On The Inlet, Port Douglas
A couple of weekends ago I had the pleasure of joining my two good friends JM and KK on a Sunday drive up to Port Douglas so they could inspect some stand up paddle boards they were looking at buying. Of course we had to stop for lunch at some point and being a complete stranger to Port Douglas dining I let the very capable and avid diner KK take the reins. She chose On the Inlet, having been there before and thoroughly enjoyed it. It did however take us a little bit of time to find tucked away down near Marina Mirage. On The Inlet is a breezy restaurant with a huge deck built out over the water of Dickson Inlet. Upon entering On the Inlet we were greeted by a friendly Irish waitress who showed us to a table for three out at the front of the deck right next to an older couple. Almost every time I dine it out I am seated nearly on top of the only other diners in the whole restaurant. I would much prefer not to be privy to the closest table’s lunch conversations so why do restaurants insist on doing this? Someone from hospitality please explain?
After the long drive from Cairns KK and I (the two girls of course) made a quick stop for the Ladies Room and discovered that it is bloody freezing in there with the two cubicles being cooled by what seems to be a house sized airconditioner running flat out. Seems some people don’t mind paying exhorbitant electricity bills but is an airconditioner in the bathroom really necessary? After having a bit of a joke about the ice box Ladies Room we took our seats out on the deck with JM and ordered some drinks. Feeling a little on the heavy side I was happy to stick with water while my companions chose a beer each. The Lunch Menu at On The Inlet had a wide selection of mostly seafood driven dishes as I would expect at a Seafood Restaurant built out over the water. After about 15 minutes of being indecisive the three of us finally figured out what we wanted – it all sounded yummy. KK went with the Seafood Paella with Prawn, Scallop, Mussels, Reef Fish, Yabbie, Smoked Chicken, Chorizo and Crusty Bread for AU$34.50. JM ordered the Crispy Whole Fried Baby Barramundi with Asian Slaw, Thai Caramel and Steamed Jasmine Rice for AU$42 while I decided to go for the two entree option. I ordered the Goats Cheese and Pableno Chilli Quesadilla with Mexican Oregano and Cherry Tomato Jam for AU$8.50 (it had me at Goat’s Cheese) and the Chilli Salt Calamari with Crisp Asian, Fried Shallots and Nahm Jim Sauce for $19.50. Ok yes there is a common theme to my ordering when I dine out. If there is squid on the menu you can almost bank on me ordering it. One – because I love it and two – because I am forever in search of Salt and Pepper Squid as good as my mum and dad’s.
While we waited for our meals I observed the entree of the couple next to us with envy. They ordered the Sashimi Plate consisting of a daily selection of fish with Pickled Ginger, Wakame, Soy and Wasabi for AU$19.50. I almost ordered it but I thought that it would be a very small serve. It turns out the Sashimi Plate was quite a reasonable size and looked delicious. Hey, anything that comes with Wakame has got my vote! Our meals arrived not long after the couple next to us and we all oohed and ahhed about JM’s Crispy Fried Barramundi and KK’s Seafood Paella as well. Not to say that my two entrees didn’t look good I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I had a bit of food envy at my own table. KK really enjoyed her Seafood Paella which was chock full of goodies. It certainly wasn’t light on with the Prawns, Scallops and other bits and bobs that were listed on the menu. Despite what the picture looks like below it was actually quite a big serve, so much so that KK couldn’t finish it all even with JM sitting across from her who is the equivalent of a Labrador when it comes to other peoples food.
JM absolutely devoured his Crispy Fried Barramundi but not before KK and I managed to snavel a bit to taste. The sweet and sour flavours of the Thai Caramel were absolutely delicious on the tender flesh of the Barramundi and JM seemed pretty happy with himself having chosen well. When he was finished there was hardly any fish left since he had eaten most of the bones too, even one of the eye balls was missing. I guess thats the sign of a meal well enjoyed.
I was super happy with my two entree selections, which I pretty much ate all to myself (so much for feeling ‘heavy’). The Chilli Salt Calamari was tender, a good sized serve and cooked to perfection (still not as good as mum and dads). The waitress ensured me that On The Inlet only uses Australian Seafood and she didn’t have to ask the kitchen for the details when I enquired.
My Quesadilla was ’oh so good’ especially with the melted goats cheese in the middle and the sweet Cherry Tomato Jam. YUM! Huge serve of Quesadilla’s too but I guess they are supposed to be ordered for a table and not just one person. Hey, I certainly wasn’t complaining because I polished off the lot and was left feeling very satisfied!
It’s not very often that I get to travel out of Cairns and try new restaurants, except of course when I am working or on holidays (that has been quite a lot lately) but it was nice to check some of what Port Douglas has to offer. I do consider Port Douglas to be a little overrated but it was nice to have a little bit of ‘local knowledge’ shall we say when it came to choosing a restaurant for lunch since there is so damn many. The three of us really enjoyed our lunch at On The Inlet and it seems so do many other people judging by the cache of restaurant awards on the Wall near the entrance. I will say that the meals were a little on the expensive side but sometimes that is a given and you probably wouldn’t mind so much if you had payed those prices for dinner. I recommend On the Inlet to anyone heading up Port Douglas way, especially if you have a 2012 Entertainment book which KK did because you can get two for one main meals although it expires in June if I remember correctly. The food is superb, the service is friendly and punctual and the views are great. A word of warning though bring some insect repellant since there are a few sand flies about. Well the restaurant is ‘On The Inlet’.
On the Inlet
3 Inlet St, Port Douglas QLD 4877
Ph: (07) 4099 5939