When my family and I went to Cairns as part of our Queensland holiday trip, we decided to celebrate my mum and dad’s anniversary dinner at Dundees, a seafood restaurant along the waterfront by the docks. Being highly recommended by a friend of a colleague and the internet, I had come with great expectations of the place we were about to have dinner at. And so, it didn’t come to a surprise to find the place fully booked until later in the evening when a last minute attempt to make a booking on the night we arrived in Cairns.
Positioned in a prime location with a great view of the water, you would expect the restaurant to hold up to it’s reputation of being a well known seafood restaurant in town. And although some things were good, others were edible at best. Even more so considering the pricing of the menu.
You can understand to a degree that when dining during holiday season in a touristy spot, that staff can find the number of customers overwhelming. What was difficult to understand is the reluctance of other staff willing to take our order when our own waitress had been missing for a while.
And when it came to ordering our dishes it took more than one waiter including another person to head into the kitchen to tell us how large serving sizes were, how many portions we could expect and what the dish would essentially be comprised of. After a bit of guesswork and some luck we finally managed to order.
Dundee’s Taster Plate for two $40.00
A selection of proscuitto scallops, tempura soft shell crab, oyster’s natural, crusted calamari, smoked salmon and chilled prawns.
The taster plate for two makes for a good little sample platter for someone who likes to try a bit of everything. The soft shell crab was nice and crisp while the scallop was tender and juicy. Seafood was nice and fresh.
Prawn Twisters (5 pcs) $18.90
Prawn twisters are essentially prawn rolled up in spring roll pastry that is deep fried until crispy and cooked through. And these were exactly that.
1/2 shell scallops (6 pcs) $25.50
Baked with prosciutto and served with a basil pesto dressing drizzled over the top, adding a little squeeze of lemon help balances the saltiness of the prosciutto. The acidity also cuts through the oiliness from the pesto dressing to give the tender scallop meat a little zing.
Pork Ribs $40.00
Hickroy based pork ribs with smokey BBQ dipping sauce
The pork ribs were quite dry and quite tough to cut through. The meat although marinated in a delicious BBQ sauce did not fall off the bone which left the boys feeling a little disappointed.
Seafood linguine $36.50
I have never dared to order a seafood pasta dish, because you can never know what you’re really getting. Recently when I’ve been out with friends however, they have ordered some pretty good seafood linguine which has encouraged me to try Dundees seafood linguine that night. The linguine cooked in a garlic and tomato based sauce did not quite pair well with the variety of seafood in the dish. The rocket had an overwhelmingly distinctly taste where you would be left with this unusual tart, garlicky, bitter and seafood after taste. It was edible, but not quite to anyone’s liking at all.
BBQ Lobster painted lobster tail (Market price)
Served with citrus beurre blanc, mango salad, steamed rice and mixed leaf salad
It is unheard of for a family of lobster lovers to not want to eat a lobster dish. But after a few bites of the lobster tail this how we all felt about it.
The lobster tail was juicy and cooked well however the ratio of lobster meat to a very subtlely seasoned beurre blanc sauce and barely there mango salad was not very balance. After a few bites, all we could taste was just plain lobster meat and even though we were sharing each plate between at least two people, neither of us wanted any more. It just tasted like unseasoned cooked meat. There was nothing quite special about it for what it was worth.
Overall, I would say that if dinner had not cost us so much, we would have gone some where else to find something a lot more satisfying to eat. Our overall experience was pretty average and it is safe to say that we probably won’t be coming back any time soon. Needless to say, the whole family was entirely put off by seafood during the rest of our trip.