I’m out at sea (well I was when I wrote this) and bored out of my frigin brain so I figured I might as well attempt to kill a couple of hours by starting my next post. Recently a friend of MS’, and subsequently mine, invited us out for dinner to celebrate his birthday with his new wife and a few mutual friends. They tossed around a few ideas in a group message on FB as to where to go and in the end went with Linga Longa. I was happy with that decision (not that it was up to me at all) because I had heard good things about Linga Longa but I hadn’t yet been there (story of my life).
Saturday night came and MS and I arrived at Linga Longa to find we were the last ones to get there. We were seated down the back of the restaurant at our table of 8 (4 couples). After a bit of chit chat, me filling people in on how awesome Shanghai was and oohing and ahhing about a friends new Dashund puppy we ordered some drinks and had a look over the menu. The restaurant was full for a Saturday with a couple of waitstaff working overtime to keep all the tables happy.
I ordered my usual glass of Sauvignon Blanc while MS, after finding out that the only Cider that Linga Longa had on the menu was Strongbow (why haven’t restaurants caught onto the whole cider thing yet and who the hell even drinks Strongbow?!), decided he would have a Black Russian. Yeah I had no idea what it was either or maybe I’m just not with the times, who knows. So… apparently a Black Russian is Coke with Vodka and Kahlua. I didn’t think it was something that would appeal to me at all – especially considering that I haven’t touched vodka with a 10 foot pole after an entire day spent with my head in a bucket after only 5 vodka’s during a State of Origin night at the Courthouse a few years ago (okay okay they were the more than lethal Smirnoff Black’s but still!). Turns out that Black Russian’s are actually alright, well the sip that I had of it anyway. The birthday boy, SG, liked the idea of a Black Russian so much that he ordered one for himself after consuming what I can only say is a girlie drink – a mojito (yes SG if you are reading this mojito’s are for girls).
Three out of four couples at the table had some sort of voucher to use for dinner. When I say ‘some sort’ I mean 2 x Table 52 cards plus MS and I had our Entertainment Book Gold Card. I wasn’t sure if we would be able to use all three together. Apparently there was quite a bit of commotion caused when some of the guys at our table had tried to use a few Table 52 cards at Wink 2 a few months prior to this birthday dinner – to put it lightly the waiter/owner whatever he was (I wasn’t there) was quite rude and as a result none of them will ever go back there again, and that is on top of the ordinary food that they had already had. Anyway, it remained to be seen how we would go with our vouchers, but I figured we would just wait till it came time to pay the bill to find out.
We all ordered entrees and mains with MS and I ordering a Salt and Pepper Squid and sourdough with a trio of dips (Hommus, Babaganoush and Tzatziki) to share between the two of us. The Salt and Pepper Squid seemed to be the most popular entree at our table with four servings ordered in total, however it took a good 40 minutes from when we arrived to when we received our entrees – hell we didn’t order until thirty minutes after we arrived! Just that little bit too long if you ask me. I had high expectations for Linga Longa since I had heard a lot of good things about it and people are always harping on about the fantastic service they receive there, but all was not lost.
In between waiting for our entrees and chatting we watched the torrential downpours outside from the warmth and dryness of our cosy table for eight. Our entrees arrived in a procession bought out by two of the waitstaff. The sourdough and dips were placed in front of me whilst the Salt and Pepper Squid which, let’s face it were actually meant for MS, were placed in front of him. There was a small pile of lightly seasoned squid next to a small garden salad with a lemon wedge and some tartare sauce. The squid was delicious, tender and an okay sized serving however for the AU$18 we paid I would have expected a little more. My trio of dips came with 6 slices of grilled bread, some a little burnt around the edges which didn’t get eaten.
The presentation of both the squid and the bread and dips was very homestyle and not nearly as fancy as I was expecting but then again the more I think about it I am pretty sure that homestyle cooking is part of the concept and the appeal at Linga Longa. The bread and dips weren’t anything to write home about – just bread and dip really. A couple of others at the table had chosen the Deep Fried Camembert with Tropical Fruit and Berry Coulis for AU$19.50 (didn’t get a photo) as their entrée. I was lucky enough to snavel a piece from someone else’s plate and it was very decadent – but good. Very good.
