Monday 15 February 2010

Michael and Rose and a horrible meal at Rimini restaurant

Michael and Rose, along with four others, went along to Ristorante Rimini in Lake Street, Cairns on Sunday night.
"We thought this may be of interest to your readers. Here's a brief description of our disgusting experience on Sunday night (14th February)," Michael Cermak writes to CairnsBlog.
As Cairns locals, they were concerned about the current slump in tourism, and therefore this extraordinary dining experience highlighted the need to weed out establishments such as the Rimini that give such a Cairns bad reputation.

"After downloading the menu from their website and checking their credentials on MenuLog, we booked a table for six to enjoy the authentic Italian cuisine," Michael and Rose wrote to CairnsBlog.

"When we arrived, we opted for the buffet, which also supposed to consist of Italian dishes. To our surprise, the buffet wasn't Italian at all, instead it was composed of boring old roast and veg which didn't look very appetising, so we decided to go back to the table and order from the menu."

They say that they were ignored by the staff for a long while, and the stressed looking headwaiter announced that "there is no menu tonight, buffet only."
"Having no other choice, we tucked into the lukewarm meats and overcooked vegies. The advertised entrée consisted of bread rolls with no butter and the deserts were disgusting," they said. "For example, the Apple Crumble was made of a thin layer of apples straight out of a tin covered with three times as thick layer of crumbs. Was there supposed to be a free coffee / cappuccino? Can't remember now."

They brought their own wines because the 'ristorante's' webpage states that $5 corkage per person applies.
"One would assume that the corkage applies to BYO, not the wines served under their licence, however when we asked for wine glasses, the well-informed waiter told us that they have never been BYO.
"So we asked for some water instead, and the same staff pointed his finger at the bar saying "there it is, help yourselves".
They summed it up by saying that the food was about two notches down from ordinary.
"The choice of meals and service was none and the appallingly arrogant attitude of the headwaiter just topped it up," Michael and Rose said. "We paid $22 per head for what can be best described as a "country pub meal" and left without leaving a tip. No riminising about this ristorante," Michael and Rose said.
  • A full list of restaurants around Cairns can be found at Cairns Dining, where you're invited to leave feedback.


Nicky J said...

My Cairns Dining site desperately needs its dining database overhauled. Are there any frequent diners out there who might like to be involved?

We originally started the site as a community service, well before even White Pages was online as we had trouble finding restaurants online.

I would love to work with some keen diners to make it a more interesting and useful community site.

Clifton Ratbag said...

Sadly this experience isn't out of the ordinary, it's typical. The horrible restaurant situation is commented on in reputable online sites like TripAdvisor. We eat dinner out 4-5 times per week on average, and have tried most of the restaurants in the CBD, suburbs, and the Northern Beaches. Except for a handful of restaurants, we end up at places once only due to the hideousness of operations.

Suffice to say these are the handful that have been in business WITH THE SAME OPERATOR longer than a year or two. Churning the restaurant from one owner to another doesn't count.

Funnily, our TAFE was attempting to lure students in hospitality from Guam to Cairns. The authorities in Guam found the situation here so appalling they elected to set up their own operation. Restaurants and service in Guam are terrific, btw. I've been going to the same Jamaican, Chamorro, Japanese, Chinese, and Hawaiian restaurants in Guam, owned and run by the same people, for over 10 years. Almost impossible in Cairns.

Eat In from Redlynch said...

must be something in the water in Lake Street.... we popped into Vibe (was the old Sapphire) in Lake Street recentluy and asked for some Olive Oil for the salad....

"Sorry, we don't have any of that!" the waitress said!!!!

stinhambo said...

We went to Dundees and the food and service were excellent :)

I can't tell if the rudeness and poor service in Cairns is a symptom or a contributor to our dwindling tourism numbers but something needs to be done pronto.

Nicky, I would of course be delighted to give you our experiences to date but with a baby on the way, future restaurant visits may be limited to Red Rooster!

My favourite Cairns City restaurants:

* Hanumans
* Dundees
* Bushfire Flame Grill
* Trattorias (Cairns Central)

Outside of Cairns City:

* Angsana (Palm Cove)
* NuNu (Palm Cove)

Jude Johnston said...

Three of us went for a birthday meal at The Sebel in Cairns last week. Pete indulged in the Buffet whilst we had A la Carte. Pete says that some of the buffet dishes left little to be desired, he says there was sufficient variety and for those who enjoy fresh seafood, could get value for money. My steak came "blue" as ordered, a rarity in the majority of restaurants. The mains weren't over priced, the wine list had variety at, by Cairns Standards not unreasonable prices. The service was prompt and courteous and the evening was capped by the impromptu delivery of a Happy Birthday dessert (unordered).
This in contrast to it's sister out in Palm Cove, where I had a most unpleastant meal and service a couple of years back.

Oliver Redlynch said...

Lunch at Dundees - pretty good but tourist prices obviously.
Bushfire Grill - very good and entertaining but always have a problem getting the bill right.
Sebel - agree with above - buffet excellent - did Christmas dinner there and couldn't complain.
Fasta Pasta - always excellent food, friendly staff - just don't go there for a quiet intimate evening - go with group of friends or family and kids and enjoy yourself.
Krocadillo's at Yorkeys Knob - never had a bad meal there - always excellent - only let down by location. (Answer - relocate!)
Ochre - excellent, good staff but expensive.
Bayleaf - wonderful.....
It would be unfair to comment on other resturants I've only been too a single time, some were good, some were average, some were poor. (Yorkeys Knob boat club - pub grub but 5* expense). Cairns as a tourist town is well served for the foodie if you are careful.

There is an element here about expectations and attitude, and such has been the customers "superior" attitude and manners in restuarants I've been in - I would be rude to them and kick them out! Common sense also rules, frankly I wouldn't go to a big restaurant late on a Sunday night and expect excellent service and a good meal - if you've been working all weekend what mood are you in? Don't go to a bar and expect a resturant meal (excellent value big meals at Cock and Bull but not culinary excellence and serve yourself).

I find a friendly disposition and empathy with the serving staff works wonders and as a result I've seldom been let down by inattentive staff or poor service.

