Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Palms $10 Lunch Menu

Critic Issue 21 - Food Column

Pumpkin Risotto

I have mixed feelings about The Palms Restaurant. Over the years, I’ve had several really good dishes but also several ‘so-so’ meals there. Still, The Palms has stayed on my ‘good’ list. So, when I heard about their $10 lunch menu, the prospect of having posh, cheap lunches was very appealing. My friends and I have lunched there twice and I have….mixed reviews.

Creme Brulee

Fish Cakes
At our first lunch, S had a delicious, elegant, beautifully balanced pumpkin risotto (it has a more elaborate description, but unfortunately, I neglected to record it) which she very generously shared with me because I was very disappointed with my order…and it was my birthday. You know you have a good friend if she’ll offer to swap half of her ‘something delicious’ for half of your ‘something bleh’. I, unluckily, ordered the ‘Fish and potato cakes infused with fennel, maryrose sauce and dressed greens’, which was altogether rather bland. We also indulged in an apricot (I think) crème brûlée with pistachio biscotti and a coconut and pineapple thing (the name escapes me, sorry!). The coconut and pineapple thing wasn’t bad but it was the crème brûlée that we had high hopes for because we once had a fantastic, luxuriously rich and smooth coffee crème brûlée here (for dinner). It (apricot crème brûlée) was pretty good, but not as luscious as that fabulous, coffee flavoured one.

Chicken Tortilla

Coconut and Pineapple Thing
Yesterday, on our second visit, I, thinking I couldn’t go wrong this time, ordered the ‘Rich tomato risotto, spicy chorizo and parmesan puff pastry twist’. I was wrong. I’ve had some amazing risotto in my time and this one was a little one dimensional in comparison. It was okay and wasn’t bland or anything like that but it didn’t have the depth of flavour that a risotto can have. S, two times lucky, had the ‘Chipotle braised chicken tortilla, cheese, capsicum, bean sprout salad and Greek yoghurt’, which was very, very good. The nicely sauced, succulent chicken pieces wrapped up in tortilla were not only incredibly tasty, but also beautifully presented. This time, I was not offered half of the ‘something delicious’!

Tomato Risotto

To be fair, I’m pretty sure I had higher expectations because it was The Palms, as opposed to any other normal restaurant in town with a $10 lunch menu. The portions were mid-sized, which is an understandable trade-off for the quality food and low price, and perfectly fine as an occasional treat. So you may be left wanting more if you only order a main, but that simply means you have room for some dessert after.
The Palms Restaurant
18 Queens Gardens

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