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Bang Espresso, Cairns *CLOSED DOWN*

On Monday morning MS and I went into town to grab some breakfast but unfortunately the place that we were heading to (Mr Wolf formerly Ever After) hadn’t quite re-opened yet.  This was much to our dismay after reading that Monday was the day that this was to happen.  So off we trotted down Lake Street in search of somewhere else.  We walked past the Gingerbread House (that place doesn’t excite me), we thought about Caffiend (went there a couple of days before), we ummed and ahhed about Rehab (just didn’t feel like it) and then we ended up around the corner at Bang Espresso.  Before we met on that fateful night, MS was a frequent breakfast diner at Bang until one day when he wandered in for his usual omelette only to find that they had changed the menu and were not serving proper food between this time and that time… Blah blah blah I stopped listening.  Anyway ever since that day (about 4 months ago) MS has staged a silent protest and not even gone there for a cup of coffee.  That was until I said that I wanted to go there on Monday.

So we strolled into Bang on a very busy Monday morning.  There was a few business types discussing businessy type stuff over their laptops, the ubiquitous male and female couple that always leaves me wondering if they are just friends or something more and then there is everyone else.  We stood at the counter for what seemed like forever while MS deliberated over just what to order, long after I had decided on the Mexy Eggs (AU$12.90).  More on that one in a minute.  I think he actually deliberated for so long because he was hoping that I would change my mind and decide to go somewhere else.  Poor little lamb did have quite the chip on his shoulder about the whole affair but eventually he did find something to order.  He ordered the Fry Up which consisted of Two Eggs, Bacon and Fried Tomato which he swapped for the Mushrooms.  As I already said I ordered the Mexy Eggs for AU$12.90 (Chilli Eggs, Guacamole, Sour Cream and Salsa on Turkish Bread) which isn’t on the paper menu but on the wall behind the counter.  When I ordered it the waitress turned to whom I can only assume was the Cook and said “Your first Mexy Eggs”.  I wasn’t quite sure if she meant that it was his first of the day or his first one ever.  Was I the guinea pig in this whole situation?  I figured that being the first person could only be a good thing because the Cook would want to make the first one the best to ensure it’s longevity on the special’s board behind the counter.  If it sucks then I assume that the Mexy Eggs won’t be hanging around for long.

We took a seat at the long bench-like table at the back of the cafe since there were no other available seats, it was that busy.  I didn’t particularly want to sit at the long table because that means that other people are sitting there too and I have already gone through my hesitance to share things.  Apparently it doesn’t just stop with my food.  Sure enough not long after we sat down, three more people came and sat directly in front of us, rather than the other end which was as far as I could see void of all life.  Ah, never mind.  While we were reading Monday’s edition of The Cairns Post MS pointed out that there seemed to be a lot of staff doing pretty much nothing and just standing around watching the one on the coffee machine.  Meh.  As long as our coffee and food arrived in ample time I didn’t really care.  Our coffees did arrive in ample time and our food not long after.

My Skinny Cap

The cappuccinos were good, not too hot, not too cold.  Not much more I can say really because I’ll readily admit that I am no coffee expert but they do make great coffee at Bang I’ll give them that.  MS ordered his eggs poached and they were a little overcooked (no runny eggs *sad face*).  It was a pretty decent sized serving with two pieces of buttered toast on the side and a big mound of mushrooms in place of the Fried Tomato.  They certainly aren’t stingy with their breakfast sizes at Bang and for the price (AU$13 ish) I think his was good value.

Fry Up – Two Eggs, Bacon and Fried Tomato (swapped for Mushrooms) AU$12.90

My Mexy Eggs looked a lot like Bruschetta Bread with scrambled eggs on top and to be honest tasted a lot like it.  It didn’t really look, feel or taste anything like what I would want for breakfast (if anyone has had the Egg’s Benedict at Tosca’s they might have an idea of what I am talking about).  Although I did nearly eat the lot I would have preferred to have more eggs with it next time since there really didn’t seem to be a whole lot.  Like I said the Mexy Eggs was more like a Bruschetta Bread with a bit of egg in it and a sh*tload of something spicy.  The bread definitely needed to be a little more toasted because it pretty much wasn’t at all.  Unfortunately for me my Mexy Eggs was smothered in parsley.  It’s not that I don’t like parsley because I always ask for tabouli at the Kebab Shop but I just think it’s a little overpowering for some dishes and would prefer to be informed if it is such a big part of my meal.

