If you’re a true Cairns local then it’s more than likely that you’ve heard of the Wings of Death challenge at the Green Ant Cantina on Bunda Street. For those of you that haven’t well it goes a little like this… The Wings of Death are chicken wings that are coated in secret hot sauces made from ‘some of the hottest chillies known to man’ – the habanero and the ghost chilli. To win the challenge one must eat seven of these wings without any liquids to ease the burn and the plate must be completely sauce free at the end. If you achieve all that then you get a bumper sticker and your name on the ‘Wall of Flame’, because how cool are bumper stickers? Pretty sweet deal huh? Did I do it? Well, not exactly…
As someone that has watched the entire series of Man Vs Food and heard various tales of people that have attempted the Wings of Death I’d be lying if I didn’t say curiosity had gotten the better of me over time. Thinking that I am pretty bulletproof admittedly I have always wondered what it was like to do one of these so called ‘challenges’ last Friday night whilst there with my family for a friend’s birthday dinner MS suggested we give it a go.
Ok, ok initially the suggestion was made for the Birthday Boy to do the entire Wings of Death challenge but he pretty much straight up refused it. Soon after dad’s curiosity as to how hot these wings really were also got the better of him. He lay down the challenge to myself and the Birthday Boy saying that we couldn’t/wouldn’t eat one and so we decided that the only way to find out was to order a plate of the Wings of Death and share them.
This wouldn’t be the first time my dad has egged me on and no doubt it won’t be the last. Ever since I was a kid everything between me and him has been a competition (a friendly one of course) – from who could run the fastest to who could eat dinner the fastest, hence the reason that now as an adult I don’t chew my food, I inhale it. And who could forget our much contested appearance on the live audience version of Fear Factor at Universal Studios back in 2005 where we both drank a concoction of blended up sour milk, fish guts, duck tongues, live maggots and live crickets. I beat dad by drinking two cups of the horrendous tasting gunk to move onto the next round in my unquestionable gut churning domination of the event. Dad still to this day cannot let it go and swears that he drank it faster than I did unbeknown to the entire studio audience that was watching. Needless to say The Mummy rollercoaster ride later on that day was a memorable experience for all the wrong reasons.
So now you understand how competitive things can get between us I shall go back to my original story. To cut an already long story short the death wings arrived at the table and out of the 9 people there only 3 of us ate a Wing of Death – myself, my dad and the Birthday Boy. My brother put his finger in the chilli to taste it and cried like a little baby, my Sri Lankan mother who barely consumed a ‘bee’s d*ck’ of the sauce made an awful racket about how badly it burned and then the rest of the table just down right refused to go anywhere near it.
The remaining three of us each consumed a wing whilst waiting for our mains to arrive. It goes without saying that these wings are ridiculously hot but because we weren’t officially doing the challenge (we were just sharing an entree) we could have as much water or in my case blue cheese sauce as we wanted. After the tears and the running noses we all decided that one Wing of Death was indeed enough and the remainder of the wings were pushed to the end of the table never to be thought about again. Or so we thought.
We had dinner, which might I add wasn’t particularly great, and I was about to signal the waitress to bring out the birthday cake. About an hour had passed since we ate ‘one’ Wing of Death each and I began to feel a slight burning in my tummy followed by a strong feeling of being generally ill. I excused myself from the table and went to the ladies toilet which was luckily very close by, all the while using every ounce of my energy not to fall over because I was so dizzy. I sat in there for a good five minutes sweating profusely and wondering if possibly my drink had been spiked. I also seriously considered lying down and curling up on the cold concrete floor at my feet. I heard a bit of a commotion outside the door and realised that I wasn’t in fact the only one that felt this way.
Because I had so quietly excused myself to go to the toilet when my dad started panting heavily and struggling to breathe MS sincerely thought he may be having a heart attack and went into full emergency mode, which luckily is what he is trained for. A few minutes later when I literally dragged myself from the toilet and the rest of the table saw how deathly white and pouring with sweat I was we all realised it was in fact the Wings of Death. The party was over. No cake for me and dad, or anyone for that matter. Mum drove dad home stopping suddenly along the way so he could power spew on the side of the road. My sister, who pleaded with me to go straight to the emergency ward, on my staunch request took me straight home where I lay on the shower floor in foetal position with severe stomach cramps until MS forced me to drink milk and miraculously as quickly as it had come on the pain subsided.
