Tuesday, June 21, 2011

[Holiday] Bamboo Restaurant, Santai Casuarina

Santai Resort
9 Dianelle Drive

When I go on holiday, I like to do online extensive research for I am a control freak -_-".

I want to stay comfortably within the budget and eat the best local food. Shopping is secondary activity. It is always about food, food and more food. Call me obsessive if you want.

I knew I was very much into food when all I can recall from my early travel memories were this and that I ate. I associate a place with food it is famous of; the likes of Sibu kanpua (dry toss noodles/kolomee), Kuching laksa (and Hungry Horse at one point for its mashed potatoes, urghhh to die for!! I wonder if its still there, I haven't been to Kuching in 20 years!! =X) and Singapore's cakes at Le Meridien (however food was mediocre some 30 years ago when it was barren of any international cuisine/food outlet and the hawker food can't even compare to Malaysia's offering).

Ah, I digress, I should be writing about Santai at Casuarina. Hmm, what do I make of it. Would I rate it as luxury like its website proclaimd to be and the 'award-winning' Bamboo Restaurant?

The apartments were exactly as pictured on the website, however, it was letdown by dirty balconies with worn-out rusty lounger with stained cushion.

As it was next to a reserve/forest/jungle, there were lots of creepy crawlies everywhere you turn and some made it inside the apartment. The price to pay for being so close to nature, haha. Princess and me found two spiders when we checked out the second bedroom where she will be sleeping. We screamed so hard, hehe, ahem, ahem. Luckily the resort was pretty empty when we were there. That must be why we were put in the BEST apartment.

elax room@Santai Casuarina

I will rate it as 4 star, nice and comfortable but far from 'luxury'.

Santai Casuarina is actually in Kingscliff, a little over an hour from Brisbane; down the road from the glitzier Salt village which house Mantra, Peppers and a block of restaurant with an IGA express at the end.

We drove into Kingscliff city centre first, looking for a bite to eat. Imagine our horror when we found out the little town is DEAD (on a Thursday), no nice restaurant/pizza place is opened. The only place open is some cafe and some takeaway possibly a fish and chip shop. Ah, so disappointed, I don't want cold sandwich or cold salad for lunch on holiday *sulk* I want REAL food.

So we drove over to check out Salt village and the stretch of restaurants, horror, horror, none were opened!!

Disgruntled on empty stomachs at 2.30pm, we made our way to Santai hoping to grab a bite at the resort.

More horror! The restaurant is not opened!! We ended up muching through chocolates and chips that I brought for TV snacks.

Imagine the sigh of relief when I found out the restaurant is opened for dinner so we went down for an early dinner at 5.30pm after beach play and a dip in the resort pool and spa.

Bamboo at Santai Casuarina

Duck dish @Bamboo Santai

Fish dish@Bamboo Santai

Kid's fish&chips@Bamboo Santai
Kid's fish and chips

heesecake@Bamboo Santai

Chcolate mousse@Bamboo Santai
Chocolate mousse with coffee jelly (ambiguous ring of cocoa powder)

As you can probably tell from the lack of descripton on the dishes, the memories were hazy. I can't remember what I ate. Duck was still pink but tough, fish was overcooked, the cheesecake gluey (from too much gelatine) and the chocolate mousse too sweet and a bit pedestrian.

The mains were lacking in flavours and the desserts below average. You can see from the chocolate mousse pic that the coffee jellies were not even cut properly. The mousse itself was very sweet and the meringue on top was worse, serious sugar overdose. The cheesecake on the other hand needed less gelatine and more sugar. The thing was tart but the topping of nuts and raspberry coulis/puree was tasty, eaten together, they are fine.

All in all, less than mediocre food. But the manager was attentive and informative (to be expected when there were only two tables the whole time we were there) which makes the whole dining experience bearable. I was skeptical and suspicious when he said they get very busy on friday and saturday nights.

Umm, good luck I hope they do well.

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