Mexy Eggs – Chilli Eggs, Guacamole, Sour Cream and Salsa on Turkish Bread (AU$12.90)

So, I can’t say that our Monday breakfast adventure was particularly bad just a little disappointing.  I also used eat breakfast at Bang a few months ago before they decided to change their menu and I have to agree with MS when he stresses that they used to have such a good menu and then they canned it for a standard/everyday/boring menu.  Yeah, ok there is one uncommon breakfast dish on the wall behind the counter (Mexy Eggs) but nothing that really floats my boat.  I can make a Bacon and Mushroom omelette at home.  It’s disappointing because now for me (us) there are just so many other better places to go for breakfast (cue Rehab, Caffiend, Mr Wolf and my old favourite Perotta’s) when Bang was once one of them.  The one thing that I can say is that Bang does keep their prices low.  Everything on their breakfast menu, bar one item, is below the $15 mark, something I find refreshing considering the ridiculous price that some places in town are charging for breakfast these days.  When we went out for breakfast last week the place we dined at (*cough* Caffiend *cough*) was charging $22 for one of their breakfast dishes!  Absurd!  Keeping their prices low is obviously working for the crew at Bang.  Myself?  Well I kind of prefer a little more choice than the standard breakfast fare otherwise I’d dine at Coffee Club.

Bang Espresso

Shop 8, The Bolands Centre 14 Spence St, Cairns QLD 4870

Ph: (07) 4051 7770

Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 6.30am – 4.30pm, Sat 7am – 3pm


All Day Breakfast @ Ever After Bookshop Cafe, Cairns City *CLOSED DOWN*

Loving the new All Day Breakfast at Ever After Bookshop Cafe! MS and I went there today for brekkie to check it out. Their new menu includes four alternatives of my breakfast favourite, Eggs Benedict (Traditional, Asparagus and Avocado, Devilled Mushroom, Smoked Salmon), Panini’s, Burger’s and even their very own spin on the ‘Big Breakfast’. After a few disappointing ‘Big Breakfast’s’ in and around Cairns (*cough* Candy *cough*) I can safely say that Ever After’s Big Breakfast is exactly as it’s advertised… BIG!!! Described on the menu as Eggs any way (poached, fried or scrambled), with Crispy Bacon, Skinless Sausages, Mexican Beans, Herbed Potatoes, Devilled Mushrooms, Grilled Tomato, English Spinach and Hollandaise & BBQ Sauce. Anything that automatically comes with BBQ sauce on the side gets my vote and at AU$19.90 it’s a bloody decent sized feed. One that MS struggled to finish (even with me stealing Herbed Potatoes off the side of his plate). I had the Asparagus and Avocado Egg’s Benedict (AU$16.90) and it was top notch. Smoked Salmon Egg’s Benedict for my next visit me thinks! Get on down to Ever After Bookstore Cafe for a mean breakfast! I only wish they were open on weekends (hint, hint)…

Big Breakfast

Ever After Bookshop Cafe

Shop 10, 85 Lake St Cairns QLD 4870

Ph: (07) 4031 5955

Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 7am – 2.30pm

Ever After Bookshop Cafe, Cairns City *CLOSED DOWN*

I had to write a quick post about a cafe that I had the pleasure of lunching at yesterday… Ever After Bookshop Cafe.  Yes, I know it’s been around for ages and blah blah blah but I honestly haven’t had a chance to get there before now since my busy schedule only allows me to arrive there at closing time.  Yeah ok if you call going to the gym at 9.30 am and then eating breakfast at 11.30 am a busy schedule then I’m flat out like a lizard drinking but enough about me lets talk about the Ever After Bookshop Cafe.