We waited another 15 or so minutes, ordering another round of drinks in the meantime (Black Russian #2) and then our mains arrived. MS had ordered the Chicken Breast Stuffed with Camembert, wrapped in Streaky Bacon, and finished with a Creamy Parmesan Sauce and Mashed Potato for AU$31.50. Although the Chicken Breast was stuffed with oozy Camembert Cheese MS found it to be very dry and chewy. The vegetables on the side of his plate were cold as though they had just been taken out of the fridge. He was pretty disappointed with his meal and didn’t finish it all, leaving about 1/3 behind. For what he got I think that $31.50 was a little steep – it’s just a chicken breast, really. In my opinion it’s really just one of those boring, ‘standard’ dishes that every restaurant has on the menu for the tame and unadventurous individuals like MS.
After tossing up a few different dishes on the menu I ended up going with the Roasted Pork Special (especially after finding out that it was pork belly because I have a major weakness for anything with crackling attached to it). It was Roasted Pork Belly with Sliced Apple and Sauerkraut on the side for around the AU$39 mark. I have to say that my dish was delicious. The Pork Belly was succulent and juicy with just the right amount of fat to meat ratio and shock horror the crackling was actually crispy (a mean feat for restaurants, and even myself sometimes). The sweet apple and sauerkraut were beautiful additions to my dish – I really, really enjoyed it!
Across the table from us the newlyweds were enjoying their own meals. After wondering if the Bugs were a little too messy for a dinner with friends, AM decided to order them anyway following a few words of encouragement from myself and SG. The Chargrilled Bugs with Lemon Butter, Peri Peri Sauce and served with Steamed Rice and Veggies for AU$38 was a more than generous dish with two and a half bugs in total nestled next to the rice and veggies. Turns out that AG didn’t make too much of a mess after all but she sure as hell enjoyed her meal and was more than happy with her choice of main.
Next to her SG had the Duck Al’Orange – Half Semi De-Boned Duck twice cooked with Buttered Pomme Landaise and Orange and Cointreau Sauce for AU$34.50, a dish that I had also tossed up getting because let’s face it “duck is the shit!” No, not “shit”, “the shit”. I love duck… but not as much as I love pork belly. Anyway, so again we were all surprised with the portion size. One reason that I didn’t order it was because I assumed it would be just a small duck leg and I would be left hungry but no, not this Duck Al’Orange. I think there was a little jealousy around the table when SG’s main arrived. It has to be said that SG thought it to be pretty tasty too. Sizeable and tasty = winning!
To be honest I don’t remember a whole lot about the dessert part of the night. Most likely because neither MS or I decided to have any (there was no Sticky Date Pudding *sad face*). I do recall something about the rest of the table ordering Chocolate Fondant’s in proliferation around us though and by all reports they were full of gooey, chocolate-y goodness.
So to wrap things up for our Saturday night dinner at Linga Longa… It appears that good old fashioned service and home style food is the biggest draw card for diners at Linga Longa. The owner personally welcomes people as they arrive at his restaurant and from what I observed it seems that a lot of them are regulars at his restaurant. The owner and his staff have obviously taken the time to get to know many of these people whom most likely live in the immediate Edge Hill area, or close by.
The majority of the food (except for MS’ chicken and my sourdough) was exceptional albeit a little on the pricey side but I think that’s what most diners are happy to pay for good French style, home-cooked food, often generous portions (well for fine dining anyway) and service in a relaxed and cosy but still classy atmosphere. Also worth mentioning was the fact that we were able to use our Entertainment Book Gold Card and the others also used their Table 52 cards without a single word of protest uttered by the waiter who organised the bill. Another win! Linga Longa certainly lived up to it’s name because we were there for over two and a half hours but unlike the horrible Smirnoff Black’s that will never see the light of day with me again this restaurant is well worth a revisit.
