurant is a Provincial French gem. It could have been dropped into Hervey Bay from the heart of France 50 yrars ago. The instant I walked through the door 

I was struck by the warm welcoming atmosphere. The decor is very old style. 

Seating is comfortable and tables are set with cutlery, crockery and old style cloths.
Walls are decorated with French impressionist style oil paintings

About 40 small portraits are hung around the top of the room
and a large mural adorns a wall at the end of the room.

A unique place for a small Australian town. 
The menu is also basically French offering some classics such as snails and some uncommon dishes such as crumbed lamb brains.
I ordered a grilled baby lobster ($26) which arrived covered with an excellent Mornay sauce resting on a bed of rice.
Presentation of dishes is attractive. I had Mandarin Duck ($36) for my main course, a variation on Duck L'Orange.

served with seasonal vegetables. The boned crispy skin duck was a trifle dry but tasty and saved by plenty of sauce. I loved the vegetables. Slices of swede alternated with carrot and snow peas rested on grilled courgettes.and crumbed mashed potatoes. I enjoyed swede for the first time ever.
Perhaps the decor could be considered quirky and stuck in a time warp but it remains very attractive and the food is very well prepared.
Service is pleasant and unhurried
They have a modest, adequate and relatively inexpensive  wine list and pour a generous glass.
Comments: The most enjoyable meal I've had for a long time.
Score: 16/20 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Coast Restaurant and Bar (Hervey Bay Queensland) 05/2015

Told that Coast was a good restaurant I Googled it and rang for a reservation. No problem. Thinking about it an hour later I realized that it was an 08 phone number. That's not Queensland. I called back - it was the wrong coast, or Coast, only 5000 km. away in Western Australia! Must try it some time but not tonight.
The venue here is very plain with almost no decoration. Tables are plain, wooden topped and set with basic cutlery and crockery.

Chairs are also bare and hard.
not as comfortable as you might like for a long meal.
Their menu is set out as sharing dishes, entree size dishes and main courses and is designed to encourage sharing. I started with a 'special' Thai fish cakes.

They were served, with a dipping sauce, on a thick bed of Kewpie mayonnaise and covered with strips of pickled diacon.
They were excellent. Moist, with well balanced seasoning, the minced Barramundi was as good as I have ever had.
My next course was beef ribs.
Served on a wooden platter with a pickled tomato relish and Masterstock, they had been slow cooked and finished under a grill. Quite tender but stringy, as you would expect, there was plenty of meat and I enjoyed them although the stock was not to my taste and could have been thickened a bit.
I added a side dish of Cauliflower, scorched grapes, smoked almonds and harissa,

quite mild, this was another  very good dish.
To accompany this meal I chose a wine because of it's outlandish name and garish bottle label. Some Young Punks, The Squid's Fist 2015 Clare Valley Sangiovese Shiraz on the menu it was actually 2016. Of course I tasted it first. It's the sort of thing I would happily drink at a BBQ.

Comments: They seem to have a liking for off beat wine names. The reasonable size drinks list includes examples like Fat Bastard, Two Hands, Sexy Beast and Delinquente, Screaming Betty. Wines are marked up to about double retail prices.
The food overall is pretty good although their their web site has a rather pretentious spiel, referring to their cooking as Michelin star without the pretence. They have a long way to go before they get to that.
Prices for dishes are very reasonable.
 Score: 14.25/20