Coco’s Restaurant Business Lunch, Cairns
I am currently attempting to trawl through the enormous amount of lunch specials that are on offer in Cairns during the week. Coco’s Restaurant at The Sebel (formerly the Cairns International Hotel) is one of those places, offering a three course lunch with a glass of wine for a mere $30 a head. Sounds too good to be true! I have dined at the Sebel many times over the years usually for their highly regarded Sunday Brunch, which is said to be one of the best in town. We chose The Sebel because it was pretty windy and cold outside so we went for a nice indoor setting and Coco’s Restaurant certainly provides that. We were greeted by a waitress who ushered us to our seats, right next to a couple dining in the restaurant. Since there was only four tables of two occupying the restaurant I thought it was bit strange to seat us all on top of each other. Maybe she was trying to plan ahead for the rush of people at lunch time? Alas, this was the not the case as no one else turned up.
The waitress handed us our menus and poured us a glass of water and a glass of Goodwyn Semillion Sauvignon Blanc. The wine wasn’t very nice but then again I’m not a big fan of semillion at the best of times. FW and I perused the menu and made a selection from three entrees, three mains and three desserts. We both commented that the menu was a little bit heavy for lunch especially one termed the “Business Lunch” with the assumption being that those business and executive types can come and have a three course lunch and go back and not fall asleep at their desk with a ridiculously full stomach. Still, we didn’t have to go to work after. For entree FW ordered the Sweet Potato, Kessler Bacon Arancini and Tomato Salsa with Rocket and Parmesan Salad. It looked delicious when it came out and FW said it was ‘nice’ and that’s all well and good but it seems that the chef forgot to put the tomato salsa on the plate.
I ordered the Tempura Soft Shell Crab with Fennel and Citrus Salad and Smoked Paprika Aioli. The crab was nice and crispy and it was delicious. I asked the waitress if she could find out where the crab was from and she looked at me like I was from another planet, tottered off into the kitchen and came back and said she couldn’t find the chef. Bit strange considering he was supposed to be in there preparing our mains. The fennel salad was tasty but consisted mostly of very woody endive leaves that I found difficult to eat. I would have preferred if it was just fennel and citrus as stated on the menu.
For main FW ordered the Vegetable and Tofu Spring Roll with Baby Bok Choy, Peanut Sauce and Steamed Rice. It seems the presentation for the meal took more effort than the actual preparation of the meal because the spring rolls certainly looked appetising but FW claimed they tasted horrible and ended up only eating the bok choy and the rice and leaving the spring rolls on the side.
For my main I ordered the Braised Lamb Shanks with Garlic Mash, Root Vegetables and Shiraz Jus. The entire meal was delicious and the mash was nice and creamy, the lamb shanks were just a little bit tough and didn’t quite fall off the bone. A little bit heavy for lunch but like I said I wasn’t working after our meal so no skin off my nose.
Now last but not least were the desserts, FW ordered the House Brie, Walnut Bread, Apple and Drunken Muscatel. This was by far her favourite dish of the three, it was simple yet effective (and yummy too). FW said she would have preferred more walnut bread as opposed to the assortment of water crackers but then anything with brie in it usually has FW’s seal of approval.
I chose the old favourite Sticky Date Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. You really can’t go wrong with sticky date pudding. It was light and fluffy and there was a plethora of butterscotch sauce to mop it up with. Yum!
Business lunch at Coco’s Restaurant, would I go there again? Probably not, no. The food wasn’t very exciting nor special, with the desserts being the highlight of the three courses. The choices on the menu for the three courses could have been a bit more imaginative and also a bit lighter and on top of that the waitress was extremely disinterested but maybe she was just having a bad day. Sunday brunch at Coco’s Restaurant is pretty spectacular (for Cairns anyway) but the business lunch during the week is no more than mediocre at best.
The Sebel 17 Abbott St, Cairns
Ph: 1800 079 100
Opening Hours: 11.30am till 4pm daily