For dad and I it was a bit of a horrific end to what was a nice birthday dinner for the Birthday Boy, who might I add despite a bit of heart burn didn’t succumb to the Homer Simpson-like experience that dad and I did. Dad is still convinced that someone is probably going to die one day doing the actual challenge which is probably why anyone that does do it has to sign a medical waiver before they commence. They’re certainly not called the Wings of Death for nothing but in the end I didn’t spew like dad did so that makes me the clear winner. Again.
A couple of weekends ago I put up a post on my Facebook page not long ago asking for suggestions for a birthday breakfast out at the beaches – my birthday breakfast in fact. I received numerous suggestions from my followers and despite what the majority said I ended up booking a table at The Rising Sun at Palm Cove. I figured I had an Entertainment Book voucher and I enjoyed dinner there (mostly) a couple of years ago so it was worth a try right? I made a booking for 6 people and we met out at Palm Cove early one Sunday morning. When we turned up we were the only people in the restaurant bar one other occupied table – a couple of what looked like tourists. I found this a little strange considering everywhere else I passed on the way in seemed to be quite busy, especially the Chill Cafe which was almost spilling over it was that full. Couple that with the stunning weather that day and by all my calculations The Rising Sun should have had far more people dining there. I briefly considered going to the Chill Café or Vivo down the road but I figured we were here now and I’d already made a booking.
Half of my family were already there when I arrived however two were running about 10-15 minutes late. The waitress handed out some menus and walked away with absolutely no mention of ordering coffees in the meantime. She returned about 5 minutes later asking if we were ready to order yet. Umm well no because two people still hadn’t arrived. She returned on two more occasions asking if we were ready to order yet each time sounding a little more annoyed than the last. She came back again no more than a minute after the last person turned up and asked one last time. Lets for a moment consider that maybe this person hasn’t even had a chance to look at the menu yet? Alas common sense did not prevail that day.
Anyway so we ordered our breakfasts finally (heaven forbid should the waitress have to wait on others) whilst I sipped on my horrendously bad coffee which took far longer than it should have to arrive. About 15 minutes later our breakfasts arrived in dribs and drabs. First of all my mum’s breakfast, the Baked Mexican Eggs, arrived. Mum, who has recently decided she wants to be a vegetarian (although I support her in her endeavours I give her till Christmas Day), asked if there was any meat in the Mexican Eggs when she ordered. Apparently there was so she asked if there was a vegetarian alternative. The waitress got the confirmation that was ok from the chef however mum had a sneaking suspicion that they simply scooped the bits of meat out of her dish and then served it to her. Considering how our breakfast was paning out, I actually wouldn’t be at all surprised. Mum said that it lacked flavour and didn’t enjoy it very much.
Next up my brothers girlfriend GH had ordered the Rainforest Honey Granola with Poached Fruit and Mungalli Yogurt for AU$10. Now despite the fact that the near incompetent waitress had given her a fork to eat the damn thing it was literally a bowl of nuts with yogurt on it. Just to be sure I did a quick Google search to check that the rest of the world agrees on what I think granola is – yep just as I suspected… it’s muesli although I didn’t spy any form of grain in this so-called granola. GH said that the yogurt was very sour and had to ask the waiter for some honey to put on top to sweeten it up. Wasn’t it supposed to be Rainforest Honey Granola, I’m confused…
To my left my dad ordered the Benny Royale – poached eggs, smoked salmon, muffin and lime hollandaise for AU$19. He said it was pretty good although he said he didn’t like the plain old ‘straight out of a packet’ English Muffin that was underneath. I personally think the portion size was far too small for $19 – a rort if you ask me.
And then sitting towards the end of the table was myself, my sister and my brothers girlfriends mother KH. We all ordered various versions of the Stockman’s Free Range eggs – poached eggs on toast for AU$9 with a few sides to ‘jazz it up’. My house made beans were forgotten and then when they arrived they were still cold in the middle, the roast cherry tomatoes were also forgotten and we got two dishes of minted labne when we only ordered one. It really was the most visually lacking breakfast I think I have ever laid eyes on. I will however say that the Zucchini Pickles that I ordered on the side were quite delicious but this didn’t make up for the sheer lack of organisation that should go hand in hand with eating out.