Now - if only I could find a good "English" Indian Restuarant in Cairns - still looking.

colin riddell said...

The rib eye roast at kanis is superb and so is the service ,must go back again, been a while, last feed out was the balaclava hotel meat and cray ,was nice for the money. Son hated it.

Tricia said...

We called into Rimini for breakfast. The waitress came and said, if you are waiting for the tour bus you can't sit here, MOVE.
We explained we were not tourist and would like a menu please. They are up at the bar she said. So my husband pick up a menu, returned to the table and we waited. The waitress at the far end of the restaurant doing nothing, called out "if you want breakfast you have to come up here", so up again my husband went and placed the order. We did not have to wait long as we were the only people in for breakfast. A very average meal was brought to the table, and once again we had to go to the waitress to receive our bill and pay. Never to return and made sure I spread the word of such deplorable service.

Mr. Smiley said...

I agree with much of the above and have a suggestion. For the best breakfasts and lunches, try the Jamdrop Cafe at the corner of Lake and Upward Sts. And if anyone knows of better coffee in Cairns, please let us all know.

Mr Smiley

Bucket of sand i need said...

Carwash Cafe on Reservoir Road does the Beeeeessst!!! Coffee!!!!

Frank said...

If I go to a restaurant, it's generally C'est Bon in Lake Street. Junelle, who runs it, now knows me reasonably well, and a glass of chardonnay is on its way almost before I sit down! The food is excellent and the ambience very pleasant. There are few other restaurants I can confidently go to, knowing I will get good service and superb food. P.S. I wasn't paid to write this!

KitchenSlut said...

Service remains a problem in Cairns and with many placesstruggling the offerings are also under pressure. A visiting expert at a seminar on regional food last year made the comment that to promote our specialist tropical regional food we needed to be able 'tell our story' which was a problem with backpacking wait staff and high turnovers!

Would be happy to be help with updating the CD database Nicky. Very difficult to keep this accurate with the frequent changes going on and all the competing guides seem to have similar problems. Many good places have declined in recent times from being some of the best in town to just ordinary.

Apart from some of the recommendations above 12BC in City Place does well for brekkie / lunch. Also recently opened 'A Lemonade Tree' on Abbott behind Aquarius next to the jelly babies is a small friendly byo with fantastic asian influenced food. These people previously has Star Apple in Yorkeys which I know was a fave of many including Nicky :)

Oliver Redlynch said...

Best coffee experience in Cairns - Linda at "Barista Sista" in Rusties. That end of Rusties is turning into a bit of a hawkers food market - don't miss it.

Got enough updated material yet Nicky?

The Essence of Good Taste said...

In defence of the TAFE F&B training course. I have eaten at their student restaurant on numerous ocassions and have always had excellent service and food (can be slow coming out but they are students, and it is a training restaurant). Even taking into account that they are students every experience has been very pleasant. These young people do us proud - I'm not sure where they disappear to once in the 'real' world.

Two restaurants to avoid - Bar8 and Salt House. Non-existant service and poor value for money. They get people in on their positions but there are only so many one-time guests they can offend before they run out and go broke.

Somewhere I miss...Jardines at Colonial Club. They were a most pleasant surprise in deep suburbia with terrific service and fantastic degustation menu. With the property changing hands it will probably never re-open as it was...

Eyes Bigger Than Belly said...

Hi! Great Blog! I write a food blog for QLD but as a Sales Rep travel thorugh NQ and CQ every 6 weeks. I would love to be part of this - here is my blog - let me know if it fits with what you're after? I do Hotels and Restaurants. - Thanks!! :)

Tony Hillier said...

Oliver, old chap, why on earth would you want to locate an "English" Indian restaurant in Cairns when there is a superb Indian-run Indian restaurant here in Marinades, in Spence St. We rarely dine elsewhere in town. The food is superb, the service and ambience excellent and the prices reasonable.

Oliver Redlynch said...

Ah Tony - if you've ever eaten in Leicester or the Birmingham Balti Triangle, you'd realise that there is a distinct difference between the Indian cuisines of India and England! :-) Marinades is indeed very good, but its not the same as being squeezed in and eating in someones converted front sitting room! (Its like authentic Hong Kong cusine not being found in the expensive resturants, but in the little produce markets.)

Unknown said...

You beat me to it, Tony. I totally agree. Try a vegetarian tali and salt lassi for lunch. Superb.

I don't think there are any contenders in Cairns since the Taj Mahal's original owners sold the place.

And it so hard to get South Indian cuisine, which is a nice change from Tandoori.

Must try Rimini's though for its Fawlty Towers value !

Smithfield Sam said...

"Price" is different than "value".

Ces't Bon isn't cheap, but great value. Likewise the Reef House in Palm Cove. Bushfire and Ochre and both poor value, inconsistent service and fiddley, overly-trendy food with little thought. Kanis is generally consistent and tasty, as is Barnacle Bill's although few can abide the abusive owner Tony.

Everything at the Pier is a screwjob. I won't even take out-of-town visitors there.

The best value in town is Capers at Clifton Beach. The Chef/Owner, some German chap, knows what hospitality and cooking good food is all about. In this same league was the sadly now-closed Yama restaurant, the longest operating restaurant in Cairns.

The restaurant business in Cairns sadly attracts short-timers, fast-buck artists, and those unwilling to work at it. They burn out quickly when they find out how hard it is to be consistent.

Maurice at Y.K. said...

Krokodillos at Yorkeys Knob has to be one of the best in Cairns. Consistent with quality of food and excellent service. A Lemonade Tree next to Jute Theatre is also exceptional. Very tasty fresh food from an interesting menu and mouth watering experience.

Jude Johnston said...

I take visitors to Clifton Capers without fear.
If you are on the run and need a sandwich for lunch, value for money, you can't go past the Mobil Servo on Spence, opposite CRC.
Big sandies, choice of fillings and a sandie card so every 6th one free.

Oliver Redlynch said...

Sam - Yama is now Yama @ the edge, in the Edge Hill cafe on Friday and Saturday night, and is still excellent, that is where I took MY out of town visitors for a great meal in novel surroundings!

nocturnal congress said...