MS and I somehow managed to pop into this bustling little cafe for lunch on Wednesday and were both a little taken aback at just how many people were in there for lunch.  It was flat out around the counter and the coffee machine yet the staff still managed to maintain their composure and control to a point where I was overly impressed at the situation.  Pretty much as soon as MS and I walked into Ever After we were greeted by a friendly staff member behind the counter who then began to rattle off all the specials they had in the window, none of which I can remember because I didn’t even realise that she was talking to us.  Due to the fact that I am shall we say vertically challenged I could only see the top of her head over the counter so it wasn’t until she was finished her speel that I realised that she was in fact talking to the two of us.  Never mind that’s my own fault and although the rolls in the ‘window’ did look very inviting again I’m trying to limit my carbohydrate intake (I like to keep telling myself that anyway) so I decided almost straight away that I was going to have a wrap.  Ever After has daily specials as well as more yummy items on their double-sided menu including salads, burgers and sandwiches.

The owner of the cafe, Nick I think his name is, took over while we placed our order and even though we ummed and ahhed and took something off one of the wraps he never seemed annoyed or tried to hurry us at all.  Again, I’m impressed.  MS ordered a Chicken Schnitzel Wrap with Golden Crumbed Chicken Breast, Cheese, Tomato, Salad Leaves, Aioli and Chilli Sauce (hold the chilli sauce) for AU$7.50 while I went with the Roast Beef Wrap with Tender Beef, Caramelised Onions, Cheese, Tomato, Salad Leaves, Red Onion and Chutney also for AU$7.50.  I ordered a Chai Latte and we took a seat at the last available table which was outside in the arcade to read the latest edition of the Cairns Eye but not before one of the attentive staff made some room for us at the big table inside which we kindly refused.  Even though we were concealed outside in the arcade away from the main thoroughfare of Ever After staff we still weren’t forgotten about and a waitress bought us a bottle of water and some glasses, even though we didn’t ask for it.  Pretty soon my Chai Latte was presented to me in a tea pot with a glass and I do have to say despite my previous post about Jamaica Blue the Chai Latte at Ever After is pretty damn good.  So good in fact I would have to say the second best Chai Latte in Cairns.  Not long after my Chai Latte our wraps arrived.  Freshly made, good size and full of tasty fillings we both really enjoyed our wraps, so much so we tried to go back for more today but we didn’t make it there before closing time.  Out of the two wraps though mine was definitely the best and MS had a little bit of wrap envy when he tasted it not to say that his wasn’t delicious but I think the Caramelised Onions on my Beef Wrap ‘made it’ for the both of us.

Chicken Schnitzel Wrap – Golden Crumbed Chicken Breast with Cheese, Tomato, Salad Leaves, Aioli and Chilli Sauce (AU$7.50)

Not only were the wraps awesome but MS and I were both surprised at the short amount of time that it took between ordering our food and drinks at the counter and the time we were actually served.  Not only that but the service that we received from not just one but all of the staff was impressive and without fault.  Even with the hustle and bustle going on around them none of the staff missed a beat.  They even smiled as they served us.  It may not sound like that much of an impressive feat but if you eat out even half as much as I do in Cairns then you should know that good service like this is damn hard to find.  I’ll certainly be back for another wrap and another serve of some good old fashioned service.  The super cheap menu no doubt is another reason why the place was packed with lunch-goers when we turned up since surely these people like me get sick and tired of paying AU$15 for a wrap or salad at many other cafes around Cairns.  Seems good service does still exist in the Cairns CBD.  Ever After Bookshop Cafe you are a breath of fresh air!

Ever After

Shop 10, 85 Lake St Cairns QLD 4870

Ph: (07) 4031 5955

Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 7am – 2.30pm

Mudslide Cafe, Cairns *CLOSED DOWN*

Last week MS and I found ourselves having breakfast at the Mudslide Cafe on Aplin St. Walking past this tiny cafe only a few weeks ago I spotted the Toasted Burrito on their menu board out the front and I figured that breakfast type foods inside a toasted burrito has to be a winning combination so I made a mental note to come back for breakfast in the near future. At 11 am on Saturday MS and I were the only people at the Mudslide Cafe which I must admit was kind of nice. I’m still not sure why we were the only people dining there but I’m assuming it must be because no one really knows about it considering I only just noticed it. We glanced over the menus (I already knew what I wanted) and true to form MS decided on the Mega Mud consisting of Bacon, Eggs (fried, poached or scrambled), Roasted Tomato, Sausage, Mushroom and Toast all for AU$10.90 while I went for the… wait for it… Toasted Burrito filled with egg, tasty cheese, baked beans, bacon, tomato and baby spinach for AU$10.50. We ordered two cappuccinos on top of our meals and took a seat at a table on the footpath outside to read The Weekend Post, wait for our breakfasts and watch the drizzly morning go by.