So there you have it – despite the awesome company my birthday breakfast turned out to be quite a disaster. It seems quite ironic that the person (me) that lives, eats and breathes dining out chose one of the worst places to go for her own birthday breakfast. I must also give a small mention to the presence of ants in the dining area. All three people sitting across from me complained on ants crawling over them while they ate (and yes although we were technically at the beach, we were sitting inside). And whilst the food left a lot to be desired, it was the service that was most lacking. Both the wait staff on hand appeared to be lacking certain ‘people skills’ that I think are mandatory when serving in a restaurant.
You may think I am being a little harsh but frankly my dear I don’t give a damn. This sort of thing sh*t’s me to tears. It’s because of restaurants like this that I started this blog in the first place – I like to call them tourist traps. These tourist traps are located in well frequented areas of Cairns with clientele that are mostly tourists who most likely won’t return. These restaurants seem to have missed the point of serving decent food or providing half decent service because it doesn’t really matter to them either way. Any Cairns local reading this knows there are plenty of restaurants that fit this description in the Cairns area and you know what? It’s not ok. It doesn’t matter if you’re a tourist or a local, if you pay the money to dine out you should reap the damn benefits! Such a shame because the last time I dined at The Rising Sun (for dinner) it was actually pretty good. It turns out I learnt a valuable lesson that day… When you ask your readers for advice on where to go for a birthday breakfast out at the beaches, majority rules and I’m still kicking myself for not listening.
P.S: For those of you wondering what the majority ruled on… It was the Lime Tree out at Trinity Beach.
It was a cold night in Bris-Vegas and I had a craving for sour cream and guacamole. My friend MD, that I was staying with in Newmarket, claimed there was a great little Mexican joint just down the road from her place. And so it was decided, we were to go to Pepe’s Mexican Restaurant. Getting a table there was a different story, particularly since it was a Saturday night and we only called up to make a booking that afternoon. The earliest that we could get into Pepe’s was 8pm that night. Although I was starving, as were the rest of the group we were going with (most of us had just competed in the Spartan Race earlier that day), we figured we had no other ideas for dinner so 8pm would have to do. At about 7.15pm that night MD got a phone call from one of the Pepe’s staff saying that our table was ready. We got organised and headed down arriving at about 7.45pm.
We went in and asked for our table but it turned out that there was some sort of mix up and our table wasn’t ready after all. Anyway during the slight kerfuffle whereby MD and her two housemates sorted shit out at the bar I took the time to look over the large range of ‘Hot Sauce’ in the cabinet near the counter as well as numerous bottles of Tequila. I have no idea which ones were the good ones or not but I do know from my high school days that Coyote Tequila is probably the cheapest and nastiest. Heads up for my readers: do not be irresponsible and go to the Cairns Show after having a shot competition with your friends. (Disclaimer: despite my misgivings as a teenager and my inappropriate use of tequila I think I turned out pretty good so don’t judge me too harshly. Like most people my age I did go through the typical teenage binge drinking stage not that I condone it). These days if I do ever shot tequila, something that only happens very rarely, I tend to go for the Patron Coffee Liquer Tequila. Premium stuff that won’t strip your teeth of their enamel and it actually tastes gooooooood.
So anyway about 5 minutes later the staff organised our table (I have no idea what the problem was because I never asked) and we took a seat. The restaurant was super busy and what I thought was just a tiny little restaurant from the outside turned out to be far bigger than I had originally perceived. The restaurant seated probably about 120 people, but that guess is probably way off. The waitress handed out our menus and my friend MD and her housemate SB decided that they wanted to have a shot of tequila. After having a look over tequila menu and having no idea which one to order they asked the waitress for a shot around the AU$10 mark (Patron was too expensive) and off she went. About 10 minutes later another staff member returned with their tequila shots as well as a small ‘dish’ each of some sort of Mexican tomato sauce and a slice of lime. He gave them a quick rundown of the process and off he went again. The deal was they were to shot the tequila, shot the tomato sauce (it was kind of like a chaser) and then suck on the lime. Shot glasses clinked, cheers were made and shots were downed. Both MD and SB agreed that it was unique but pleasant way to have a shot of tequila.
