Sauce BBQ Restaurant, Cairns
The first cab off the rank with my deck of Table 52 cards was Sauce BBQ Restaurant for lunch last week. Since my overseas holiday I have dined out so much it’s ridiculous! Restaurants that I have dined at include Tosca’s, The Cairns Courthouse, Lime and Pepper, Cafe China, Tha Fish, Perotta’s, Bella Vista, Haveli and On The Inlet just to name a few. That’s not to say that I am going to review them all but I’ll certainly try. Back to Sauce… After driving around and around and around looking for a park in the city MS and I decided we might as well head to the Pier, take advantage of their free underground parking and choose a restaurant there (there is only two restaurants at the Pier to choose from in the Table 52 cards, Sauce and Tha Fish). We chose the ‘sort of new’ Sauce BBQ Restaurant, formerly Cho Gao.
We took a seat amongst a couple of occupied tables out on the deck since Summer is over and it’s not so damn hot outside. Although the furnishings and decor at Sauce are modern and stylish I still find the place a litte sterile, just as I found Cho Gao. I can’t exactly put my finger on it but I think it’s because there seems to be a lot of empty space in what is quite a big restaurant. The interior just doesn’t seem very inviting. Still I have dined at Sauce for lunch within a couple of weeks of it opening and really enjoyed it (their sweet potato chips are awesome!) so I figured I should come back and do a post about it. As we perused the menu the friendly waiter came over and gave us a few pointers i.e. what he recommended and the serving sizes. MS ordered the Beef Ribs with BBQ Glaze served with Potato Wedges and Salad for AU$30 while I ordered the Surf and Turf Platter for AU$22. We ordered the Curried Pumpkin Soup with Sour Cream and Crusty Bread for AU$9 as an entree to share. There were three glaze options for the ribs – BBQ, Bush Plum or Smoked Paprika – but the waiter didn’t give us an option upon ordering, something we didn’t realise till after he had left so MS had to make a trip to the counter to request the BBQ glaze. We didn’t wait long for the meals to arrive, obviously the Curried Pumpkin Soup arrived first. The soup was creamy, delicious and definitely had some bite to it. MS isn’t too keen on hot food but he was still able to eat it so it can’t have been too hot. Lets just say my background has exposed me to some pretty hot food so it certainly didn’t bother me. It was a large serving size, even for two and we didn’t finish it all in the end.
One of the first things I noticed about my Platter was the presentation however considering that Sauce is owned by the same couple that own Wink II I would expect as much. It seems Leon’s flair for presentation has rubbed off on the Head Chef at Sauce. The Surf and Turf Platter had a selection of… well… Surf and Turf of course! There was some Chicken Skewers, Pork Belly, Chicken Wings, and Prawns with Jamaican Coleslaw and Rice. I guess it wasn’t really what I expecting (not exactly what I would call a platter) and some of the items on the dish were cold but it was still tasty and considering I didn’t pay for it (cue Table 52 card) it was good enough. I would however suggest a dipping sauce because it was technically a meat platter and you need sauce for that sh*t! After all isn’t that what the restaurant is so aptly named after?
The serve of Beef Ribs was humungous! The waiters recommendation to have the Beef Ribs when MS said he was ‘starving’ was a pretty good steer in the right direction. They were super tender and succulent with the meat just falling off the bone. There was so much that I even managed to snavel a whole Beef Rib all to myself simply because MS couldn’t finish the meal. I find Beef Ribs, like Lamb Shanks, to be very rich probably due to the fat content so I can never eat very much of them and this was also the case for MS, still he did manage to make quite a dint in his meal and he enjoyed it.
I really hope that Sauce does well unlike the previous restaurant in the same position. Unfortunately everytime I walk past there doesn’t seem to be anyone there. Like I said at the beginning of this post it might be due to the sterile atmosphere but also might be because people haven’t yet realised that it’s no longer Cho Gao. I’m not going to say that Sauce is really good because it’s not but I’m also not going to say that it’s really bad because it’s not. Sauce has real potential to be a great restaurant and there are some delicious sounding dishes on the menu that I am definitely going to go back and try. Go and check it out and let me know what you think, especially if you have a pack of Table 52 cards, and if you don’t then why not huh?
The Pier, Pier Point Rd, Cairns QLD 4870
Ph: (07) 4041 6991
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 8.30am – 5.00pm, Sat – Sun 11.30am – 11pm