Vivo Bar and Grill, Palm Cove

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A few days ago it was a good friend of mine’s birthday but because of some boy problems she was too upset on her birthday to do anything the poor love – she even turned down Thai takeaway at a picnic table on the Esplanade.  Yesterday much to my delight she was feeling a bit better and up for a belated birthday dinner.  After seeing a mention of a Weekly Set Menu out at Vivo in Palm Cove I decided we should give it a go and made a booking for three people for 7pm.  As self-appointed designated driver for one friend for the evening two of us arrived together on-time while the birthday girl arrived about ten minutes later.

Greetings and salutations were made along with some random chit-chat and an interim entrée of Garlic Ciabatta and we got down to business having a look over the Weekly Set Menu.  Having already viewed it online and deciding exactly what I was going to have (I had my heart set on Salmon Tataki) I was slightly disappointed to see that the online menu was different than the one we were presented.  With three choices each (one vegetarian) for the entrée, main and dessert the ‘new’ weekly set menu options I had were just as good if not better than what I had seen.  Although the three course menu sounded delish we all decided on the 2 course menu with a glass of Cape Mentelle Sauvignon Blanc because there was birthday cake lovingly made my moi.

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First up for our entrée LL and I ordered the Barramundi Croquettes with Smoked Capsicum Coulis, Basil Pesto and a Watercress/Radish Salad.  The panko crumbed croquettes were deliciously crunchy on the outside and soft and flavoursome on the inside.  The serving size was much larger than both of us were expecting for an entrée.  The Smoked Capsicum Coulis was flavoursome but not too overpowering and the radishes added a nice extra ‘organic’ crunch to the dish although I did notice that LL left his radish to the side.  Typical male.

Entrée - Panko Crumbed Barramundi Croquettes, Smoked Capsicum Coulis, Basil Pesto, Watercress and Radish Salad

Entrée – Panko Crumbed Barramundi Croquettes, Smoked Capsicum Coulis, Basil Pesto, Watercress and Radish Salad

On my right ST ordered the Thai Beef Salad with Roasted Veal Backstrap, Nam Jim Dressing, Crispy Shallots and Fried Wonton Skins.  ST thought that her entrée was delish although she said she wasn’t sold on the beef (probably because it was actually veal).  Again her entrée was a very decent serving size and ST said she would D.E.F.I.N.I.T.E.L.Y order it again.

Entrée - Thai Beef Salad with Medium Roasted Veal Back Strap, Cucumber, Fresh Herbs, Nam Jim Dressing, Crispy Shallots and Fried Wonton Skins

Entrée – Thai Beef Salad with Medium Roasted Veal Back Strap, Cucumber, Fresh Herbs, Nam Jim Dressing, Crispy Shallots and Fried Wonton Skins

Next up came our mains… although the other two dishes sounded inviting I simply couldn’t go past the Calamari Risotto with Squid Ink, Sautéed Calamari (local Calamari might I add), Garlic, Cherry Tomatoes, Spinach, Red Onion, Pecorino, Lobster Foam and Micro Herbs.  Sheesh – how’s that for a main?  This dish was quite large and I actually struggled to eat it.  Would it be bad if I said that my favourite part was actually the pecorino?  That stuff is just devilishly good and really they could have served me the entire block all on its own and I would have been beyond satisfied but the risotto was also quite lovely.

Main - Calamari Risotto with Squid Ink Arborio Rice, Sauteed Calamari, Garlic, Cherru, Tomato, Spinach, Red Onion, Pecorino, Lobster Foam and Micro Herbs

Main – Calamari Risotto with Squid Ink Arborio Rice, Sauteed Calamari, Garlic, Cherru, Tomato, Spinach, Red Onion, Pecorino, Lobster Foam and Micro Herbs

On either side of me both LL and ST had selected the Lamb Kalamaki, or Greek Style Marinated Lamb Skewers for those of you like me who have no idea what that is, with Tomato and Quinoa Tabouli, Almond Skordalia, Grilled Pita and Garlic Yogurt.  It seems I made a good choice for her birthday because ST raved about her main.  She even went as far as saying it was the best dish she had eaten out in quite a while and how come the Quinoa that she made never tasted like that?  Well if her Quinoa ends up anything like mine (bubbling all over the stove) then I’m not surprised.  LL agreed with ST and said that it was the best Lamb Kalamaki he’d had in a long time.  Great success!

Main - Lamb Kalamaki - Greek Style Marinated Lamb Skewers, Tomato/Quinoa Tabouli, Almond Skordalia, Grilled Pita and Garlic Yogurt

Main – Lamb Kalamaki – Greek Style Marinated Lamb Skewers, Tomato/Quinoa Tabouli, Almond Skordalia, Grilled Pita and Garlic Yogurt

So finally after it was all said and done the waiter bought out the Coconut Cake with Lime Icing and Pop Rocks and sparklers to boot (note to readers: Pop Rocks wait for no one and pop upon immediate application to the icing).  ST was delighted at having a homemade cake as a chorus of Happy Birthday erupted around her.  I have never really had a great deal of luck with baked goods in the past.  According to my entire family I am super crap at making cakes.  I made a pretty ordinary cake for my dad’s birthday back in 2010 and the assholes have never let me forget it.  And let’s not forget the all out family war I started with my extended family in Melbourne because I got angry at my cousin on Facebook after I found out his mum (my aunty) was baking her own birthday cake.  SERIOUSLY???!!!  So before tucking in I warned my two dining companions that the cake probably looked a lot better than it tasted and that in itself wasn’t great.  Much to my delight it turns out I was onto a winner with my coconut/pop rocks cake and ST took the leftover 3/4’s home with her to devour later on.

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So there you have it… Our two course meal at Vivo which was an absolute steal for only AU$39 per person including a glass of Cape Mentelle Sauvignon Blanc or Shiraz (AU$49 for three courses plus wine).  The service from our lovely waiter was attentive but not obtrusive.  The wait period between meals was spot on and all meals arrived together  with no one left waiting.  Breakfast, lunch or dinner any day of the week you can certainly count on a crowd but this still doesn’t take away from the laid back tropical atmosphere that Vivo has to offer.  Vivo Bar and Grill is one of Cairns’ and the surrounding areas very few ‘bankable’ restaurants and one of the best in Palm Cove.  I have eaten there many times and never been disappointed with the food or the service, the atmosphere and stunning beach front location is just a bonus.

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Posted on January 15, 2015, in Cairns and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Was at Vivo last week for breaky with our Swedish visitors, its their favourite breakfast joint. The “Bubble and Squeak” is fantastic! We have been many times for break and lunch but never dinner. After reading your review we will make it a must, that Calamari Risotto sounds superb!
    LL leaving his radish? Best part of the salad!

    • Hi Neil 🙂 Vivo seems to be the peoples favourite. I haven’t had one bad response yet. This was my first time eating dinner there and as you can see I wasn’t disappointed.

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