Casuarina Asian Bistro

Today on the Dining Diaries…

Luke-warm food almost makes us cry
We weren’t asked if we wanted more drinks and that almost made us cry and…
Good spicy food wakens our taste buds and definitely did NOT make us cry!

cas6Diners today we were at Casuarina in the Marion Shopping Centre.

There’s lots to love about this place and honestly I don’t know why I don’t come here more often.

One thing to note, this is not a “fancy” place so don’t expect fancy service. You will wait, but you will get pretty decent food and at a reasonable price.

We were dining on a Tuesday night and it was really quite busy at 6.30pm. My guess is it’s because of cheap Movie night at the Marion cinema’s! Whatever the reason, we were kept waiting at the entrance for a little while.
But that wasn’t too bad.

After a little while a nice waiter held up three fingers – yes that was to ask us if there were three in our party and I nodded enthusiastically and he led us to a table… I wonder which two fingers he would have held up if there had been two in our party.

The first thing you notice about Casuarina is that it’s a bright, modern looking restaurant. Lots of people making lots of noise. It seemed like it was a fun happening place.
The menu looked pretty good and had a nice amount of variety in it.

My two friends and I decided to split a couple of entree’s first. We’d ordered our drinks and food at the same time but for some reason, one entree came out, then five or so minutes later, one main and another entree came out.. and still no drinks. One of my friends had to remind the waiter what we were waiting for which shouldn’t have been necessary.

But onto the food!

The first entree we shared were spring rolls which conveniently for us, came three to a serve.

cas5

While the taste was pretty good, it was immediately noticeable that the inside of the spring roll was cold. Had these been frozen and not left in the fryer for long enough? I don’t know, I was just a bit disappointed however, the flavours were good.

We also shared the Steamed Prawn Dumplings which also conveniently came in a serve of three.

cas3
Now they WERE cooked all the way through and they were just delicious pillows of prawn. I loved everything about them. One of the sauces provided was a chili sauce and I’m glad I didn’t try it because apparently it was quite hot!! My tolerance is normally low but I’d recommend this dish,especially if you like a lot of heat in your food!

We were still waiting for drinks at this point which was a little disappointing… eventually our wine’s came but we were well and truly into our mains by then….

For main one of my companions chose the Char Kway Teow – Rice Stick Noodles with BBQ Pork, Prawn, Fishcake, Egg and Bean Sprouts, wok fried with a dark Soy Sauce.

cas4
She said this had a great flavour throughout. The ingredients seemed fresh and it was just really tasty and enjoyable to eat. All the flavours worked well together.

Another of my companions chose the Green Curry Chicken.

cas1
I had a bit of diner’s envy when I saw this come out!!! It looks pretty amazing! She said it was a perfect curry and just what she needed. It was fragrant and comforting and it was a pretty decent serve too!

I, with absolutely no idea, chose the Mee Goreng.

cas2

I’m not even going to pretend to know what  Mee Goreng is supposed to taste like! All I can tell you is that it tasted great! The only complaint is that it was, like the entree, cold to luke-warm instead of temperature hot. There was a tiny bit of heat in here, just enough to wow my tastebuds and wake up those senses! I did enjoy this dish, I just wanted it to be temperature hotter.

Unfortunately no one came to our table to see how our meals were or to check to see if we wanted more drinks. We would have loved a jug of water! And maybe a sneaky second glass of wine….
I guess it’s a bit  of a “you get what you pay for” thing because the prices at Casuarina are really quite reasonable and most of the food is really good, and if you had to excel at either service or food, I’d probably pick food.

My diners and I hadn’t seen each other for some time so we were happy to gas bag and catch up but it was a bit disappointing that no one asked us if we wanted anything else (dessert) until the restaurant was almost empty and it was obvious they were trying to close up.

All that aside, I would eagerly come here again, even with the cold food, as I think they do a fantastic job and I just loved the flavours I experienced tonight.

I’d love to know what regular eaters of Asian foods think of this place!

Have you been to Casuarina?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!!

Till next we chow…

Advertisements

The Colonist

COLONISTSDUFF021.jpg
Today on The Dining Diaries,

Goldilocks and her bear find out that the nachos are too small, the Calamari is too boring and the Jungle Goat Curry is juuuuuuust right.

 

Saying the Calamari was a little boring is probably a bit harsh but we’ll get to that in a little bit!