Over in my corner I was having a bit of a tussle with myself over just what to order from the menu. MD had told me that Pepe’s also had really yummy breakfasts and after reading over the breakfast menu I had my heart set on the El Rancheros Grande but unfortunately it was a breakfast dish and only available at breakfast of course (sometimes I just feel like breakfast food for dinner). Again I made a mental note to return to Pepe’s for breakfast, granted the dinner was a hit. The table had already agreed to order an entree of Jalapeno Poppers – Jalapenos crumbed, stuffed with cream cheese and served with delicious jalapeno jelly AU$14.90 to share around. Down the end MD ordered the Burrito – Flour tortilla filled with chicken, beef, beans or chilli con carne then baked and topped with chilli sauce lettuce and cheese, served with rice or beans $16.50 while across from me SB and MD shared the Double Enchilada – Corn tortilla filled with cheese, your choice of beans, chicken or beef then baked with a rich tomato based enchilada style chilli sauce (a different style of chilli normally served with burritos) served with rice and beans for AU$22. And next to me TM ordered the Taquitos – Two corn tortillas rolled up with beef or chicken, fried and topped with chilli sauce, lettuce and cheese, served with Mexican rice for AU$14.50.
For me it was a bit touch and go between the Pulled Pork Tamales – Slow Cooked BBQ pulled pork and corn polenta, steamed in banana leaf parcels, served with Chilli Con Carne and Mexican Salad for AU$24.50 and the Chimichanga – Flour tortilla filled with cheese, your choice of beans, beef or chicken, deep fried and topped with chilli sauce, lettuce and cheese, served with rice or beans for AU$16.50. In the end MD’s boyfriend PS and I simply couldn’t go past the deep fried goodness of the Chimichanga.
We didn’t have to wait long after ordering until our Jalapeno Poppers arrived. There was six each so we would have gotten one each but there was a couple of sooks at the table that couldn’t handle the chilli so I ended up getting 1.5 Jalapeno Poppers. Winning! They must have only been pulled out of the deep fryer literally 30 seconds before being whacked onto a plate and delivered to our table because they were almost too hot to enjoy. You know like when you’re eating a tinned spaghetti jaffle (the best kind) and you want to eat it fast because it tastes good but instead you end up nearly burning your taste buds off? Yeah well that’s what these Poppers were like. They were yummy and spicy but they still had nothing on those good old Chilli Releno’s from El Mundo in Edge Hill. Ah the memories. The Jalapeno Jelly however was delicious and sweet and also helped soothe the temperature of the Jalapeno’s.
Before we ordered I asked the waitress how long Pepe’s had been open for to which she replied that she didn’t know and she would find out. Guess she forgot because she never came back and told me the answer. It’s not that I really care, I just like to test the staff’s knowledge on certain things. Taking home a takeaway menu for blog research I did find that Pepe’s was established in 1972 and is actually Brisbane’s first Mexican restaurant. I found it a little odd that the waitress actually had no idea. Maybe she’s wasn’t from Brisbane or something. Another 10 minutes later and our mains had arrived looking delectably cheesy.
MD said that she usually ordered the Burrito and although she kept saying how good it was she struggled to finish it off. Must have been all that tequila in her belly. SB and MD made a light meal of their enormous Double Enchiladas that they shared but they were more than satisfied in the end. TM raved about her Taquito’s and I actually thought they were really good value for AU$14.50 although probably a little bit too small for my liking. PS must have enjoyed his Chimichanga because he demolished the whole thing and then eyed off MD’s leftover Burrito.
I ordered the Beef Chimichanga because with the amount of chicken that I have been eating lately I’ll be happy if the only breasts I ever see again are my own. I certainly won’t order it by choice that’s for sure. I also ordered some extra guacamole (sml AU$2.50) and some extra sour cream (sml AU$1.50). My Chimichanga looked like a big fat deep fried pillow that made me weak at the knees with delight (lucky I was already sitting down). When I cut it open I was happy to find that the beef wasn’t mince like I was expecting but it was actually shredded. The beef mixed with the cheese inside and the crunchy tortilla on the outside was like heaven to my deprived taste buds – I knew I had made the right choice in ordering the Chimichanga in all it’s deep fried glory. And with the fresh guacamole and sour cream on the side it ticked all my boxes.
