Thursday, August 30, 2012

Caffe Dell' Isola

1/7 Marine Parade
Magnetic Island,
Queensland 4819

 Caffe Dell' Isola is a distinct presence with in the Hotel Arcadia site. Primarily a cafe it also serves some meals and is open until 8 for dinner on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. There are a few tables inside and plenty more under umbrellas outside.

We visited in the evening to try the authentic italian style pizza's. Somewhere on the menu, or maybe on a sign, there was a note that they don't use pineapple as a topping, which set them apart from the pubs. The menu covered standard and more adventurous options...

We shared a couple of generously sized pizza's. The Gamberoni & salmone featured some great tiger prawns, tomato, garlic, mozzarella, spinach and just a bit too much salmon. The combination was good and base cooked just enough.

The authentic marinara stuck to a simple traditional recipe with just tomato, garlic and anchovies on a slightly charred base. It was perfectly produced and simplicity let the quality of the ingredients show through.

If you looking for Italian style pizza on Magnetic island, definitely head to Caffe Dell' Isola in Arcadia, as long as it's open!

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Marlin Bar

3 Pacific Drive
Horseshoe Bay
Magnetic Island
Queensland 4819

The Marlin bar has an enviable position, across the road from the beach in Horseshoe Bay, with views of the wide bay and yacht bobbing at anchor.

We had dinner there and watched the sun set over the western end of the bay.

We shared the trio of dips with Turkish bread, the punchy red pesto was our favourite, the hummus ticked the box, but calling the balsamic and olive oil a dip seemed like a bit of a stretch!

I had the special crab with lentil and papaya. The crab was tasty inside it's crunchy coating, the lentil and papaya surprised me by working really well together and the salad had a great asian style dressing, fantastic value for $19.

The linguine marinara was adorned with plenty of great seafood and fush, but the accompanying sauce was a little on the runny side.

The Marlin bar could sit on it's laurels with it's fantastic sunset views, but the food lives up to the location, the service was pretty friendly and efficient too, and it's worth heading here if you are on Magnetic Island.

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Hotel Arcadia

7 Marine Parade
Magnetic Island
QLD 4819

07 4778 5177

This will be the first of few posts from our recent stay on Magnetic Island. The Arcadia pub, or to go by its official name,  "Hotel Arcadia" has a fantastic location overlooking the Eastern end of Geoffrey Bay and around the corner from Alma Bay. It's a big pub/hotel complex, offering accommodation, several bars, a pool, pokies and a bottle shop as well as meals.

We stayed nearby and ended up visiting a few times as some of the time it is the only option to get food in Arcadia, especially in the evening.

Pub standards dominate the menu, including the Fish burger below, which contained a generous, if awkwardly shaped chunk of crumbed and slightly dry fish. We weren't sure about the inclusion of cheese, and removed it... The burger filled us up at lunch though.

The 300g steak covered the plate, but was a little on the thin side. The accompanying pepper sauce was disappointingly thin and runny.

I went for the grilled fish and chips as a slightly healthier option, but fish may have been better suited to being battered...

 The chicken schnitzel was on special on Tuesdays, a bargain at only $8 that I had to investigate. It was huge and well cooked - not at all dry...

The crumbed prawns and calamari was fine, and followed a Magnetic Island/north Queensland trend for coating things in breadcrumbs!

On Saturday there is an Asian food stall/counter which serves good value ($12 a plate) Thai green and masaman curries, chicken and cashew nuts and a couple of other dishes. These were a pleasant change to the regular offerings and of a great standard, especially at that price. Eating outdoors and off plastic plates just made it feel a bit more like a visit to a food stall/market somewhere in south east asia!

The pub with its awesome views can be a great place to pass the time, and can vary in atmosphere from quiet to busy and louder with bands playing on weekends. The food meets expectations and the service was was fine too. Not a bad spot to spend some time while visiting the island.

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Friday, August 10, 2012

Spice Bazaar

79 Victoria Street
Vic 3011

I'd walked past Spice Bazaar many times and sometimes seen classes in action, but hadn't got around to finding out more about it. A work related event provided the opportunity to find out more! Inside the kitchen area was modern and clean with two islands for prep and hobs and ovens against the back wall.At the front the tables were set...

We worked in groups of four filling up the two benches in the kitchen area. The first thing we worked on were the Spanish tortillas with an anchovy, capers and lemon zest filling.

Jill flipped the omelettes using a plate.

They were finished in the oven and formed part of the second course.

The entrée included Rhodes zucchini fritters with mint and wine marinated feta...

...Za'atar Spiced Lebanese Bread with a herbaceous, topping  imparting tangy and nutty flavours.

The final component of the first course were the home style nachos with classic toppings and served with a guacamole.

The main course featured a variety of salads including Piquillo with sweet smokey roasted capsicum fillets topped with  anchovy, red oinion, Spanish Sherry vinegar and extra virgin olive oil....

... a Spanish black olive, fennel and orange salad....

...and a Broccoli salad.

The centre piece of the mains were the veggie and chicken and chorizo paellas.

There were also Koftas.

To finish we prepared and ate pears poached in Moroccan spices, with citrus labne whip.

 I've let the photo's do the talking, as I'm not sure 'reviewing' food I'd help cook (when I didn't have the camera out) was really fair. The dishes were all flavoursome and the ingredients authentic and good quality. The business was originally focussed on spice production, but has now successfully been teaching for a couple of years. The hosts were enthusiastic and knowledgeable. It was different and enjoyable activity to participate in with colleagues and certainly and fun and educational way to spend an evening!

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