120 Collins Ave, Edge Hill QLD 4870
Ph: (07) 4032 2136
Opening Hours: Tues – Thurs 5.30pm – 10pm, Fri 11.30am – 2.30pm & 5.30pm – 10pm, Sat 5.30pm – 10pm, Sun 11.30am – 2.30pm & 5.30pm – 10pm
Since neither MS or I had time to celebrate Valentines Day on Valentines Day this year we saved our night out till the Saturday after and went and had dinner at C’est Bon together. We called up last-minute after umming and ahhing about whether or not we would get takeaway or go out and if we were to go out then where we would go. In the end MS picked up the phone and dialed the number for C’est Bon (after Googling it of course) and made a reservation for 8pm, much to my delight. He knows just how long I have been wanting to go there because I had never been so he made the decision easy. I was unsure if we would be able to get in on such short notice on a Saturday but luckily enough they still had a vacancy for the two of us.
We arrived on time after I painstakingly made my way from a car park in front of the Casino down the lane way and to the front door in my new shoes that I am trying to break in for a wedding (not my wedding, a wedding). Sadly I think it’s going to take a lot more wears than one night at dinner to break those puppies in. When we arrived we were greeted by a waitress and told her that we had a reservation for two. She gestured towards a small table out the front of the restaurant and told us that it wasn’t ready yet but we could either have a drink at the bar while she set it up or we could take a seat and she could set up around us. We opted to sit at the table while she set up around us although it would have been nice if the table could have been ready when we arrived seeing as MS had called up to make a reservation little more than an hour and a half before. Maybe they had been busy.
As I said earlier I have never once made it to C’est Bon, although I do seem to vaguely remember going to lunch or dinner there before it was C’est Bon. That must have been a very long time ago. Does anyone recall what was there before C’est Bon? Like I said before I’ve always wanted to dine at C’est Bon but just never got around to it. I guess it’s a little easy to forget about the place since it’s kinda tucked away down the end of Lake Street. I have heard only good things about the place and have a friend who regularly dines there with her partner. I also gave my parents a Gift Voucher for C’est Bon last Christmas since I am in the habit of giving them Gift Vouchers for dinner at Christmas time, some may think it’s a little impersonal but I like to think it’s very practical. Plus who doesn’t like going out for dinner to a nice restaurant that is already paid for? Mum and dad thought it was very nice BTW. Although I did study French at school for five years, I haven’t yet had the opportunity to travel to France so I really have no idea what French food is other than frogs legs and escargot. I was however pretty sure that the ‘Sandwich au Jambon’ so regularly spoke about in French class wouldn’t be making an appearance at C’est Bon.
When the waitress was done setting up our table she brought us out a couple of menu’s to look at. We had pretty much already decided that we were going to go with the set menu which includes an entrée, main and dessert for just under $50. I ordered a glass of Pencarrow Savignon Blanc (AU$9) while MS being the grandpa that he is ordered a glass of coke. The waitress told us that the Set Menu changed every month and that the Fish of the Day was Saltwater Barramundi. While we waited for our drinks to arrive we had a look over the menu. There were three options to choose from for each course and in the end we both chose exactly the same thing. For entrée we chose the Seared Squid Served with Sautéed Capsicum, for the main we chose the Pork Belly Resting on Slowly Cooked Lentils, Carrots and Bacon and for dessert we chose the Oozing Chocolate Fondant Served with Vanilla Ice Cream. To be honest I wasn’t too taken with the Set Menu, although squid, pork belly and chocolate would rate high on my list of favourite foods. It just sounded… well… boring. Other options to choose from included Cauliflower Soup or Ratatouille for entrée, Lamb and Saltwater Barramundi for main and Macaron and Creme Caramel for dessert.
Not long after we had ordered the waitress brought out a small dish with two bite sized portions on it and placed it in front of us without a word. The two of us exchanged a ‘what the hell is that look’ and when she didn’t tell us MS asked her what it was. She didn’t seem to know and mumbled something about salmon to us, shuffled around a couple of things on our table and left. MS decided that I could have both of them seeing as he doesn’t like salmon. I tried to convince him that he would surely like it and in an encouraging move I ate mine in one bite so I could tell him just how delicious it was. Turns out it wasn’t so delicious. It was ice-cold having come straight out of the fridge and the crostini type thing underneath was slightly stale from being in the fridge. The salmon tasted like salmon from a tin and the whole thing was so unappetizing that I couldn’t hide my distaste. It tasted like cat food and in the end I just told him it was yuck and not to eat it. I didn’t want MS to use that one little salmon bite as ammo for never trying salmon again.
