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Lunch @ Bayleaf Balinese Restaurant, Cairns

Last post on the 21st of June? Geez I have been slack!  Apologies again for I have been out of phone range and this is a post I was supposed to do before I was so rudely interrupted to go to work.  So MS and I finally made it to the Bayleaf for lunch after many attempts to go there.  We went there for a Friday afternoon lunch date with MS’ dad a couple of weeks ago arriving to a restaurant with only a few occupied tables.  Sitting down outside near the line of trees along the pathway and the unlit bamboo torches (well it was daytime) we were given menu’s from the waitress and all identified the Balinese Set Lunch for $19.50 per person as what we wanted to eat.  The Set Satu consists of Green Papaya and Vegetable Salad, Mixed Sates (that’s how they spell it on the menu), Balinese Chicken Curry, Pork in Sweet Soya Sauce and Fresh Tropical Fruits all served with Steamed Rice, Daily Vegetables, Peanut Sauce and Condiments.  All that for AU$19.50 I hear you say?  Sh*t yeah!

I could see the lonely chef busily working in the kitchen not far from where we were seated but despite how hurried he looked we didn’t wait too long for our meals to arrive.   I did notice, however that the people next to us were served before us even though they arrived after us.  The lady did say that they dined there often (I didn’t actually ask her she just felt the need to tell me) so it seems the staff may play favourites but I think she was on her lunch break from the hospital and since we had nothing in particular to do on this fine Friday I let it slide.  Our food arrived on a large platter and I have to say it looked fantastic.  We did get quite a bit of food between the three of us.  Having never been to Bali (I don’t particularly want to go there) I can’t say whether this was genuine Balinese food but it tasted pretty damn good.  We got three mixed sate’s each – beef, pork and chicken and they were grilled over their own little bed of hot coals.  They had a really nice flame licked flavour and I particularly enjoyed the extra Satay Sauce that they give you on the side because lets face it, you can never get enough Satay Sauce.

Nasi Campur – Set Satu (AU$19.50)

The serving of rice was probably just a little bit small for the three of us but on reading a few reviews it seems that at Bayleaf they happily top up your rice at no extra charge.  The Green Papaya salad was delicious.  Not as good as my old Thai favourite Som Tum but it was nice and lucky for me MS didn’t seem at all interested in it, while I distracted KS with the Vegetable Salad that had bean sprouts in it.  Yuck.  Not a fan of bean sprouts.  KS however loved the Vegetable Salad so that worked for me.

Green Papaya Salad

One thing that I wish we had more of was what I am assuming was the Daily Vegetables, which upon a bit of googling appears to be called Acar.  It’s pretty much just a type of pickle that consists of chopped vegetables in Vinegar.  It just reminds me of the good old days when my mum and dad used to get takeaway from Rahmah’s on Shields Street near the Grand Hotel.  Does anyone remember that place?  I don’t know if I was just too young to know any better but I’m pretty sure the food was amazing!  Anyway Rahmah’s used to serve something very similar to the Daily Vegetables that they have at Bayleaf.

Clockwise from left: Daily Vegetables, Soy Sauce with Chili, Satay Sauce

We shared the little bowls of Balinese Chicken Curry and the Pork in Sweet Soya Sauce.  I thought that the Chicken Curry was yummier than that Pork because it was really creamy and the chicken was so tender.

Balinese Chicken Curry

The pork pieces were a little overcooked in my opinion but that didn’t seem to bother either MS or KS who didn’t seem to notice.  The only problem that I have with the little bowls of curry is that I’m not really that good at sharing, apparently something I have struggled with since I was very young.  My mum claims that if you had given me a bag of lollies (no my mum was not in the habit of giving me bags of lollies when I was little but still) and you asked me for one I would whinge and cry for you to go away because for god’s sake I did not want to share those lollies.  Whereas my younger sister would apparently give you the whole bag without so much as a tear.  Seems I have carried this into my adult life and although you wouldn’t really notice it’s more of an internal struggle.  I just get really sick of the same old conversation that I am sure everyone is familiar with… “You have the last piece.” “No I don’t want it, I’m too full.  You have it.”  “No I don’t want it.”  “Ok I’ll have it then.”  Let’s face it.  You’re not too full and you really do want that last piece.  Couldn’t we just save the hassle and give everyone a little bowl of their own?

Pork in Sweet Soya Sauce

To top off our meal (once our plates were cleared) we were served a fruit platter full of fruit including watermelon, honeydew, rockmelon, passionfruit (only two halves between three though), grapes, grapefruit and pomelo.  It was a nice way to finish off our meal and the fruits were really juicy and fresh.  There was quite a bit there and we couldn’t finish it all despite trying.

Fruit Platter

For those of you that aren’t too keen on spice, the food that we ate wasn’t particularly spicy and I can tell you that with confidence because even the slightest hint of spice has MS a complete sniffly mess.  I know this because I cooked him a very mild Thai Green Curry when we first got together only to have him use half a box of tissues and down nearly two litres of milk to ‘stop the burning’ (so romantic).  Lucky for the waitresses at Bayleaf there was no sniffly mess this particular Friday.  Having dined at Bayleaf Restaurant for dinner I have to say that the atmosphere is a lot better at night.  The presence of the lit bamboo torches certainly gives the place a very exotic feel whereas during the day it’s just a plain old restaurant with views of the hospital.  Don’t let that deter you though because the Balinese Set Lunch is not only delicious but also good value for those of you who don’t mind sharing and even those of you that do (like me).

Bayleaf Balinese Restaurant

Corner of Lake and Gatton St, Cairns QLD 4870

Ph: (07) 4051 4622

Opening Hours: Lunch Mon – Fri 12pm – 2pm, Dinner 7 days 6pm till late