A person of immaculate plebeian tastes such as myself avoids all the traumatisation of restaurant inadequacies, by eating at home. Delicious epicurean delights such as bangers and mash, mince beef pies, grilled fish fillets and salad. The chef sings while cooking, the waiter is very attentive, a jug of cold water and bread and butter are always on the table.....Now what more could you want?

miss hotlips said...

Ahh there's nothing like a food blog to get the juices running!
Oliver, I have happy memories of a very good Balti restaurant in Canberra a few years ago -loved the food served in small copper pans with wooden handles -a balti perhaps? I am a lover of very hot chilli dishes and I find here in Cairns that most restaurants are so "chilli scared" that after ordering a chilli dish the food is really quite bland -I usually end up by requesting a sidedish of chopped chilli so that I can adjust the food to my taste. At home I wizz up chillis from my garden with a couple of cloves of garlic and a splash of EVOO and use it as a condiment! Perfection!
We eat out a lot in Cairns and find the info on Mikes blog really interesting -thanks to all.

Arthur Festerbestertester said...

This is interesting. very interesting.

I've dined at all of the Pier places and had at best average meals - passable but not worth the prices. Add places like Ochre to that list as well. It's a con-job.

I don't think Marinades or Mother India are anything more than average, either, although the prices are quite reasonable. What you see is what you get.

Chez Bon is really an excellent family restaurant (as distinct from a restaurant for families, I hasten to add). There are plenty of places like these in the capital city suburbs. The food is very well-cooked, the service is first-rate and the prices are right.

It is revealing that this appears to be, by consensus, our best fine-dining restaurant. (I haven't eaten out Straford way for a couple of years and don't go near the northern beaches if I can avoid it).

What these posts appear to be saying is that our high-profile, big-ticket restaurants are rubbish.

For what it's woroth, there are two smaller inner-city restaurants that are worth a visit.

Piccolos in Lake St next to City Place does very very good pasta. But some of his other dishes are not as good, and Piccolo himself can be a not verty congenial host.

And on the eastern side of Abbott St, between Victoria House and the night markets, there is a small Japanese restaurant. I can't remember its name, but it really is good. It's small and quiet and the food is excellent. It is run by a couple of young men who obviously care about their customers, although the service can be a bit slow and confused if you don't place your order clearly. The noodle dishes are excellent.

Finally, if you want a fun, noisy and upbeat night out, you can't beat either Fettas or gthe Adelphia.

Smithfield Sam said...

Oliver, I have been to see Sammy at the Edge. He's spectacular as always. But the jerks running the Edge haven't lifted their game, and have made the experience so unpalatable that few of the regulars will venture in anymore. Sitting outside with car fumes isn't an assist to Japanese fine dining, and having Sammy blocked away from the customers misses the point entirely.

They took a novel idea and squandered it. I guess that's what they learned at their "Andrew Griffith psp talk".

Bryan Outlaw said...

Festerbestertester and Smithfield Sam are both right on the money. Fester's description of Ochre as a "con job" is apt. As is his description of the Indian food to be found. For a tourist destination the choices for the average tourist are uninspired and insipid.

While high rents in town clearly make pricing a problem in the CBD, there is no excuse for bad food, abusive service, and the generally lazy operations. I recall a now-defunct restaurant who complained to council about the "glut" of restaurants in town and wanted council imposition of a ban on new restaurants. For some of the poorly educated here, central planning still seems more palatable than hard work.

KitchenSlut said...

Festerbester, the Japanese place on Abbott St is Matsuri. I ate there recently at the bar and it's a great little cafe with an authentically inscrutable Japanese chef. Don't go if you expect cheap sushi bar prices however.

I think we do quite well in Cairns for Indian with a few decent places and miss the old Marinades takeaway hole in the wall. I'm pleased you clarified the 'English Indian' Oliver as have never heard a good word for the English pub curries!

With the comment above on coffee and the Linda the Rusty's 'barista sista'(what you reckon she has surpassed her mentor Billy the Rusty's coffee artiste?) there is a new Instanbul Kitchen stall right behind her with some great fresh Turkish things (love the stuffed zucchini)!

We lack diversity in Cairns food offerings with the focus on the tourism mass market and franchise chains.It's great to see places slowly starting to promote local produce and display these on specials boards. Must give that braised Atherton pig's trotter a go down at Cafe Lumiere (good food but exxy)!

While I agree with Festerbester on C'est Bon (and also Piccolo)I can't see it as our best fine dining restaurant. Currently I would have to go for Hanuman at the Hilton (also mentioned above)for fantastic asian food,service and value. Go down for a drink by the water at Mondo's but you're mad if you don't run upstairs for the food, especially that whole fish and the Hanuman oysters!

maynard said...

from the cairns dining site:

"Cairns restaurants rank among the best in Australia."

haaaaaaaaahahahahahahahaaaa! that is biggest load of shit i've read all day.

JJ Wilson said...

I say any restaurant with "rim" in the name - avoid! lol

Oliver Redlynch said...

Ah Sam - re: Yama, yes we dined INSIDE at the back ... and had a great night! Just shows how subjective these things can be by experience, which is why I don't like to say too much having only dined at some places once. Also dined at "Wink" (which replaced it on Grafton) seemed good imaginative tasty grub from memory but again a bit on the pricey side for what you got, with slow (glacial) service. We dined inside again, since we didn't appreciate the location on a major traffic junction wth fumes. Kitchenslut Re: Sista Barista v. Billy, close call - since service, ambiance (!!) and having a friendly chat over coffee counts positively to our experience.

So, from this straw poll here, we seem to say C'est Bon in Lake St. is definately worth a visit, and Hanumans. Right, that's two places to try I haven't got around too yet, so thanks for the recommendations!

Danny Betros said...

Actually I eat out a lot and I believe the Tamarind to be the best in Town closely/evenly behind is the Hanuman.If you want a true and unique experience go to Olivers on Spence St. Amazing presentation and food combinations.
The comments about the Pier are very unfair.
For a great Family night we go to Donnini's for pasta or a great pizza. Try their grilled seafood-best in town.I haven't found a better steak than the Waterbar but their salads/accompaniments etc lets them down badly.
Tha Fish has fantastic fish dishes.Don't go near North(Tides previously) or Pesci's they are just a rip off and if you go to Mature Yogo make sure you take a lot of bread to fill you up as the meal sizes are a farce.
On some others,Piccolos has the best Pasta but the worst service in Town. Complacency personified.
Pity Sacred Spice at Stratford closed it was a beauty but now we have the Siam at Stratford which has excellent Thai.
Bella Baci,Vivo and the Reef House @ Palm Cove are still top class.

villa fan said...

my favourite has to be villa romana. Great service, amazing food and cocktails to die for. You always know you will get a good night out at villa.

