The Weekend Post - Cairns Eye - - Front Page -

Let’s face it, there are great Ital­ian restau­rants and then there’s your lo­cal pizza joint. 300 de­grees, which has taken over the spot oc­cu­pied by La Porchetta for many years, lies some­where mid­stream.

The mid­dle mar­ket is no bad place. It brings af­ford­abil­ity and lit­tle risk of dis­ap­point­ment.

On the whole, prices are nei­ther cheap nor ex­pen­sive, but per­haps a few dol­lars short of what you might pay at the higher end.

In­side, by ap­pear­ance, there’s not a great deal of dif­fer­ence from its pre­vi­ous in­car­na­tion, though, this be­ing an in­de­pen­dent eatery as op­posed to part of a chain, it seems to have a touch more char­ac­ter these days. It’s a Thursday night and quite busy. As we are seated, the wait­ress in­forms us there will be about a half-hour wait for food, due to the ear­lier ar­rival of a large group.

From where we sit, the sole chef down this end (there’s a pizza kitchen at the other end) is un­der the cosh, but man­ag­ing ad­mirably.

Knowl­edge is power, so be­ing in­formed in ad­vance is fine, we’re happy to wait.

Feel­ing a lit­tle ten­u­ous about how things will shape up, we have de­cided to stick to ba­sics.

Our think­ing is, if they get the essen­tials right, we can be a lit­tle more ad­ven­tur­ous next time.

A cou­ple of tra­di­tional piz­zas (there’s a gourmet range, but some of them sound a bit weird – chicken sa­tay pizza, any­one?), a salad and some drinks. What can go wrong? Well, noth­ing, as it turns out. The wait isn’t ex­ces­sive and, be­fore we’re fin­ished our first drinks (Ja­cob’s Creek pinot gri­gio for me, Peroni for him) the food has ar­rived.

A pro­sciutto and rocket pizza dabbed with molten moz­zarella blobs, parme­san and basil looks ap­peal­ing and tastes right with a moun­tain of fresh leaves piled in the cen­tre.

A capri­cossa pizza (our Ital­ian friend in­forms us this is the one you or­der when you “want it all”) looks a tad over­done, but well cov­ered with ham, mush­rooms, olives, an­chovies and moz­zarella. The crusts on both are crisp, with the right amount of give.

A Mediter­ranean salad is buxom for the price at $14.90 with abun­dant fetta and an agree­able bal­samic vinai­grette.

The wine sur­prises me. It’s what could po­litely be de­scribed as “min­i­mal­ist”. Look­ing around, ev­ery other wine drinker seems to have a much heartier serve.

I’ve shied away from the house wine at $4.90 a glass ($14.70 a litre), fear­ful of side-ef­fects, but feel a bit cheated as to why I’ve been given such a grannie al­lowance. Our wait­ress reads my per­tur­ba­tion and cor­rects the mat­ter. 300 de­grees does good trade. At the start of the meal we dis­cuss whether this is due to its lo­ca­tion within a cin­ema com­plex, or whether the food and ser­vice are the draw­cards.

The ser­vice is ef­fi­cient and friendly, the food rather good.

Ver­dict: If a movie is on the cards, this is def­i­nitely worth con­sid­er­a­tion to keep hunger pangs at bay.

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