Being the sole people at the Mudslide Cafe that morning meant it didn’t take long for our meals to arrive however they didn’t come that quick that it made you suspicious, if you know what I mean. MS was super happy with his Mega Mud breakfast which amongst other things came with a decent sized serving of bacon, two perfectly poached eggs, juicy mushrooms and nice thick pieces of buttered toast. (I’m an unbuttered toast kinda gal but hey I wasn’t eating it).

Mega Mud – Bacon, Eggs, Roasted Tomato, Sausage, Mushroom and Toast (AU$10.90)

My Toasted Burrito was just as good and big enough that I couldn’t finish it in the end. The tortilla was crispy and not soggy from the yummy fillings encased inside. The bacon was not dripping with fat and grease and I loved the fact that my burrito had baked beans in it. I love baked beans! Ssshh. Ok so my burrito was good enough that I went back for another one yesterday and at AU$10.50 why not?!

Toasted Burrito – Egg, Tasty Cheese, Baked Beans, Bacon, Tomato, Baby Spinach and Toasted in a Flour Tortilla (AU$10.50)

MS and I really enjoyed our meals at the colourful Mudslide Cafe and like I said above, I enjoyed it so much that I took a friend back a few days later. The coffee is good and the super friendly owner came out to say hello and make sure we enjoyed our meals both times I was there. The breakfast menu is a little basic with no Eggs Benedict, Sweet Potato Hashbrowns or Black Pudding in sight but sometimes basic food is a good thing. I must admit I do get a little bit sick of eating all the fancy breakfast food and the fancy pricetags that follow. It’s nice to spend less than AU$30 on good food for two people when eating out and being able to get a table on the footpath without fighting hoards of hungry people is definitely a bonus.

Mudslide Cafe

Shop 5A Aplin St, Cairns City QLD 4870

Ph: (07) 4041 6592

Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 7am – 3pm, Sat 7am – 12pm

Oliver’s, Cairns *CLOSED DOWN*

Oh how I am enjoying this whole writing about food journey that I have recently embarked on because it means that I can always have an excuse to go out for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner.  Last Thursday was no different so a couple of my close friends and I went to Oliver’s Australian Fine Cuisine restaurant on Spence St in the city.  Now this was actually my first time to Oliver’s, not so for my friend HH and I was informed by Oliver himself that the restaurant will have been open for five years this August.  Like many of the restaurants in Cairns business is tough due to the the lack of tourist numbers and locals dining out but hey we were there.

The restaurant was fairly empty with only about five tables occupied this evening.  The service was spot on with the waitress pouring our glasses of water and taking our drink orders (we ordered a bottle of champagne).  Oliver bought over some bread with eggplant dip to get our appetites going and then recommended a few dishes for entree that we might like to try.  The entrees came out in good time and we weren’t waiting too long, which was a nice change from some of the restaurants I have been to lately.  I ordered the ‘Queensland Sea Scallops, Green Mango and Sesame Seed Ceviche with Wakame Tempura and Passion Fruit Foam’.  I think this is the first time that I have actually had foam on my food.  Yes I have heard about it and read about it and all that but again this is the first time I have actually tried it.  I quite liked it.  It made for great presentation and it tasted good too.  The three of us shared the three scallops on the plate and we certainly enjoyed them.

Queensland Sea Scallops, Green Mango and Sesame Seed Ceviche with Wakame Tempura and Passion Fruit Foam (AU$18)

For our second entree we chose the ‘Sautéed Tiger Prawns, Cashew Nuts and Crunchy Vegetables served with Prawn Crackers and Garlic Creamy Sauce’.  When it came out I have to say that it wasn’t what I was expecting both in size and presentation.  I guess it was just a little disappointing compared to the scallops which looked fantastic. It was a great tasting dish but the tiger prawns were chopped up and not exactly plentiful.