The team lunched at The Colonist today.
We walked in through the entrance off the car park and found ourselves in a cramped unlevel and narrow hallway. I think we passed bathrooms and the kitchen but I didn’t look, I just kept walking as it didn’t feel like a pleasant place to be.

We looked into the restaurant and there wasn’t a single table being used. It looked like a lonely spinster, dressed up in old fashioned clothing waiting for her prince to come…
So instead of dining in the restaurant, we went to the front bar where there was people and music and just was a more happening area.
IMG_5727In fact, for all my negative comments so far, I felt really comfortable in the front bar.
It was casual, colourful and being served by friendly staff.

We took some menus and settled ourselves at a table with views outside. Being a lovely Autumn day, the tables outside were also being used and I got the impression that this is a very popular place so was excited to see what the food was going to be like.

The menu was wide and varied from pub favourites to chef’s specialties.
I’d been feeling like nacho’s for a while so we ordered some of those to share.
I also ordered the Jungle Goat Curry – A rustic curry with pieces of goat on + off the bone stirred through a mild tomato base sauce with Indian aromatics, green beans & potato served with basmati, chutney + cumin pappadams.
Hubby ordered Sea Salt ‘n’ Pepper Squid squid dusted through flour, seasoned with sea salt + kibbled pepper served with a sweet chilli, sesame & ginger dipping sauce, chips + slaw.

IMG_5728There’s no other way to say it, but I was disappointed when the the nacho’s came out. I wanted to cry. They were teeny tiny and I don’t mean teeny tiny for us, they would have been teeny tiny for anyone.

There was a tablespoon or so of refried beans on the bottom of the bowl, twelve chips around that, a dob of cheese and salsa on the top (You can barely see the cheese in the pic) and a tablespoon of sour cream and guacamole on top.
This has not satisfied my nacho craving.

What we did eat was nice but really, you can’t go too wrong with nachos, I just needed more.
This plate was $14 and while I don’t always mention the price in this blog, I do think it was significant as that is just way too much for twelve chips on a plate. We’re not in some fine dining restaurant, we’re in a pub and how much more would it cost them to put double the amount of chips on there for the same price? I don’t think that would eat into their profits and it would make you feel like you actually got something for your money.

The smiling friendly waitress came up to us a few minutes late when the plate was almost  empty and asked if we wanted a bit of a break before our mains came. I’m sure I had a look of incredulity on my face and just said no, please, bring them on out when they’re ready. I wanted to add “still starving” but I didn’t.
She took that plate while I was still eating the last bit. That’s another pet peeve of mine. I know they’re busy but please, just give me sixty seconds more … can’t they just wait until you’ve pushed the plate away before coming in and clearing it all up.

IMG_5730
When the mains came I was a little happier. My Jungle goat curry smelt delicious! I’m pretty sure I’ve not had goat before. I just wanted to take in the smell before I tucked into it. I could smell the wonderful aromatic Indian spices throughout. I’m not quite sure what “Jungle” goat is. Do we have jungles in Australia? Even so, it tasted delicious.

IMG_5731

There was a nice little punch of heat in the curry. I don’t normally like a lot of heat but this was just enough to warm the mouth without taking away the taste.

The goat tasted like a secondary cut of meat that had been cooking for a few hours. It was delicate and tender and really very delicious.

I got a nice little surprise when I tasted the rice as it had been cooked in coconut milk and when I had it with the curry it was just a perfect pairing. This dish made up for the nachos!
I also loved the coriander on top.

IMG_5729
Hubby had no complaints about his Calamari.

It was a good serve and the thing he loved the most about it was the sweet chilli, sesame & ginger dipping sauce.

He said it was delicious and a nice change from the usual tartar sauce you get with anything sea food related.

I can’t help but feel that I ordered better than him today! He enjoyed his meal and I guess if that’s what you want, then that’s what you should have but mine was definitely more special.

 

So bottom line, we didn’t have a terrible experience here but I don’t understand why they would charge restaurant prices for pub grub. Even though it was comfortable and the food tasted good, I felt like it was over priced and that alone would probably stop me from coming here again.

I do want to emphasise though, that the food was good and the wait staff were friendly. I don’t have any major complaints, as always, these were just my observations on the day.

 

Have you been to the Colonist?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!

Till next we chow…