While many people travel to Australia to experience the incredible landscape, this country also has some delicious cuisine options. Our flightie Justina Wilke recently travelled down under and gives us a look (and taste) into the food and coffee of Australia along with her top two favourite restaurants that you must experience for yourself:
After a 14 hour flight and a meagre attempt at adjusting to a new time zone and climate, the first thing you want is a coffee, right? Whether you take your coffee black, or with cream and sugar- try ordering it like that in Australia and I can guarantee you’ll get some strange looks. In this country you’ll want to be prepared to order it the Aussie way. A “Long Black” will get you a coffee much like an Americano with 2 shots of Espresso and hot water added. A “Flat White” is essentially a cappuccino, and you can add your own sweetener if desired. Even though you may find it impossible to find drip coffee anywhere in Australia, I was rather impressed with the quality of their coffee and the process that went into making it.
An Australian Barista is considered a true artist of Coffee making & each Barista must actually be certified by a reputable Institution before they can get a job. In North America, anyone who is briefly trained to operate a cappuccino machine is therefore considered a Barista, whereas in Australia they take this title much more seriously.
Australia dining is fairly similar to Canadian dining. Their fusion style food encompasses many different influences from all over the world; particularly Asia, South America, other areas of the South Pacific and even Europe; including the Mediterranean. Most Aussie breakfasts are rather hearty and are served very similarly to western cultures; a few of the differences include beans in tomato sauce & mostly back bacon in much thicker strips with the rind left on. The breakfast buffets that we enjoyed had some incredible variety to them. We even had a full honeycomb display included on the fruit table at the Four Seasons Breakfast buffet that came with a wooden honey spoon!
The food overall in Australia, was fabulous. Keeping in mind that everything is perceived as being quite expensive compared to what we pay, (because tipping is not expected and the tax is already included in the prices) on most occasions it tends to even out.
If I was to choose two meals that stood out as the best & most authentic during this trip, I would pick “The Lauxes” Champagne Bar, Lounge & Restaurant in Broadbeach & “The Bushfire Grill” in Cairns.
Our first big dinner out in Australia was at The “Lauxes“. At first I thought it was a very strange name, but was told to look at the spelling backwards and soon realized that this was indeed a sexy play on words. (No pun intended). The Lounge area itself definitely lived up to its expectations, with large champagne glasses and bottles displayed in glass cases, elegant chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, an open-air concept with the park right next door and the main strip of bars and clubs right across the street.
Most of us started out with the fresh Oyster Bar (raw, of course) which were served in an Asian style with Ponzu sauce, wasabi or pickled ginger. The main courses included but were not limited to; Duck, Barramundi, or Lamb rack, Pork Tenderloin, or BUG! What’s that you say? You heard me right…
Tempura Moreton Bay Bug served with sautéed Asian vegetables, black beans with Chili, Ponzu & Ginger sauce. The “BUG” is a very famous, well known dish in Australia. It looks like a cross between a Cray Fish & a Lobster tail. Most restaurants that serve this local delicacy provide a different sauce and presentation each night.
The Brazilian influenced “Bush Fire” Aussie BBQ grill in Cairns was by far my favourite dining experience. The smell when you walk in the door reminded me of campfire and open-pit BBQing in the Summer time. The menu selection and unique dining experience was a “never to be forgotten” kind of experience. Our host, Vernon had already taken on the initiative to order for us. This was a very wise choice because he chose the CHURRASCO EXPERIENCE which was truly an authentic Aussie BBQ experience. Check it out for yourself & download their fantastic menu!
After serving a nice selection of Brazilian rice & bean dishes as well as some seasonal vegetables, the waiters started bringing out these enormous skewers of different meats, each BBQ’d with a different sauce & the waiter would slice the meat for you, while you used your tongs to remove the slices until you were content with the portions. There was chicken, beef, lamb, pork, chorizo sausages and ribs.
The flavours and selection were absolutely fantastic. I don’t recommend this place for vegetarians, unless of course they want to indulge in the cinnamon & sugar coated BBQ’d Pineapple. To die for! I didn’t actually try any Kangaroo, but apparently they eat it like we eat deer or venison in Canada. Also, crocodile Jerky is on my list of treats for my next Aussie adventure. The dessert selections were also fantastic & the variety was not only pleasing to the eye, but also to the palate.
With a full belly, first class treatment and a fabulous experience under my belt, I headed back to Canada; to the microwave pre-made dinners, take out Pizza and the odd nice meal out.
I would go back to Australia in a heartbeat, but I can honestly say that in nine days, I was able to learn, experience, EAT, and do an incredible amount within such a vast and fascinating country.