Multiple apologies for being so awful in writing any recent reviews. We still have been eating and commenting (to ourselves) a lot about foods in Townsville, Cairns and have even recently travelled to Japan for more food adventures (who we have Mark Weins at migrationology.com to thank for the food advice, and Nami Chan at justonecookbook for her travel tips – if you’re travelling to Japan, definitely check them out!).
But hopefully this hiatus has finished as there is still much need to Nth QLD for purely Nth QLD food blog reviews! So I hope to be snapping pictures whenever we go out and eat again!
Today’s post is about a little-known restaurant that NEEDS to be talked about in Townsville. It’s name – Celsius Restaurant. In all honesty, we initially went because of the Entertainment Book buy 1 get 1 free (Celsius has been in the entertainment book for years!). So we’ve gone about 5-6 times now and every time the food menu has changed and still been GREAT.
Before I start, a little bit on the restaurant itself:
Situated in Mercure Townsville Hotel, the spacious restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating. Indoors there’s plenty of space between diners with views of the poolside through full-length windows. There’s a nice-looking bar, yellow lighting and calm music. Outdoors, you’re right next to the poolside and tropical palm trees, reminding you that you truly are in Tropical QLD. Candlelights just tick off the calming surroundings.
The vibe of the restaurant is elegant yet relaxing, with a mix of well-dressed business folk to casual family tourists. Rarely have we seen it full, therefore it’s also a great place for conversation.
The food – classic Modern-Australian celebrating great fish, poultry, beef and lamb.
The staff are generally attentive, friendly and do food service like fine-dining should be done.
The location is possibly what causes it to be not as popular as it would be if it were on Palmer or Flinder’s St. That said, Woolcock St. pretty much in between to the City and the Uni, so not much a distance to travel if you were living at either end.
We decided to sit outside this time. The winds were cool, and even though it was dusk, neither of us were bitten by mosquitoes.
The menu look has changed since we last saw it (which we likey very much!). There’s definitely something for everyone in this Modern-Australian menu. They even have a (maybe) monthly special set of an international-style main and dessert set to celebrate different cultures. This month was China with a Chicken Chow Mien and Chinese-style steamed custard dessert (our opinion of noodles and chicken for $35 was a bit pricey though….).
They also have a wine and cocktail menu which hubs didn’t think too much of as there were no years next to the wines.
They include Gluten, Dairy-Free and Vegetarian options, and have a handy schematic for us food allergy/intolerant people to feel included.
Our first choice was the Entree of Grilled Scallops with XO sauce, bacon and Mizuna which we shared.
For about $5/scallop, it’s definitely on the pricey side. That said, as you can see, scallops in it’s shell presented in a bed of sea salt was elegant and inviting. The scallops themselves were incredibly fresh and well-cooked, still nice and warm when we devoured them. The sauce together with fried bacon was salty with a hint of spice which complemented the scallops perfectly. Overall a beautiful entree as it left us wanting more!
When it came to the mains we couldn’t look over the “Summer Signature” dishes – and when i nosily looked around, most people were ordering the same thing! What a brilliant idea to celebrate the tropical season with tropical-inspired mains!!
Hubs couldn’t go pass the Land Meets Sea which promised an array of proteins of beef cheek, bug, prawns and speck. He was very hungry and given the description of so much food (and the price of $49), we were expecting a mountain – hence momentary panic when we saw a fellow diner get served a small hill instead.
I chose the other “Summer Special” – Grilled FNQ Barramundi – who can go past a mango and lychee salso?
After a close to 45min wait between our entree and mains (note that the wait has been consistently about this long), we were happy to see hubs got a bigger hill of protein than expected. Something also to add – the presentation of both dishes were beautiful and mouth-watering – a fantastic start.
Firstly, the Land Meets Sea – hubs described it as a “full protein dish” with about 3 baby carrots as your only vegetable relief. His favourite part was the speck and chevre (goats cheese) croquettes which were crispy on the outside and a soft and moist interior. The overriding taste was potato which was well-seasoned. “I have nothing to complain about the croquettes” stated a happy man.
The beef cheeks were well-cooked, nice and tender but could have been better seasoned. The prawns were “okay” – fresh, well-cooked, but a bit on the small side. His biggest disappointment were the bugs which were abit mushy, thanks to either being not fresh or over-cooked. Baby carrots were well-cooked with nice burnt tips. All was complemented with a chimichurri butter sauce which tied the whole dish together, complementing both beef and seafood. An overall “6/10” for the dish.
My FNQ Grilled Barramundi was a nicely balanced dish, although also slightly lacking in vegetables. The fish itself was very fresh and the flesh well-cooked. The skin looked like there was an attempt at crispy-skin, but instead was partially crispy, partially chewy skin that was well-seasoned. The lack of crispiness led me to actually turn my fish meat-side up so I could cut it better (so crispy-skin snobs be warned!).
The fish was on a bed of beautifully-cooked coconut rice pilaf, with lovely herbs through it. The rice was well-cooked – not too soft, not too hard – with the fragrant smell and taste of coconut that complemented both the fish and mango and lychee salsa that surrounded the rice. The mango and lychee salsa was my hero. It tied everything together and is honestly pure genius – tropical, sweet salsa with coconut and fish – yummz!! My vegetables were 3 stalks of well-cooked asparagus which again, paired well with the meal. Lastly, crispy wontons – the crispy in the meal that the skin did not deliver. Yes – CRISPY! With a ?seafood filling which was a bit spicy, well seasoned and delicious.
An 8/10 dish for me, with mango and lychee salsa saving the uncrispy skin.
We didn’t have dessert there although the sounds of “Leatherwood Honey Cake” and “White Chocolate Lamington” did sound tempting.
Both mains left us feeling full and satisfied (but not bloated) – which is what we’re after at a nice restaurant.
So overall, it was a lovely date. Great and relaxed conversation in a beautiful ambience and delicious food if you have the money for it (I recommend getting the Entertainment Book!). Just be aware of the longish wait for your food – so don’t come too hungry!
So in a Nutshell:
Value for money: 3/5
Thanks for reading! Do check this place out 🙂 Until next time!