Our drinks came out a good 10-15 minutes after we ordered them, in fact they took long enough that I wondered if they had actually forgotten our drinks altogether. MS’ glass of coke was very watered down which tells me that it had plenty of time for the ice to melt while it was sitting on the counter waiting to be brought out to us. My glass of Pencarrow was however very nice and I do love a good glass of wine (or two) with dinner.. While waiting for our entrée’s to arrive a male waiter whom I was most delighted to find was actually French (and not bad looking might I add) served us some warm bread rolls with butter. These were crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside and with a slathering of butter the two of us practically inhaled them. Seeing as we don’t eat bread very often, it was a bit of a treat for us.
Not long after our entrée’s arrived, again with the French waiter. The Squid appeared to be the whole mantle of the squid with the membrane still attached sliced down the middle and seared so it curled up. It was delicately placed on top of a bed of Sautéed Capsicum and beneath it was a small pool of squid ink. The squid tasted beautiful and fresh, although a touch overcooked. I didn’t like the Sautéed Capsicum but then again I don’t like capsicum. I tried to palm the capsicum off to MS but he didn’t seem too keen on it either. By the time he had finished his dish he figured out what the black stuff on the bottom was and asked me if it was squid ink to which I nodded and said I didn’t say anything to him sooner because I wasn’t sure if he would eat it. He didn’t seem too bothered about it but that was after the fact. He really is a big baby when it comes to food sometimes. The waiter then came and cleared our plates and we waited for the next course to arrive.
About 10 minutes after finishing our entrée our main’s arrived. The waiter placed a plate down in front of each of us with an enormous portion of pork belly on it. I was expecting far less at such a fancy restaurant but was pleasantly surprised. Sitting on top of the pork was what appeared to be poached pieces of apple and underneath was a sea of lentils. Come to think of it there was no bacon or carrots on the plate as stated in the set menu but then again the apple wasn’t mentioned either. The pork appeared to have quite a large layer of fat between the crackling and the meat but it seems I was mistaken because when I cut it open the majority of it was meat. The layer of crackling on the top was really chewy and although it took me what seemed like an eternity to saw through it with my butter knife I did eventually get there, with hard work and determination. Not MS though, he pretty much gave up and left the ‘crackling’ on the side of his plate. The pork would have been better if it was crunchy and crackly like it was supposed to be. The lentils on the bottom of the dish were very hearty and the two of us found them to be too way too rich. I found the whole dish to be very heavy which is normal for pork belly but a drizzle of some kind of sweet sauce would have done wonders for it since the small slices of poached apple on top were just not enough. We were both disappointed and probably only ate about half each. The French waiter came out to clear our plates and asked if we had enjoyed our meal to which we replied ‘Mmmm yeah’. It was a lie really.
Next up we sat and waited for our desserts to arrive. After waiting a good twenty minutes and our dessert hadn’t yet appeared the French waiter came over and said that there was only one Chocolate Fondant left for the two of us and asked if we would like to choose something else. Neither of the two other choices on the Set Menu (the Macaron or Creme Caramel) excited us so we asked if we could see their ‘norma’l dessert menu. In the end after much “I don’t like that” and “I don’t like this” we both decided to stick with the chocolate theme and ordered a Chocolate Mousse. About 5 minutes later our Chocolate Fondant and Chocolate Mousse arrived. The Chocolate Mousse had a large ‘crisp’ of chocolate draped over the cup that it was sitting it which melted almost as soon as it was walked out the C’est Bon doors and into the ensuing humidity.
We shared our desserts but I’ll admit I got most of the Chocolate Fondant to myself and it was definitely the better one of the two. Digging my spoon gently into the side of the fondant sent warm chocolate oozing out all over the plate. I guess that is why they call it ‘Oozing Chocolate Fondant’. It was delicious and we each enjoyed spoonfuls of fondant with ice cream and a little mousse on the top. We were in chocolate heaven and the dessert course was certainly the highlight of our meal at C’est Bon. Shame though that we couldn’t have both had a Chocolate Fondant like was originally planned.