Nice as Pie said...

I personally would go wherever Danny Betros wasn't ...

Knows all the Name names said...

Danny Betros Hahha thats a joke.. if i had to rate it that way i would say stay away from your real estate firm because your over priced and under deliver... its a joke Court house reality are far better than your firm will ever be... i hate over the top salesmen that are hopless at there job and danny you fit right in there :-)

Dutchie said...


This food thing certainly hit a nerve!

Sounds like NJ won't have trouble updating her site!

I won't bore you with all of my findings, just some comments regarding the above...

I know an Indian chap who has worked at all Indian restaurants and he rates Mother India as the most authentic. It's defnitely my pick out of the bunch. Tony, if you haven't, try it. Great food, and attentive service as well.

Sorry but I can't take anyone that rates Fasta Pasta as "excellent" seriously. Sorry Oliver.

Yama on the Edge, what a joke. Tastes like Australianised Japanse to me and way over priced. Very disappointing. I reckon Kanpai on Shields is the best value Japanese place (with nice fresh food and nice variety of dishes) and looking at the other patrons, many Japanese seem to agree. Sympathetic staff too who will remember you.

And this is one of the first times I don't agree with KS. I thought the stuffed zucchini at Istanbul was rather bland and the other dishes not particularly appealing. Could do better (even a basic Turkish pizza would do well I reckon).

Carwash Cafe, you've got to be joking. Where's the bucket?

Avoid Salt House.

I miss Sacred Spice.

Unknown said...

I am writing this from the year 1985. I really enjoy a relaxed meal at Fathoms on Grove St, the seafood is to die for. For great Indian Takeaway I go to Thugee Bill's at that delightful little shopping centre on Lake street across from the Scout Hat. And, after a great morning with the kids at the Waterworks, I take them to the Apex next to Trinity Bay High for a Hanush's cordial and a bijingo (surfie to those who prefer water ices).

Will Strike Back said...

Fast Eddies on Mulgrave Road was the BEST!!! does any remember that place??

Michael Hyams said...

If you ever go back to Riminis "Dont mention zeVar". Summing up = Cairns has too many restaurants by far, but sadly very very few good ones

Dieter Le Comte said...

Yeah....restaurants in Cairns! If you want 'a feed' there are plenty places to go. If you want to 'dine out', particular 'fine dining' that's a different story. I am surprised that no-one, but no-one, has mentioned the biggest turn-off in Cairns as far as dining out is concerned. For me it's the music!!! Particular rap music, and loud! I try just about any new restaurant in town and many times I get hit with this wall of noise....and out I walk, never to return.

As you good people all know there are many things that make a pleasant and successful dining experience. Obviously the food, service, value for money are the main ingredients....but there are others. Wine by the wine is generally served to warm and often the open bottle has not been taken care off and the wine has oxydised. There are simple and inexpensive techniques available to prevent the oxydisation from happening. Dundee's does a good job of this. I use a relatively new product at home called Wine Preserva (an Australian invention which won 'Best New Invention' award in 2007 and is just starting to hit the world big time).

Salt & pepper should be on the table - by no means always the case, decent napkins do help, BYO availabulity is important to me as I have a substantial wine cellar at home, being able to chose a table rather than being instructed where to sit. If you enjoy the evening and stay a little late (which in Cairns could mean anytime past 9pm) it would be nice if the staff would not start stacking chairs up next to your table or even worse place chairs on top of tables.

Now, having said all that....there are two gems in town. One has already been mentioned - Dundee's. That place has it all! Marion and Tina, part owners and what is called 'the front' of the restaurant run a slick operation. everything is happening! Terrific menue, very reasonable prices, excellent service. What's more the staff was there last week, is there this week and most likely will be there next week. If you are a local you get 10% discout on the total bill, not just food plus you can park underneath the Harbourside building and you will get a token to get out, which means free parking, which in this part of town is ceratainly a bonus. It is a real pleasure to dine at Dundee's!

The other gem - and here I am surprised that it has not been mentioned - is Tamarind. Vicky runs the show there and with the capable help of Sam and the rest of the staff do all the things I mentioned under Dundee's, except no free parking and no discount. The discount situation can be circumvented by joining the 'Accor Advantage Plus' club, which gives you 50% of the food bill. Annual membership fee is around $285. If you dine 10 times a year, which we do minimum, and save half of an appr $100 bill, this is a no-brainer.

Hopefully over time we get some more of these 'gems' in Cairns. Bon appetit!

Tony Hillier said...

Going back to the 'aties', wot about Mexican Pete's and Casa Gomez?

Arthur Festerbestertester said...

how much did they pay you, dieter? this is exactly the sort of hyped up suburban newspaper spin that leads to the disappointment that e've all experienced. there's nothing wrong with Dundees, but let's face it, it's pretty average midmarket formulaic food and the prices can be high. OK for work lunches, gem it is not. I can't comment on the casino restaurant - but Grab-A-Granny and other parts of the ground floor turn me off the whole place. and speaking of Hanuman here I come. posts here and elsewhere have forced me to overome my totally unreasonable aversion to big hotel restaurants - in this one case, you understand!

Jill P said...

I've been to 'Rimini' twice before and I must say I've had wonderful experinces both times. I will at admit that the service can be slow.
But both times I've been there with my partner they appeared to be training new (obviously foreign!)service staff. Why I added that they were foreign is that most Cairns businesses I've noticed have been taking on foreigners over locals, in alot of hospitality jobs because obviously they are alot cheaper to employ.
But really I'm deterred greatly when I got to certain resurants such as Bayleaf on Spence, The Sebel, Wink, ect. mainly because at all of those resturants I've had more hassles then needed be it by the wait/waitress not being able to understand basic orders or requests or constantly coming up and having to correct orders that have been incorrectly written down. And when one chooses too complain or request something your rewarded with a utterly confused stare.

