Early last week MS and I took his dad KS for a catch up lunch at the Cairns Cruising Yacht Squadron in Portsmith. It was a beautiful day outside, despite the near 20 knot winds so where better to enjoy it than on the waterfront with our Table 52 card in tow. Despite my parents owning a business in the Portsmith area for well over 20 years and me being a born and bred Cairns local I actually don’t think I have been to the Yacht Squadron in all my 20 something years but there is a first for everything.
We rocked on into the Yacht Squadron just after midday and took up a table outside on the patio overlooking Smith’s Creek and beyond that Admiralty Island. The friendly waitress came out to our table to greet us with a bottle of water, glasses and a menu each. She told us the specials including Fish of the Day – Red Throat Emperor, a Mexican Chicken Wrap with Chips (AU$14.50) and the ‘Worker’s Lunch’, a Pork and Gravy Roll with Chips for around the AU$7 mark. The waitress even managed to recite the specials off the top of her head and left us to have a think about what we were going to order. I had a look over the very reasonably priced menu with options such as a Greek Salad, Caesar Salad, BLT, Steak Sandwich, Burgers (I’ll be back for the Beef and Bacon Burger with Swiss Cheese, Caramelised Onion and Chilli Jam – sh*t yeah!), Calamari Fritti, Seafood Basket and Quiche.
Unlike his son, MS who claims to detest seafood in any shape or form (it’s a cover) KS loves it nearly as much as I do so he went with the Reef Fish which you can choose to have Battered, Crumbed or Grilled and served with a side of Golden Fries, homemade Tartare Sauce and a fresh Garden Salad. KS chose to have his fish lightly crumbed in Panko breadcrumbs (how Masterchef of them). Feeling a bit meaty MS decided on the 200gm Juicy Rump Steak with Golden Fries, Salad and a choice of Mushroom Sauce, Pepper Sauce or Gravy for AU$15.50. Before choosing the Calamari Fritti I asked the waitress if the seafood was sourced locally. She said that although she wasn’t entirely sure if it was local seafood it did come in frozen boxes from the wholesaler. I can’t really be too sure from that statement however I decided to err on a side of caution and went with the Mexican Chicken Wrap with Crumbed Chicken, Avocado, Lettuce, Tomato, Sour Cream and Sweet Chilli Sauce with Chips for AU$14.50. I asked if I could swap the lettuce for Rocket or Baby Spinach since I just don’t like lettuce and the waitress said they could swap it for Rocket and it was no problem. I was actually surprised that they had Rocket available since I have been to two cafes in the last couple of weeks that only have Iceberg Lettuce. Yucky. Anyway the waitress took all three orders including my little change out without a notepad and we received exactly what we ordered. I was stunned since many waitstaff at some of the expensive restaurants in city take your order with a notepad and still manage to stuff it up.
While we waited for our meals to arrive we took in the beautiful weather and tried to ignore the wind that almost made us move inside. It wasn’t too bad especially considering that only two of us actually have hair for the wind blow around. The two lonely seagulls floating around didn’t bother us even when our food arrived. There is a huge grassed area right in front of the eating area where kids can run around and do kid things and there is even a small playground for them to play on so it’s an ideal place to take your family (mind the large exposed body of water that is Smith’s Creek).
Our meals took about 15 minutes to arrive and they were a good sized serve for each of us. KS (whose meal I didn’t get a chance to take a photo of before he put pepper all over it) enjoyed his fish and chips although I think the salad was his favourite part since he ate the entire salad before anything else. He did comment on the shoe string fries and said that he would have preferred fatter ones. I tend to agree with him but technically I shouldn’t even be eating fries. MS’ steak was cooked to his liking (medium), a mean feat in this day and age when dining out and we both thought the mushroom sauce was delicious (he shared a piece of steak with me). There wasn’t a single piece of food left on his plate by the time he was finished so either he was really hungry or he really enjoyed it. It was both.
Lastly my Mexican Chicken Wrap was super tasty despite how it looks in the picture below. The slightly toasted wrap wasn’t too heavy like a tortilla, there was plenty of crumbed juicy chicken inside, the rocket was fresh and crunchy and it was a really decent serve. I loved that they included both Sweet Chilli Sauce and Sour Cream in the wrap because lets face it one just doesn’t go without the other.
We all really enjoyed our lunch at the Cairns Cruising Yacht Squadron. It was nice to get away from the usual city fare and try somewhere just a little bit off the beaten track. I was, however a little disappointed that the seafood is brought in frozen from the wholesaler considering the Squadron’s close proximity to local fishing trawlers. The venue isn’t five-star but it has a nice laid back feel to it and a great little outlook over Smith’s Creek where you can watch the boats coming and going. The meals are both tasty and very reasonably priced. Two big thumbs up to the lovely waitress who gave us fantastic service that these days is as rare as seeing Tarzan doing his shuffle along the side of the road on the southside of town.
The Cairns Cruising Yacht Squadron
42-48 Tingira St, Portsmith QLD 4870
Ph: (07) 4035 5115
Opening Hours: Lunch 11.30am – 2pm, Dinner 6pm – 8pm Sunday Brunch 8.30am – 11am