Meanwhile … still back in Mackay

6.31pm, Spence Street internet, Cairns, FNQ, Australia
That’s the jobs for FNQ finished folks, first up on the local radio station 4CA with John Mackenzie this morning for Wazza (from Cellebrations in two Cairns locations!) and his wine of the week. We squeezed in two wines actually – the Y Riesling and the 2009 Cigar from Coonawarra.

***And we were on Pt Douglas radio 101.7 FM on Tuesday with Kim Hurley somewhere between Townsville and Bowen when we talked about the Yalumba lunch at Salsa – thanks Kim – especially as you’re all up to your ears in the ‘Carnivale’ celebrations up there right now.

The other job was a consumer tasting in the Salthouse private dining room – very sharp best of Australia and the world’s wines around the walls, with a spectacular view straight out past the bar to the wide open ocean. They did a series of canapes with our all star Rare & Fine wine cast, and we had a verry happy group of local folk on our hands when I left around 5.30pm! Thanks for the support Salthouse, and Happy 2nd Birthday for this weekend.

But yes – back in MACKAY – seems like forever ago, but it was only TUESDAY 24th MAY – Consumer Dinner at BURP restaurant.

Back in Mackay for our second dinner with the Connors clan at Burp. I’m not going to drag out a dish-by-dish review folks – even though I should. This restaurant could be picked up complete and winged anywhere in the world and they would hold their own on all fronts – and it still tickles me to find it firing on all 8 cylinders in its own cool corner of Mackay. But I am going to mention two of things that Beau sent out.

THE PRESSED DUCK! It was sensational, with a fibrous crust topped with fresh berries and surrounded by big forest mushrooms. It was a really neat alternative to a lot of the pork belly dishes that we’re seeing, and not a morsel went back into the kitchen on those plates.

THE SPECK WRAPPED RABBIT! Another really creative and flavourburst winter dish on a bed of tasty fresh veges. Looked good, tasted good, and was really good for you!

We had a comedian – Robert – come up from Byron Bay and do a 45-minute set after the wine combos were all done. The highlight had to be his version of Olivia Newton John’s “Let’s Get Physical’ – only with a heavy duty Byron twist “Let’s Get Metaphysical” with sitar accompaniment. Yep – I said sitar. Never a dull moment at the “Yalumba visits Burp” night in Mackay! Good to see Graeme back from recording the new album in Sydney, and thanks to Lyn, Adrian and Jules for organising everything; Craig for sorting the wine side out, and Damo for coming up from Brisbane for it. It’s a big family affair up there folks, and we love ’em!

PS Thanks Mackay Reef – Jane – for taking a table two years in a row. If you need fish, prawns or crabs, folks, they’re the people to see. Not just any old prawns either – tiger, king, banana, coral and endeavour swimmers! And for local reef fish they’ve got them all – Red Emperor, 3 line rock cod and all 3 Snappers – Saddle tail, Goldband and Crimson. We’ll have to take our rods out and try our luck next trip.

See ya then! And thanks Mackay again!

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