Dieter Le Comte said...

This is for Arthur Festerbestertester....Tamarind can only be entered from Abbott Street, not from inside he Casino. Last time I looked I did not see any Grab-a-Grannies in Abbott Street....but then again, my eyesight might not be as good as yours.

Danny Betros said...

I dared to make a contribution about the restaurants and got attacked personally.Love the gutless who throw insults anonymously
No problem Nice As.. just give me your details and i'll let you know in advance where i'll be and you can stay in your hole.
As for Knows All.. yes Courthouse is a better Estate Agency because they do residential dickhead, we do commercial only.Consult a dictionary if you are confused as to the difference.I'll make sure Geena Court is aware of your compliment.She runs a good agency.
It's obvious you've never been involved in commercial property.
Never been described as over the top- direct yes so if you are going to have a go at me do your research and get your facts straight shit for brains.
Stick to the topic of discussion being Cairns Restaurant and shove your petty insults somewhere else.

KitchenSlut said...

Fester, Hanumans is in the Hilton but separately operated as I understand and has received high profile media in such as the Weekend Oz mag etc combined with other operations in Darwin. That in itself means nothing but I still like it and the value is good for the quality!

Perhaps I am biased by a particular beautiful english rose companion who had spent time in Darwin and was in love with the place. Sorry Dutchie she also loved those Turkish things from Rusty's or was it the Holloways beachfront location that made it happen?

Tamarind? I have another appalling service story from a close friend who paid top dollar for a big night out at our 'premier' Casino venue there only to be badly let down! Rimini style!

Dumbdee's? Honest and successful business catering to the tourist sector but get real Dieter and Fester has it right on that!

The Essence of Good Taste said...

Jill P - I think you mean Banana Leaf on Spence. Don't normally worry about corrections but Bay Leaf at the Bay Village on Lake St is too good to allow any misunderstanding on it's quality. One of the most, if not the most, consistant and value for money restaurants in town. People vote with their feet - even on a Monday night you need to book!

maynard said...


Nice As/Knows all... = 0
Danny = WIN

Arthur Festerbestertester said...

Not really sure what you're getting at with your kind words on geography, Dieter, but Grab-A-Granny is that tired, downmarket area in the casino otherwise known as vertigos.

Arthur Festerbestertester said...

Ooops. Forgot. Hunaman is off for unforeseen airline reasons. Next time.

I Am The Stig said...

Well said Danny and I do agree with a number of your choices.
Tamarind is always good and I have really enjoyed the service as well.
Water Bars Ribs are spectacular.
Matsuris is the best Japanese.
Cafe China still does a great job for Yum Cha.
Wink serves great food by a very accomplished Chef but struggles with the service and portion sizes.
Vivo's Breakfast is wonderful.

On the negative side I have to say Lunicos is up there for their so called Italian Food.
Reef House has lost it's once great reputation and the food and service are poor and it leaves you poor.
Nu Nu is a complete insult to anyone who appreciates good food.
Ochre is too clever for it's own good and could be one of the best if it was to stop being so creative.
Salt House is could you spoil such a great setting?
I hate Villa Romano full stop.
Barnacle Bills has all the escapees from Lotus Glen working as Waiters.

My favourite is not in Cairns but Port Douglas. Salsa Bar and Grill is an institution and Sunday Lunch is the best time packed with locals. Bill Conways Food still cuts it with the best and has the best service.

Sadly there are way too many Restaurants in Cairns that believe their Market is the Tourist and if they have a bad experience who cares because they won't be back in Cairns again.

Ed G. from Edge Hill said...

In my experience, food can be good one time and bad another. Consistency is a big problem for restaurants in Cairns. I've been to the same restaurant in NY twice a year since 1986, and food and service are the SAME every time. Why can't we do that here?

The two best places for service I've found to be Corea Corea at Orchid Plaza, and the Baskin 31 Robbins ice creamery on the Esplanade. Are the both Korean operations, I don't know. But they are the only two places I go to regularly where the staff actually RUN to do their jobs, when its busy. Where else has staff that run? And they're both friendly and attentive, to boot.

Denis Walls said...

Went to C'est Bon last night for my wife's birthday on the recommendations of the posts here. It was fantastic - a superb three course prix fixe meal($40)and a very nice house red filled to the brim for only $7 a glass. Cordon bleu for under $100 for two. Incroyable! Thanks to all those who put me on to it. We'll be back for lunch ($25/head for two courses) one of these stinking hot days.

Fryser said...

There are some good tips on dining with this - but if you're looking for a casual family experience then give Mangiamo Pizzas on Collins Ave a go!
We stumbled upon it (after wondering how a pizza restaurant competes against the big fellas) and have now made a mid week regular.
The pizzas are unreal - but better than that - Eden and Noah (sorry if mispelt) are what you'd expect from a local pizzaria - friendly, obliging, creative and entertaining.
Next week he's promised us his famous local prawn and FRESH fetta pizza - stay tuned!
Keep this a resaturant blog - get up em Danny!

miss hotlips said...

Ed G I agree -Corea Corea in Orchid Plaza is excellent -I usually have a spicy noodle dish -it comes with a miso soup and a small container of Korean pickled cabbage -the name escapes me -all for around $12 -probably the best value tasty food anywhere in Cairns. Also ate at Matsuris recently -great food and my Teriyaki chicken cost about $18 -altho that could have included a glass of wine!
Anywhere that serves a great meal for less than $20 and offers friendly service has to be a goer.
(and I don't mean the Scottish restaurant -altho perhaps the dirty state of at least two of those should be discussed!)

Thornton On Spence said...

Dear Knows All The Name Names
If you wish to throw abuse at people at least have the courtesy to perform Spell Check. You are obviously a complete moron as you cannot spell, do not realise that the Real Estate business is broken down into Commercial and Residential and is known as Realtors or Realty not reality. You are also sadly lacking in any understanding of what this Blog was all about and that is Food and Restaurants but then your culinary expertise probably extends to a Pie or Pizza at the Pub.
So moron get one of your mates to read this and translate it for you.

