Our final night in Cairns, and why not finish our holiday with a bang? A decadent degustation at NuNu in Palm Cove sounded right up our alley. You can choose between 5 and 8 course versions. Have we met? Of course we went for the 8 course option, 6am flight be damned. And my dining companions took the decadence one step further by enjoying matched wines. I just had a few sips, but as always was astounded by the skillful choices of the sommelier. Unfortunately, my memory is failing and I cannot remember which wines went with which dishes – however, I have made a list of all sampled wines.
Brace yourself, there is going to be some gushing in this review, but I’ll try to keep it to a minimum. I apologise for the quality of some of the photos, the restaurant was quite dim (I believe that’s called “atmosphere”, which I promptly spoiled by using the flash). A moment to rave about the location – picture palm trees, the soothing sound of surf, jazz softly playing the background, candles, open walls and the smell of sea salt. Tropical paradise.
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Homemade bread with preserved lemons and sea salt. Piping hot from the oven, and a real wake up to the palate with big hits of lemon and salt.
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Millionaires salad: shaved local heart of palm, honeydew melon, lime, baby herbs and chilli. Light and refreshing start to the degustation.
Also, salmon roe, garlic chips, fried shallots, green papaya (and a mystery ingredient or two!) wrapped in betel leaves. I loved this dish and it was one of the highlights – such a variety of textures and flavours, yet perfectly balanced.
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Hervey bay scallops with spanner crab, hazelnuts, new season muscatels, parsnip and gold leaf. I must admit, I don’t really see the point of gold leaf, but that aside this was a great dish. I don’t believe the scallops were cooked but they were so fresh they melted on your tongue.
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Butter poached tiger prawn and spiced lentil toasty, yoghurt, cucumber and curry leaf. One of the most amazing things about this degustation was the high standard of every single dish. This was no exception.
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Local line caught reef fish, smoked eggplant salad, tumeric sauce and clams. The sauce in this was amazing, some was served in the clam shell and eagerly slurped up by my party. A dining companion declared this his favourite dish of the night. A huge flavour hit.
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Slow roasted red duck curry with squid and young coconut salad, thai basil and jasmine rice. Even I loved this dish, and I’m not the biggest fan of duck. The red curry paste/sauce was out of this world!
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Garlic rubbed beef, with burnt butter gnocchi, crushed peas, sprout leaves, hazelnuts and gorgonzola dolche latte (and an onion ring!). Another highlight for me – the beef was beautifully cooked, the gnocchi featherlight, and I loved the combination of hazelnuts and gorgonzola.
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Cheese – Gallo Dairyland Baci (Brie) with date paste, a tuille and fennel seeds. A smooth rich cheese. We found the additional of fennel particularly inspired, and it worked so well with the matched wine.
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Passionfruit souffle with passionfruit icecream and passionfruit curd tart. I love it when “dessert” is actually 3 different dishes – a great dish to show off the merits of a sometimes underrated tropical fruit!
Sparkling – Ayala, “brut majeur” from Ay, France
Riesling – 2008 Dr burklin-wolf trocken from Pfalz, Germany
Semillon Sauvignon Blanc – 2009 Henschke ‘elanor’s cottage’ from Adelaide Hills, SA
Aromatic – 2008 Domaine la grange, muscadet surlie from Loire Valley, France
Pinot Noir – 2008 Rabbit ranch from Central Otago, New Zealand
Zinfandel Shiraz – 2008 Buckshot ‘the square peg’ from Heathcote, VIC
GSM – 2006 Cotes du rhone ‘Guigal’ from Rhone valley, France
Sweet – 2008 Bress ‘kindust cut’ guwurtztraminer
A restaurant after my own heart, NuNu are commited to using local, seasonal and, where possible, organic produce. They were awarded “Regional Restaurant of the Year” by Gourmet Traveller in 2008, and it’s easy to see why.
123 Williams Esplanade
Palm Cove, Queensland
Ph: 07 4059 1880