Food for thought

I’ve never thought I would make a good restaurant reviewer, despite the fact that I eat out quite a bit. That’s because I’m too busy eating. And reading or playing with my iPad if I’m on my own, or drinking and acting like a bit of a noisy dickhead when I’m with my friends.

Most times however it’s just my husband and me. We tend to frequent the same places, not because we lack any sense of adventure, but because we know we are guaranteed good food and excellent service.

After all, we’re paying for this.

So yesterday, on day one of our Christmas holidays at Broadbeach on the Gold Coast, we ventured out the mall. Perhaps that was our first mistake.

Now I love the mall in Broadbeach. Mainly because it’s where John Farnham filmed his “Two Strong Hearts” film clip, circa 1988, at the height of his mullet. Regular readers know that I would give up my second born for John Farnham. Mercifully I only have one child. And in 2012 it is no longer a requirement to sacrifice your child, no matter what you owe.

Feeling festive and full of the excitement that is a Gold Coast Christmas, we knew seafood was on the cards.

Before I go any further, let me set the scene. We had just arrived at the coast for a week’s holiday. The reality being that we wanted to have a relaxed Christmas sans rels.

I had put my cat into her “holiday home for cats” (there’s an oxymoron for you), triple checked I’d locked every window and door, whittled my shoes down to seven pairs, and packed both bikinis (for when I frolic solo) and 1920s style head-to-toe bathers (for when I frolic en masse).

We drove to the coast, checked into our room, got the white wine into the fridge and jumped around on our bed, only because it’s something I don’t allow at home.

In need of lunch, we set out to play our own version of the hunger games. This entails stopping outside every eatery and reading their menu and looking at each other. If one of us sneers ever so slightly, we move on. If one of us shrugs imperceptibly, we re-read the menu.

Eventually this process leads us to a place where we would be happy to pay money for food.

The place that scored the most shrugs was Max’s Seafood. Ever been there? Don’t waste your time. The place was half-full, drinks were still being handed around but as we approached the head waiter, we were told that the restaurant was closed.

It was 1.45pm on the Gold Coast on the Sunday before Christmas.

No, we couldn’t believe it either.

Not to be discouraged, we crossed the mall to another establishment boasting seafood, called Bugzie’s. That was our second mistake.

After standing around like shags on a rock for what seemed like forever but was probably three minutes, a condescending waitress of Aryan appearance with an incredibly thick Polish accent showed us to a table.

Failing to understand “pinot gris” we pointed to the wording on the menu and were rewarded with two glasses of buttery Chardonnay. Regardless, it was alcohol and I needed a drink.

Picked the glass up by the stem – because that’s how I drink white wine because I’m dead posh – and nearly dropped it because it was searingly hot. Miss World Aryan 2012 had no doubt ripped the glasses out of the 2000 degree dishwasher and merrily poured. Needless to say, the wine was warm, but again, it was alcohol and I needed a drink.

My husband took the uncomplicated and undoubtedly smart route of ordering fish and chips. He had sussed the place out and figured the path of least resistance was the best path.

I’m not as cluey. The seafood mornay harking back to 1978 was shrieking at me and I had to oblige. I asked the waitress what seafood was in it, not because I am allergic to anything, it was more to test the possibility of getting excited.

She said she would check. Twenty minutes later she came back and said that it contained – wait for it – seafood and mornay.

No shit Sherlock.

I asked if I could get some rice with it and, after miming ancient Chinese women in large hats bent over double, she understood what I meant.

When our food eventually arrived, my meal was sans the side-salad of rocket and sun-dried tomato the menu had promised. The chef, being the genius he clearly is, had assumed that I would have rice in lieu of salad.

And that’s why he cooks at a mediocre Broadbeach mall café, I would assume.

To be fair, it tasted pretty good. There was nothing wrong with that cheese sauce and the seafood was poached inside beautifully. And my second glass of wine, again after much miming, turned out to be both cold and pinot gris.

My husband, being the wiser one in this marriage, again opted for the smarter route and had a beer. In a bottle.

We stayed in that night. Grilled cheese on toast looking at the surf. And not a Chardonnay in sight.

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