The atmosphere at Pepe’s was loud and colourful – as you would expect for a Mexican restaurant. I was really impressed with the range of hot sauces and was super excited to find a Tabasco Brand Buffalo Hot Sauce that I had never seen before. I am a bit of a Tabasco Sauce nut with my Tabasco sauce t-shirt and boxer shorts that MS has now claimed as his own. It was a bit steep at AU$12 a bottle but I guess you can expect that since the rest of the Tabasco sauce range certainly isn’t cheap anymore. The food at Pepe’s was also pretty good and by pretty good I mean it wasn’t fantastic. I don’t think that you can ever say that Mexican food is particularly outstanding because really it’s all much the same – cheese and tomato. Having said that I have had some terrible Mexican food in Cairns before and Pepe’s definitely ranks as some of the better Mexican restaurants I’ve been to. My Chimichanga hit the spot and the empty plates of my fellow diners was a pretty good sign that the food went down a treat. They might not have Stand and Stuff Taco’s on the menu at Pepe’s but they do stock one of the largest ranges of Mexican beer and Tequila in Australia. Arriba!
Pepe’s Mexican Restaurant
184 Enoggera Rd, Newmarket QLD
Ph: 3856 0966
Opening Hours: Mon 4pm – 10pm, Tues – Sun 11am – 10pm, Breakfast Sat & Sun 6.30am – 12pm
Tuesday night is usually cheat meal night for MS and I so we racked our brains all day to think of somewhere to go or more importantly something that we wanted to eat. I know this whole dieting and cheat meal crap probably sounds like a load of wank but it’s something that has to be done for the time being. I’m certainly not going to be giving up eating and/or writing about food that’s for sure. But, a word of warning… For the next few months you will probably see that the majority of my posts are going to be about foods that aren’t exactly healthy. Not all of them, but yeah most of them. Having said that I do have a couple of healthier posts in the pipeline. So yeah like I said we racked out brains all day about where we should go for dinner. Did we want pasta? No. Pizza? No. Fish and chips? No. Steak? No. Did we want to go to Fetta’s? No. Anyway after trolling the menus of a couple of restaurants online I came up with a bonza idea that would satisfy both MS’ craving for something big and meaty (haha) and my craving for… well anything with cheese on it. That is when we decided on the Green Ant Cantina.
Now I have already done a post for the Green Ant (as it’s known by locals) about a year and a half ago but I am going to do another one, firstly because I have written about nearly three quarters of the restaurants in Cairns already and am running out of ideas so some are bound to come around for a second write up sooner or later (please don’t bombard me with ideas because I know there are still plenty to write about, it was a joke). And secondly because MS and I were on the back end of our Melbourne Cup celebrations that particular night so I’ll be damned if I could remember much about the place, apart from what I wrote down.
When we arrived we were greeted by a friendly blonde barmaid who said we could sit anywhere we liked although the area out the back wasn’t opened because there wasn’t enough people in the restaurant to fill it. The barmaid informed us that if more people turned up then she would open it up but for now we were confined to the front area and inside adjacent to the bar. We were happy to sit at one of the roomy booths inside and set up shop at the closest one to the bar. I did notice that the chair part of the booth was a little bit far away from the table which for someone who is 5 foot nothing like me is a little annoying especially considering I drop food and drink on myself at the best of times. It wasn’t a problem however for 6 foot something MS who didn’t seem to mind.
The waitress brought over a couple of menus for us to look over and took our drink order. Although I rarely drink I did feel like a glass of white wine and asked the waitress if they had any Sauvignon Blanc. I couldn’t see a drinks menu so I trusted her to do the right thing by me but made sure she wasn’t going to fetch me a glass of house wine. MS ordered a Green Ant Cider to wet his whistle and we continued looking over the menu. Being the fatties that we were feeling like on this particular night we decided that we would both get an entree and a main each. The best thing about this whole cheat meal thing apart from the obvious (another joke) is that I can get whatever I like on the menu. Normally when I was just eating, ummm normally, I would look for a healthy-ish option on the menu instead of the really mouth watering-ly fatty ones that I really wanted. Not now, oh no. Now I want the biggest, fattiest, cheesiest thing with the most carbs that I can find (oh god I hope my trainer doesn’t know about this blog).
