AP­PEAR­ANCE COUNTS AT THE BAR

NO LONGER JUST A PLACE TO PROP FOR A BEER, PUBS LIKE THE PIER BAR HAVE A FAR WIDER AP­PEAL

The Weekend Post - Cairns Eye - - Front Page -

Things are dif­fer­ent at pubs these days. For a start, counter meals come in many more guises than steak and chips, crumbed chicken and chips, or sausage and chips. You can prob­a­bly still get those at most pubs, but you’ll be brows­ing the menu be­tween Thai beef sal­ads and sweet potato fries.

It’s a whole new ket­tle of grilled bar­ra­mundi (sprin­kled with mi­cro herbs of course).

The Pier Bar doesn’t even feel like an old-style pub. There’s no smell of beery day-after carpet, no clouds of cig­a­rette smoke, no bored staff, no pool ta­ble yobby be­hav­iour.

No, here it is all bright colours, cush­ions, open­plan de­sign, sea breezes, trop­i­cal plants, funky beats and a killer view. What’s pubby about that? Well, pub prices bode well for drinks and meals, but that’s about it.

Today it’s Taco Tues­day, so my lunch date and I de­cided that’s a good place to start. Since it has an of­fi­cial name, we con­sider it wor­thy of ap­pro­pri­ate cel­e­bra­tion with glasses of T’Gal­lant pros­ecco.

The flaked barra ta­cos are served on a wooden chop­ping board, a soft tor­tilla topped with fish, pick­led white onion and tartare sauce. A hand­ful of fresh salad sits at the side.

There’s a whole list of taco choices in­clud­ing Mex­i­can beef (of course), pulled pork, char-grilled cap­sicum and Ca­jun chicken.

You could feast on the lot, but we’re just hav­ing one as a starter.

Mov­ing on to a shared chilli prawn and pineap­ple pizza and a grilled haloumi and lamb salad, we’ve cer­tainly got more than we bar­gained for. No wor­ries, oblig­ing staff are happy to box up any left-over pizza to take-away (that’s din­ner sorted then). Both meals are large. The prawns on the pizza, with what taste like a hint of Thai dress­ing, which could be the “chef’s spe­cial chilli sauce”, are plump, fresh and plen­ti­ful.

The salad, while bear­ing enough shred­ded roast lamb to feed an All Black’s team, is a lit­tle bit on the bor­ing side. There’s the odd piece of to­mato and zuc­chini, two slices of grilled haloumi and tonnes of rocket, but it’s un­der­dressed and needs a bit of revving up.

As we’ve other dishes to go with it, we get it across the line, but as a stand-alone, it wouldn’t fare so well.

Speak­ing of fancy pub menus these days, this one lists mush­room burger; pea, mint and blue cheese risotto; as well as wraps, steaks and chur­ros (Span­ish fried pas­tries sprin­kled with chilli and su­gar, served with dip­ping choco­late) for dessert.

It just goes to show the cos­mopoli­tan out­look of today’s hum­ble wa­ter­ing hole.

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