Sautéed Tiger Prawns, Cashew Nuts and Crunchy Vegetables served with Prawn Crackers and Garlic Creamy Sauce (AU$16)

The last entree was recommended by Oliver and also something a bit different to what I would normally order.  Oliver recommended the ‘Macadamia Nut Crumbed Pig Trotters Salad with Glazed Beetroot, Tasmanian Double Brie and Dijon Mustard dressing’.  It was quite a big serve and looked great despite my crappy photography but it certainly didn’t look like pig trotters.  The trotters were crumbed as described on the menu and they were juicy and tender but maybe a little bit too fatty for my liking.

Macadamia Nut Crumbed Pig Trotters Salad with Glazed Beetroot, Tasmanian Double Brie and Dijon Mustard Dressing (AU$16

We finished our entrees, ordered another bottle of champagne and this time asked Oliver for some recommendations for our main.  HH said that he wanted something juicy and meaty (typical male) while I said that I would like a fish dish.  Our other dining companion TH decided she had eaten too much and stuck with the champagne.  Oliver ordered HH the ‘Slowly Roast Lamb Back Strap in Thai Basil Crust, Steer Fried Green Vegetables, Kaffir Lime Sauce and Fluffy Pumpkin Puree’.  The lamb was rare in the middle (the way it should be) and the crust was beautiful and crunchy.  Now I have to say the fluffy pumpkin puree was divine and so damn tasty I could have drunk it straight out of the gravy boat that it was served in.

Slowly Roast Lamb Back Strap in Thai Basil Crust, Stir Fried Green Vegetables, Kaffir Lime Sauce and Fluffy Pumpkin Puree (AU$34)

Oliver ordered me the ‘Steamed Salmon Stuffed with Shitake Mushrooms and Wrapped in Seaweed Sheet served with Lemongrass Broth and Wasabi Butter Sauce’.  The presentation was really pretty special and the piece of salmon looked enormous to me.  Now I have to say this is one of the best salmon dishes I have ever eaten.  So many places I have been to have overcooked salmon and its so disappointing when a lovely piece of fish is wrecked by bad cooking, however this salmon fillet was fantastic.  It literally melted in my mouth and I think my friends actually had food envy when they tasted it.  The seaweed sheet with the zucchini wrapped around it on the outside of the salmon was also delicious and again I would go back to Oliver’s just for this dish.  It really was something else!

Steamed Salmon Stuffed with Shitake Mushrooms and Wrapped in Seaweed Sheet served with Lemongrass Broth and Wasabi Butter Sauce (AU$34)

After all this food we were pretty much stuffed and I really couldn’t fit anything else in but of course HH insisted that we try some dessert, so Oliver suggested that we try the tasting platter of desserts then we could try a bit of everything. The David Bres’ assortment of desserts came out with four small desserts each occupying a corner of the platter.  The desserts included Vanilla Mousse and Crepes Layered Cake, Raspberry and Rosella Flower Coulis, Davidson Plum Tart with Caramelised Meringue with Pistachio Short Bread, Mareeba Fruit Salad with Red Wine-Balsamic Vinegar Syrup, Honey Ice Cream and Wattle Seed Crostini and Chocolate and Mango Delight: Coco Pops Biscuit, Chocolate Mousse, Mango Sorbet and Marmalade, Bitter Cocoa Waffles (P.S:  David Bres’ is the head chef).  Again the presentation was really something and I almost didn’t want to touch it, still it didn’t take long till we dug in.  Oliver informed us that his chef was the only one in Cairns that could make ‘caviar’ out of dessert ingredients.  These were sprinkled on the Vanilla Mousse and Crepes Layered Cake and although they didn’t really taste like anything they looked great.  Without rambling on too much the desserts were great and even TH decided she could fit some in and bypass the champagne for a little bit.

David Bres’ Assortment of Desserts (AU$20)

So the verdict for Oliver’s…  Great cosy, little restaurant, the food was very good, the service was exemplary and the personal touch and recommendations provided by Oliver on the night really made it a memorable dinner.

Oliver’s Australian Fine Cuisine

Located on the Cnr of Spence and Abbott St, Cairns

Ph: (07) 40 411221


Opening Hours: Wed – Mon from 6pm (closed Tues)