While we were finishing up our desserts and I was wallowing in a sad sea of my own C’est Bon expectations (aka I was disappointed with the place I had built up so much) a friend of ours, SBD, walked past on his way into town. He stopped and chatted to us asking how our meal was and blah blah blah. I told him that I had thought it would be better and we were both pretty disappointed with the food that we were served during our three course set menu. SBD was surprised since he dined at C’est Bon often and loved the place but he told us that the regular chef was away on holidays and the owner was taking his place in the kitchen in the meantime. That explained why our meal hadn’t been up to scratch but still didn’t make me feel any better about what we had just eaten and what we were just about to pay for on our belated Valentines Day dinner. It was displeasing to hear that the one time I had finally got my shit together and made it to C’est Bon the regular chef was on holidays. I’m not saying that the food was bad but it wasn’t close to good. Again the Oozing Chocolate Fondant was definitely a hit for both MS and I but we had to share it and opt for a more mediocre dessert to take the place of the second one. The squid and pork belly dishes for entrée and main respectively seemed unimaginative and lack-lustre with both of them missing that little something something. The service that we received from the French waiter was standout and second to none. He was friendly, personable and authentic. There is something about a guy with a French accent that just does it for me (and most women I am assuming). The guy could tell me that my dog had just died and I would just smile and nod (PS: I don’t have a dog, I’m a cat person). The same cannot be said for the female waitress who just didn’t seem to be at all happy to be there on her Saturday night. Also, we only had our waters topped up once and no one came to ask if we wanted another Coke or glass of wine. It was frigin hot outside too so more water wouldn’t have gone astray. Having the regular head chef away is really no excuse for serving below par food and the food should be of the highest standard regardless of who is in the kitchen. Still, all is not lost with me (just yet) and C’est Bon and I will most certainly return one day when the regular chef is back from his holidays, though hopefully sooner rather than later. C’est la vie.
20 Lake St, Cairns QLD 4870
Ph: (07) 4051 4488
Opening Hours: Tues – Fri 12pm – 2pm, Tues – Sat 6pm – 10pm
My friends and I thought we would make the most of the weather that Cairns has been having so we went for a bit of waterfront atmosphere with our lunch on Saturday. We ended up at the Pier at M Yogo, formerly Mature Yogo (I much prefer the new name). They have a lunch special for $20 which includes garlic bread, a glass of beer, wine or softdrink or instead soup of the day and a main. Pretty damn good value I think! I decided on the soup of the day which was Cauliflower Soup instead of the drink while my friends opted for the drink. Boy were they bummed when my soup came out and they were sitting there sipping on their soft drinks 🙂 First we had the garlic bread and then my soup came out. The soup was rich and creamy and just the right size. Then came our mains… I ordered Sauteed Prawns with Balsamic Sauce and Potato Salad (left). I was a bit sad because I was truly intent on ordering the Slow Cooked Duck in Red Wine and Seasonal Vegetables but the waiter informed us that it wasn’t on the menu that day so I was severely disappointed about that but I soldiered on. Moving right along, Sophie ordered the Tiger Prawn, Marinated Salmon and Squid on a bed of Green Salad with a fresh Tomato Dressing and Luke ordered Grilled Salad and Squid Provencal Sauce with Crush Potato and Mesculin Lettuce. We were all pretty satisfied with our dishes and the presentation was fantastic. So after a bit of a food photo session we dug in and it was delicious. The prawns were cooked perfectly (as you would expect prawns to be at a restaurant) but my favourite was the Balsamic Sauce around the edge. It was truly delicious, fantastic value, awesome atmosphere and I think the pics speak for themselves!
Shop G9 Ground Floor “Pier Shopping”
Pier Point Road, Cairns QLD 4870
Ph: (07) 4051 0522
Opening Hours: Open 7 days; Lunch: 11.30am – 2.00pm, Dinner: from 5.30pm