Although there was a little encouragement from the waitress to try the “Wings of Death” which are chicken wings “doused in secret sauces from the hottest chillies known to man” MS and I opted for a couple of tastier sounding entrees. Plus a free beer and my name on the wall doesn’t particularly float my boat since I have seen video footage of someone eating these things and it really wasn’t pretty. MS and I were at the Green Ant to enjoy our meals not cry over them. Well hopefully not anyway. So after looking over the entree menu MS couldn’t go past the Pork Belly Taquitos for AU$15. They are described on the menu as ‘Crispy fried tortillas stuffed with Mexican style shredded pork belly and served with sour cream’. Sounds amazing to me and I was glad that he chose them because it was something that I was more than happy to share. Having developed a recent craving for ‘fake’ tasting cheese (I could smash a box of Easy Mac I really could) I chose the Chilli Con Queso Dip – Warm Mexican cheese dip with herbs and spices served with toasted corn chips for AU$14.
Next up for the mains true to form MS just can’t go past anything that has chorizo in it so he chose the Choice Chorizo Quesadilla – Grilled 12″ flour tortilla folded and stuffed with chorizo, spinach, spanish onion, capsicum and cheese served with fresh tomato salsa, aioli and fresh lime on the side for AU$25. Myself? Well I stopped reading after the Chilli Cheese Fries. Everything on the menu sounded great but this… well, this was in a field of it’s own. It reads as ‘A mountain of famous chunky chips topped with our Texan style chilli con carne slow cooked for 8 hours, made with diced rump steak and a dash of Jack Daniel’s, oven baked with melted cheese and served with sour cream’ for AU$25. Ay caramba!
There was probably only about 30 people in the place, most of which were only there for a few quiet drinks so we got our entrees pretty quickly. After a couple of photos we dug into the Pork Belly Taquitos, dipping them in a bit of chilli sauce and then sour cream. They were ok. After the description on the menu I was expecting a lot more and these things sort of resembled samosas more than a taquito. They were almost certainly pre-made and then tossed in the deep fryer for a little bit too long since they were overcooked and a little too crispy. They were also very… flavourless I guess is the word I am looking for. Also the sour cream seemed like it had been watered down a bit. It wasn’t thick and creamy like sour cream should be but more watery and tasteless. Disappointing and not what we were expecting. I had a couple of taquitos while MS wolfed down the rest.
The Chilli Con Queso Dip was still nothing spectacular although we ate the lot – we were so hungry! The dip just wasn’t cheesy enough. It was a good sized serve with a good amount of corn chips (probably should have been more) but it wasn’t all I had imagined it to be. Like the sour cream it was also a little runny and not thick enough for a dip. I was sad I didn’t get the fake cheese flavour that I had so desired (or any cheese flavour for that matter). Here’s hoping the mains were a bit better!
Our mains arrived about 10 minutes after our entrees dishes were cleared. The waitress asked if there was anything more that she could get for us (there wasn’t) and left us alone with our food. MS’ Chorizo Quesadilla was about the same size as his dinner plate and cut into three fat portions. He squeezed a bit of lime over the top (I’m assuming that’s what you do with it) and hoed into it dipping each forkful into his aioli as he went. Apparently it was exactly what the cheat doctor ordered because he absolutely destroyed it (that’s my way of saying demolished). In fact he even said that he could have eaten another one it was that good. It left him rather full though so he probably couldn’t have fitted another one in. I tasted a bite of it and it was delicious although I didn’t like the capsicum inside, that’s just me though.
My Chilli Cheese Fries were enormous. I felt like a total pig when it was placed in front of me but also secretly thanked myself for ordering it. The thick cut chips were perfect having been baked in the oven till they had just the right amount of crisp on them. The slow cooked pieces of beef were delicious although a little few and far between. They may have been hidden underneath since I didn’t get very far. I was in Chilli Cheese Fry heaven but unfortunately only got through about a third of it before I was stuffed. Maybe it was the large plate of Chilli Con Queso Dip, corn chips and the taquito that I had eaten prior or maybe it was the fact that I am not used to eating that kind of food. I only wish that I had ordered some guacamole on the side because that would have been the cherry on top. It was everything that I though it would be. Pure unadulterated carby goodness.