Rail Rager said...

Love the Garden Room at Stratford. Beautiful food, great personal service, and no pretentious bullshit that you get with many other restaurants.

Jill Morris said...

Well Nicky you have really started something. Hope our restaurateurs take notice. I always remember a restaurant for the 'experience' sometimes even more so than the food. My husband loves to chat with the staff and it adds to the evening if they reciprocate.
My pet peeve is when asking your waiter what he would recommend and he returns with 'Well it depends what you like'

I don't think you will have any problem resurrecting your Dining website. Good luck JillM

Thornton On Spence said...

I would have to agree with many of the contributors here on the Good Bad and Ugly. Unfortunately there are not many Good.
The Lemonade Tree is really good and very much along the lines of the old days at the Golf Club.
Bay Village is wonderful as is The Garden Room

Bad and Ugly has to go to Lunicos who not only have dreadful food they also have most of Cairns Lowlifes and Failures sitting at the Bar. The rip off award goes to Nu Nu's for the highest prices and worst food.

Miss Mardie said...

Dear Mr Moore,

Irrespective of the subject matter of items on CainsBlog, there should be no room for bad language and boorish and aggressive behaviour of the type used by Mr Betros.

I taught primary school children for almost 40 years and one of the pillars of my teaching was to instil in my pupils the notion that if you had to resort to abuse and violence then you had automatically lost your argument.

It is all the more disturbing that a supposedly senior representative of our business community should write in this fashion for public consumption. I certainly hope that Richard Ellis Real Estate does not condone such profanity and such threatening language.

Some of the problems young people have in this day and age include a lack of self-discipline, a lack of respect for others, and an unwillingness to conform to socially acceptable public behaviour.

We have seen in the last few days terrible violence in schools. It is partly because of the violence and messages of violence in the media and the entertainment industry.

When leading businessmen of this city conform to the same pattern, why should we be surprised?

I have to say that if one of my pupils had ever behaved in the way Mr Betros has, he would have been sat in the corner for the rest of the day and sent home with a note to his parents.

Yours etc
Mardie Andrews

Company Director said...

Go to the Naughty Corner Mr Betros!.

His rough mouth has definitely not been a good advertisement for Richard Ellis. I hope his business dealings are of a higher standard but it does leave one wondering what to expect if thinking of using his services.

Knows NOne or The Name Names said...

Mardie Andrews et al have displayed an extraordinary bias and unreasonable comment.

Danny Betros made a reasonable and forthright contribution to this post in good faith. In return he received an entirely unrelated rant on real estate which was flawed and malicious. This was pointed out by some commentators with no apparent axe to grind.

Perhaps Danny should have refrained from the 'shit for brains' comment but there is no "violence" as claimed. Amost unanimously its agreed the commenter is indeed a 'dickhead' as claimed. Most reasonable people in Australian life fob more than this off every day and just get on with it.

Your own fitness to be a teacher must be questioned where you have shown a complete inability to be objective in relation to the unsubstantiated irrelevant attack on Betros which was the real bullying? For Betros to be a bully there must be a victim so who is it here?

All I see here is typical malicious rubbish from some of the grubbier elements of the Cairns business community.

Lillian at Yorkeys said...

Well, food as an issue has got us all going, hasn't it?

I wonder if Nicky actually would like US to post something on her food blog? I think that's what it's for?

L'Unico - I eat lunch there quite often & find the food great, service excellent, & coffee very good too. Woodfired pizza, yum. Lovely location looking out at the sea whilst eating. Don't know about the 'lowlifes' - they're not there at lunchtime, anyway.

Krokodollos at Yorkeys Knob - has to be one of the best. Their extensive menu is amazing, & they make their own pizza dough. Well worth a trip to Yorkeys.

Lemonade Tree in Abbott St - yes, Ray & Apit, (formerly of Star Apple at Yorkeys) have another winner up their sleeve. Try.

I an larger sense, I agree with I Am The Stig above - I think there's is too much of an attitude about "well, we'll get a meal value out of the tourists & they won't be back anyway". Whereas, tourists talk to other tourists, & with websites like TripAdvisor with people comparing experiences, there may soon be no place for cheap & nasty opeerators to hide.

I wonder too, how often people actually mention their experience/s to restaurant management? I think there is a reticence in Australia when waitstaff say "how is/was the meal? everything all right" for
people to mumble & not come out with concerns/complaints. If people ask me, I tell them - politely. If something is wrong with the meal, I mention it. There's a great old saying which can apply to all situations in life: Say what you mean, but don't say it mean.

I do wonder what Stig means that at Barnacle Bills 'all the escapees from Lotus Glen are the waitstaff'? Since he didn't mention the quality of foor or service, is this racism rearing its ugly head again?

And along those lines - Fusion Organics in Grafton St is excellent - extremely tasty, & definitely not all mung beans & tofu. Yes, they have fish & meat dishes. They also seem to employ almost entirely Murri & TI staff who do a great job - good to see some positive in that direction.

miss hotlips said...

I agree The Name Names I had no idea who Danny Betros was until I saw his quite reasonable post here -the comments by M Andrews are ludicrous -there has to be something else going on here -business rivalry perhaps?
Back to the real subject -went to Matsuri again last nite -another good meal -(and we were serenaded by Johnno who was busking down the way outside the Night Markets -he is such an institution here!)
and for a fine dining exp I will try C'est Bon on your recommendation Denis! BTW what is the problem with Salthouse??

I Am The Stig said...

I can assure you there were no Racial undertones in my comments on Barnacle Bills Lillian. We should also not assume that the mere mention of Lotus Glen is automatically connected to Race. There are all Nationalities serving time. My reference was more to do with the Waiters who do not fit the normal appearance you would expect from a waiter. The food and service is dreadful at Barnacle Bills.

Sir Eat a Lot said...

There are truely some great places to get a decent meal in Cairns. I have enjoyed most of the places mentioned above, just one to add:I recently ate with friends at Salt Temple on the esplanade and it was great value and delicious.Lets just enjoy all the good things Cairns has to offer and not encourage fighting and bickering.

Lillian at Yorkeys said...

Point taken Mr. Stig, good to know your perspective.

