Editor Eats - Dundee's on the Waterfront

Sitting down to eat with a critical eye, it isn't always easy not to be influenced by things other than the food.

This was the case grabbing a lazy lunch at Dundees on the inlet. Dundee's is one of Cairns longest serving restaurants originally opening in the 80s in the CBD, then finally landing on the Harbour Lights boardwalk restaurant strip in 2004. This particular day, Cairns was doing its damndest to be the best place in the world, the sun was glorious, the breeze light but cool, and the water of the inlet, as the sea beyond, was a sheet of glass. It's difficult to imagine a more perfect backdrop to whatever was about to occur.  Dundee's should always be considered a safe pair of hands, you won't be disappointed. Longevity in restaurants is usually a sign of quality and consistency, and this case is no exception.

The beautiful scene almost demanded a reasonable glass of something, tropical weather and a Mod Oz menu punctuated with seafood and FNQ Italian influence lends itself to the mediterranean stylings of the aromatic pinot grigio or gris (same/same) of which there is a good selection on offer, all but one hailing from domestic southern climbs. Of particular note is the multi award winning NSW Printhie Mountain Range, which pairs with just about anything that hasn't been a cow.

The weather and the extemporary mediterranean vibe brought sharing front and centre, the Dundee’s Taster share plate and antipasto finding their way to the table. It was a tour de force, the soft shell crab, and duck spring rolls were magically excellent and the crusted calamari so good as to redefine my expectation of squid tubes like Saul on the road to Damascus redefined being struck by lightning. Mains came out, and I confess, more wine. Then plucked from the lunch menu was a cajun salmon steak, a crowd pleaser, and another oh-so-good was a penang curry with melt in your mouth reef fish. A linguine and steak sandwich were also served from the lunch menu, with lunch specials being 20 something dollars, keeping in range of most other waterside venues.  The antipasto and taster plates were 34 and a well spent 48 dollars respectively. For locals Dundee’s is an institution, but like all institutions we sometimes overlook them out of psychological ubiquity.  If that is the case for you, trust me, it’s a mistake. Go there, find out!

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