So the mains had come through with the goods and saved our very ordinary entrees. In the grand scheme of things if we did it all over again I think MS and I would just order the mains on their own because they are certainly enough food but on this occasion our eyes were too big for our stomachs. We had a most enjoyable meal on what was a nice quiet night at the Green Ant Cantina. There are some really yummy dishes on the menu and although I do think that some of them are slightly overpriced (it is a backpacker hangout after all) they are all pretty large serves. I remember they used to do a 2-4-1 locals deal with all main meals but this seems to be only for steaks now which is a bit of a shame but I haven’t tried their steaks yet (check out my dinner page for more info here). The service was friendly and maybe a slightly overbearing but that could also be because we were seated so close to the bar and cash register. The atmosphere is laid back and chilled out during the week but picks up a little bit over the weekend so if you want a quiet(ish) meal then head there between Mon and Thursday. If you think you are all tough and reckon you could destroy a plate of the “Wings of Death” and get your name on the wall then be my guest. Just don’t blame me when you are a snotty, drooling mess by the end of your dinner. They don’t just serve Mexican food and eye-wateringly hot chicken wings at the Green Ant, there is also burgers (a world famous Kangaroo Burger apparently), salads and some sh*t hot sounding desserts. Stoner’s Delight with chocolate fudge brownies and Kahlua chocolate sauce anyone? *wipes away drool*
Green Ant Cantina
183 Bunda St, Cairns QLD 4870
Ph: (07) 4041 5061
Opening Hours: Mon – Sat from 4pm till 12am
As a regular driver along Bunda St I can’t help but notice the hive of activity at the Green Ant Cantina on any given night. The Green Ant (as it is more commonly referred) is a gathering place for backpackers and locals alike. I first dined at the Green Ant Cantina a couple of years ago for a friends birthday and didn’t rate the place. I found it too noisy, the food took a very long time to come out (at least 45 minutes) and when it did it wasn’t very good. However, a few years down the track after reading a few positive Facebook status updates from friends I decided to give it another go.
Tuesday nights are 2-4-1 locals night on presentation of I.D so this seemed the perfect time for M.S and I to check it out. The whole place was seemingly overflowing with people both out the front, inside around the bar and out the back in the beer garden, still we managed to snavel ourselves a booth outside in the beer garden after ordering our meals (a grand total of AU$26 thank you 2-4-1!). My expectations weren’t very high I must admit and after seeing the amount of people that were at the Green Ant I thought we would be waiting a long time for our meals. I was wrong. We waited 15 minutes maximum and were both very surprised when the girl arrived at our table carrying our meals.
I ordered the Enchiladas, soft flour tortillas stuffed with mexi marinated chicken oven baked and topped with tasty cheese and fresh salsa served with fresh green salad and sour cream (AU$26). I tend to find Mexican food very rich and cheesy which is why I don’t eat it very often (maybe rich and cheesy is the point?) but I didn’t find this meal too rich at all, in fact I quite enjoyed it and have been looking forward to going back ever since.
MS ordered the Chiquita Chicken Quesadilla, grilled 12″ tortilla folded and stuffed with mexi-marinated chicken, tasty cheese, spanish onion and roasted red capsicum served with sour cream, fresh salsa and homemade guacamole on the side (AU$23). I think his expectations weren’t very high (that may have been my partly fault) but MS really enjoyed his meal and when he finished it there was nothing left except for a couple of pieces of cheese and some salsa. Like me I think he is also looking forward to going back again soon.
The 2-4-1 locals special on Tuesday night makes for a cheap, yet tasty dinner. Having said that I probably wouldn’t dine at the Green Ant if the meals weren’t 2-4-1 because I think 26 odd dollars per meal is a little bit expensive especially considering you have to order your food at the bar and it is a backpacker hangout (aren’t those places supposed to be dirt cheap?). Still I’m happy to pay AU$26 for two very tasty meals and although the food at the Green Ant is not your true Mexican fare it is close enough and having tried the other two Mexican restaurants in town (that will remain unnamed) I think it’s by far the best in Cairns.
Green Ant Cantina
183 Bunda St, QLD 4870
Ph: (07) 4041 5061
Opening Hours: Mon – Sat 4pm till late