We all seem to have a lot of comments about great & crap restaurants & everything in between. How's about we do support Nicky & make Cairns Dining into a vital website with feedback on our experiences?

John Doe said...

It's an interesting cross section of comments that have been left here. While some of the comments have made me want to gag with repulsion there does seem to be a vast misconception of the difference between price and value.

If you want a cheap decent meal, go to Sizzlers. However if you don’t mind parting with a little bit of your coin, there are quite a few decent places to eat, the biggest tip I can give is to steer clear of anything at the Pier or along the Esplanade.

Some of the best places I’ve eaten at are:
• Mother India – Sheridan St – The only place I’ve eaten such delicious Indian food.
• Kanpai – Shields St – Lovely Japanese dishes
• Koh-Ya – Orchid Plaza – A very nice different dining experience where you can cook your own food
• Piccolo Cucina – The best Italian in town as far as food goes
• There’s a beautiful Thai restaurant in Stratford I can’t remember the name of at the moment
• Bay Leaf – Lake St – The best Balinese style cooking available in Cairns
• C’Est Bon – Lake St – French food that is top grade
• Waterbar and Grill – The Pier – My only exception to any dining on the Pier, for a late lunch/early dinner this place is quite good.

KitchenSlut said...

What is extraordinary here is actually the extent of unanimity and agreement rather than disagreement?

There is mostly agreement here more often than not with places not on the high profile tourist strips repeated in recommendations. The same names keep emerging and deserve to. They are not the Esplanade hypes! So how do we share these with our visitors?

Even the recent post for Sizzlers rings a bell despite not being in my own sphere. I know that families love it and their kids request their birthday parties there!

I can disagree and quibble with many comments here but that just is my own preferences and biases. Yes, happy to defend those but ..... so what!?

Hope Nicky doesn't mind but am throwing this out and am scheduled for dinner with her this week to discuss but .... what do YOU want from a food website?

Jude Johnston said...

Lillian asks, "Do we mention our experience to the wait staff/restaurant management".
You hear horrific stories about what happens to your meal if you do complain and send it back.
I rarely order a steak when out because my preference is to have it "blue". While many wait staff exclaim that the "chef will love me", there seems to be very few who produce a blue steak.
A couple of years back we went for a meal at The Sebel Reef House at Palm Cove. The prices were up there as expected and made the mistake of ordering a blue steak.
What arrived defintely did not fall into that category and wasn't even rare. While this may seem rather pedantic to some, at the prices charged, I felt I had every right to expect to get what I ordered, so the wait staff politely advised it was not as ordered. The waiter came back and plonked the same meal back down in front of me and said "this is the way the chef cooks a blue steak, you can have this or order something else". I said I would give it a miss thank you, and could I have the fish. What arrived looked like the left over meal of someone else. We were ignored by the wait staff for the rest of the night, not one wait staff came to ask if we wanted anything to drink, was everything alright, did we want a dessert menu. Zilch. We paid the bill, full price, and left. We have never been back and have told everyone we knew about our experience, would not recommend the place and now through this blog have told another ???? people.
Things may have improved out there, I am sure the staff have all moved on, but the experience was bad so why would I bother to risk it again.

Lillian at Yorkeys said...

Ms. Hotlips - the Korean pickled cabbage is called 'kimchee'.

Dr John said...

As a person who dines out regularly and enjoys good food whatever the expense I would like to join Jude Johnston in mentioning how bad Reef House has become. The food is very ordinary, poorly presented and seriously over priced. The service is almost non existant and when you can obtain it they get the orders wrong.
It used to be my fine dining restaurant of choice and I would happily make the treck out to the Northern Beaches knowing I would leave happy but not anymore. I spoke to one of the waiters who has been with Reef House for many years and he said that it was cost cutting by Management that was the main contributor creating much frustration in the Kitchen.
My very last experience forces me to join Jude in telling everyone "Do not go to Reef House"

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy dining out however am becoming totally disallusioned with the commitment of Cairns restaurants to a pleasant experience. They are overrated, overpriced and poor performing. There are complaints of poor patronage yet they seem to forget the captive market of 150,000 locals.
I have eaten from Fasta Pasta to Ochre. I must say with these 2 the first was my pick and about $180 cheaper for the experience.
Restraunts seem to forget that it is the overall experience that will judge them. You may have a nice meal and your enjoyment is ruined by the ridiculous bar prices or the poor service. My perceptions of a good meal is the combinations of many things.
My experiences
La Porchetta- 1/10 can't say anymore without profanities.

Ochre- had our anniversary and decided to treat ourselves...result was $240 down bad experience cute bland offerings and a case of the trots when we got home.

Outback Jacks- have eaten there a few times. wasn't too bad the first few however got steadily worse. Problem with backpackers flipping steaks...medium means still on the something about it means throw it back on the grill and dry it and stuff it.

Casino...can't think of the name...bloody awful.

Paddywacks...not too bad depending on the dish.

M Yogo...have eaten here a few times. Have had 2 excellent results. they are light on the offerings but as I said its a balance of what you expect and the lunch menu was superb.
Cactus Jacks not to bad...balanced with resonable overall result. Not a big mexican man.

Green ant...have a great special for locals on certain nights. As I said not a great mexican man but enjoyed it here.

Cas de Meze...not to bad...have had reasonable meals however another restaurant that scares you with the drinks prices.

China House...this one was quite enjoyable and look forward to getting a bit more adventurous with the menu next time.

Bobbys...pretty good meals...need to be careful with menu selection as what you order can differ from what you expect.

Balaclava hotel...went once and iot was ok...tried again and frankly it was pathetic.

Limmys...didn't mind the meals so much..question presentation...clean?
Courthouse Hotel...great little spot for a few drinks "up at the bar"...reasonable bar prices and reasonable food. Had quite an enjoyable evening there. Haven't spent too much time drinking at the bar for years and this was a good evening.

Adelfia Greek...wasn't another of my ratable moments. Menu was a little misleading and didn't get what I expected. Food was passable until you started digesting it then it really passed. service was pretty good. Had another episode of the trots which always leaves a lasting impression.

Hotel cairns...this wasn't bad. Quite enjoyed the meals here. Good atmoshere. Its nice in the outdoor area just watch the temperature when going.

