TAK­ING A LEAF OUT OF MIZUNA’S BOOK

MIZUNA IS MAK­ING AN EPI­CUREAN COME­BACK WITH A MENU RE­FLECT­ING PA­CIFIC RIM IN­FLU­ENCES

The Weekend Post - Cairns Eye - - Front Page -

Af­ter a spell in the metaphor­i­cal wilder­ness, Mizuna is back in the game. This ho­tel restau­rant has, over the years, gen­er­ally been con­sis­tent, but there have been some road bumps.

Tonight some in­ter­est­ing culi­nary twists bring an op­por­tune re­turn to the fold.

Seated, by re­quest, al fresco with views to the la­goon-style swim­ming pool there is plenty of pri­vacy hav­ing the large pa­tio to our­selves, just a cou­ple of other ta­bles of din­ers in­doors.

Drinks or­dered – the house sauv blanc served very cold is agree­able – we share a plate of br­uschetta. Four slabs of toasted cia­batta driz­zled with olive oil are ac­com­pa­nied by a self-serve bowl of diced fresh tomato, red onion, basil and bal­samic vine­gar.

Off to a good start. It is sur­pris­ing how many restau­rants can mess up some­thing so ba­sic.

En­trees look ad­ven­tur­ous - karaage chicken lo­tus bun with Asian salad and five-spice pick­led veg­eta­bles; as well as se­same-seared tuna with pick­led red onion, baby fen­nel and may­on­naise, noted for fu­ture ref­er­ence.

Also of in­ter­est is baked brie with con­fit cherry toma­toes, caramelised onions, sour­dough bread and bread sticks, but per­haps for shar­ing with a like-minded guest.

This time around, my com­pan­ion is young and rather con­ven­tional, so we stay on fa­mil­iar ter­ri­tory.

Our main cour­ses in­clude su­per food salad of burghul wheat, quinoa, roast veg­eta­bles, cashews, av­o­cado, soft-boiled egg, kale and wild roquette with a pre­served le­mon and yo­ghurt dress­ing (guilty) and for the young’un, seared duck breast with braised kale, cau­li­flower gravel, saf­fron potato crush and sour cherry jus.

I pinch a bit of duck (nice thick meaty slabs with just a lit­tle fat, could be a tad pinker per­haps), in­herit the en­tire por­tion of kale (kids and kale are po­lar opposites, I am in­formed) and shovel over a bit of my gen­er­ous salad.

This is some salad! Crunchy, tangy, herby, nutty – it’s a rain­bow with all the el­e­ments of great­ness and cer­tainly con­sti­tutes a bal­anced meal.

The duck dish is clas­sic and, in con­text, the braised kale is sat­is­fy­ingly salty, clash­ing de­li­ciously with the cherry jus. The earthy “gravel” is grated or ground cau­li­flower, which as­sumes a grainy con­sis­tency.

For dessert, we’ve been eye­ing off choco­late and beet­root brownie with rasp­berry sor­bet, but con­cede our eyes are big­ger than our bel­lies and should prob­a­bly have for­gone the bread.

As they say, fore­warned is fore­armed and we have no re­grets, hav­ing en­joyed it all.

Ver­dict: Worth a re­turn visit.

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