Theres more however...I can't understand and have no sympathy for the whinging retaurants when times are hard. They have a local market they can tap into. they will need to pick up the game and offer local pricing...i mean bloody hell the food prices for whats on offer here are crazy. Get the prices down the quality and the experience up and for christs sake drop your bar prices...bloody hell get them down and we will stay and have a on for a few cocktails...get smashed and remember it as a bloody ripper night and tell every one about. How many of these moronic restaurants offer discounts off for early diners but don't apply it to the drinks 47 a basic spirit I think you could.

KitchenSlut said...

The restaurant that started this thread, Rimini, is apparently to have a change to a new operator with some positive food intentions within a few months! Stay tuned!

KitchenSlut said...

To confirm the restaurant complaint that started this post and comments, Rimini, has now changed hands to new operators Jamie Ah Gee and partner, local artist Ann Ah Gee.

I believe the highly criticised buffet is now gone and the menu is soon to be revamped. I wish them all the best in difficult times and look forward to sampling the new menu.

P.S. After saying that Hanuman was the best in town I was disappointed there last weekend just not the previous exceptional experience. Lemonade Tree on Abbott is probably now my most regular favorite place.

Barry said...

OK Cairns Bloggers !! My Wife & I will be up there in 6 weeks for 10 days.

We expect to eat out 5/10 nights. We are not food "snobs" or critics, just like a good value feed for a reasonable price.

We are not keen on the large plate with tiny bit of food in the middle - you know the stuff you see in the snobby food magazines.

From research on various sites "Fettas" appears to be a must visit.

4 or 5 other recommendations ?

Staying on Esplanade, so walking distance is a consideration!
BTW - Is it safe to walk about early evening in CBD ?

Thanks Guys - looking forward to it

Arthur Festerbestertester said...

Arthur has fulfilled his promise to himself and eaten at Hanuman. The food is a bit like the proverbial curate's egg - if on a higher plane of judgment. The tasting plate was entertaining and interesting, and curries, fish and pork belly excellent. But do currries like these, no matter how well cooked, have a place on a fine dining menu? I think not when set against some of the other items. Hanuman's interior and setting, unusual for a waterfront hotel in that there is no sea view, is the best in Cairns. But wait! What about about the service, I hear you ask. And I reply with terrible, starting at the Hilton bar where the staff took three orders, served the men and left the woman who actually ordered the drinks sitting empty-handed. The service from a lippy waiter inside Hanuman was not much better. All in all a great disappointment.

Bazza said...

You will find much better places to dine with better atmosphere than the hovel of "George carry onus" Fettas

KitchenSlut said...

Fester thanks for the feedback and genuinely respect your opinion and support your latest experience at Hanuman. Indeed the somewhat extraordinary collapse in service standards was posted last week at Cairnsblog and KS with supporting commentary and experience.

The significance of this thread is in the attention it has gathered and that while there is a divergence of opinion there is also much commonality.

Barry (above) seems to regard the experience of dining in Cairns as a reality TV event ie "gimme five goodies but just dont underfeed me"?

I live here, dine out more than most, and wish to hell I could tell Barry what will fit his criteria six weeks from now but honestly would never pretend to have a flying fuck of a clue!

Similarly, as a respected contributor, don't have a flying fuck of a clue about what Fester means when the term 'fine dining' is used? Please explain as a google brings some very odd results?

Food is a cultural experience more than anything else? Why cant 'fine dining' include curry?

JudeJohnston said...

We went to the Lemonade Tree for dinner prior to going next door to see "Macbeth" at The Jute Theatre. We had an excellent meal, good service and the corkage wasn't unreasonable.
The performance of "Macbeth" was also excellent, pity about the uncomfortable seats.

Arthur Festerbestertester said...

the thought came to me when sampling the curry after the fish and the pork and the tasting plate. it was lovely curry, believe me, but it wasn't at the same level as the rest. The smell was spot on, the depth and complexity of tastes and textures, and so on. In the end it was a bowl of wet curry in the middle of the table. There were elements of indian cuisine in the tasting plate, and they belonged and added to the sum total of the dish. Maybe it's just a question of presentation. Maybe it's a lack of consideration of how curries generally might fit on to a top restaurant's menu. maybe it's a lack of adventure.

On the subject of fine dining, last night i had dinner at cactus jack's after work. I had a steak. it was a good piece of meat but not a great piece of meat, but it WAS cooked to perfection. On the left of the plate was a serving of finely sliced iceberg lettuce with a tomato and corn salsa. Beside it sat a large idaho potato still in its foil. That cost 25 bucks. i had a glass of Jamieson's run cab sav at $7.00 or so. On top of that there was a 15% surcharge because of the public holiday (I asked and the staff do get an extra 15%, so it wasn't the usual rip-off). It was a good meal, and the service was spot on, but most certanly it was not fine dining. i could go to Hanuman tonight and spend the same amount of money and be able to say afterwards that i had dined finely (assuming the service was up to the standard of Cactus Jack's). This is one way of defining fine dining, and I'm sure there are many others even thought we will definitely not agree on all of them.

Anne Ah Gee said...


I am writing to let you know that on the 18th March 2010 Ristorante Rimini was purchased by its new owners Anne and Jamie.

Jamie is an award winning chef who has represented Australia on 2 occasions.

We have new owner, new staff; a new menu produced using only the finest quality ingredients, and a totally new management team.

While I understand Michael and Rose experienced an appalling evening at Rimini on the 15th February, that business, attitude and experience no way represents any part of the new team, quality food or owners.

I would appreciate it if you could please advise viewers of this page and any other disappointed patrons or posts from before the 18th March 2010 of this information, as I would hate for our business to be unfairly avoided based on outdated and incorrect information.

Thanks so much for your help with this.

PS we are working on updating all online sites from the “old” Rimini however they were prolific and we are required to substantiate proof of ownership etc.

Some sites are still quoting the old menu and information. You can find updated information on the following website

Thanks again,

Anne Ah Gee

John Smith said...

If I was the new owner of Rimini's I would change my name that nobody get's confused. Funny, if you ever experienced the service in Italy's real Rimini you really want to change your name...