Testimonials & Reviews
ATE14 – Testimonial
Tourism and Events Queensland engaged Ochre to cater for 1 800 guests at the ‘Welcome to Queensland’ event for the Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) in May 2014. The Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) is Tourism Australia’s largest and most important travel trade show held annually in Australia. In May 2014 ATE was held in Cairns, the first time in 35 years this event has been held outside a capital city. The ‘Welcome’ event was held at the Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal, Craig and his team at Ochre provided an extensive menu that catered for the many nationalities attending the event and delivered this creative menu superbly with themed food stations that showcased local produce. Craig worked with us on all aspects of the event delivery to ensure the highest quality of food and beverage and excellent service was delivered and maintained throughout the event. Ochre worked very well with other contractors to the event including the theme and AV company, venue management and our TEQ team. The many years of experience Craig has in delivering offsite events for large numbers in north Queensland was tested with wet weather and other incidents which Craig and his team handled smoothly and effectively.
The team at Ochre were extremely professional in all aspects of the event planning and delivery, our guests praised the catering and the excellent service of the ‘Welcome’ event and I think many were surprised and delighted at the quality of catering and service we were able to provide for such a large group in an off-site, regional location. I would highly recommend Ochre to any event planner requiring off site catering and can be contacted to confirm this testimonial.
The service and food was fantastic!! Joel and I couldn’t fault anything and there were a lot of compliments regarding the food from our guests, particularly for the delicious canapés. Your team are fantastic, please pass on our thanks to all the staff from Saturday night.
Kind regards, Nicole and Joel.
Hi Craig – wanted to say a HUGE thank you on behalf of the team. You guys were fantastic – and everyone loved the food.
Giant thanks from us all – you helped make it a wonderful evening. Hope the rest of your 20th year pans out well & very much appreciate the collaboration.
Regards to you,
Belinda Griffin | Marketing & Promotions Officer
Tanks Arts Centre
THANK YOU for all your hard work and commitment in the lead up to the Price Attack event and of course during the dinner on Sunday evening. You and your team have been an integral part of the success of the Price Attack 2014 Gala Dinner.
The feedback we received has been excellent. Having never worked with you before obviously meant there was an element of uncertainty. But everyone in Cairns told me you are the BEST in the business. I’m happy to say the experience has been very positive and I would certainly not hesitate in calling you again should an opportunity arise.
Thank you again. Stay well and enjoy providing great food for many wonderful events, you are very good at it.
Hi Ochre Team,
We had a dinner party here at my house on Friday night, It was the retirement dinner for Roy Payne and 17 diners in total.
I just want to let you know that it was fantastic! It was a lovely chance to have the workmates around to dinner as we don’t have the chance to socialise with partners etc. and the whole night was made fabulous by the wonderful catering by Ochre.
The two girls , Mel and Bec were very friendly, efficient and food was great.
It was a wonderful dinner party and I would like you to pass on my thanks to the Ochre team and the girls involved, kitchen was spotless (only complaint was no leftovers!!)
Thank you once again, Lea Ovaska and Doug McKinstry.
We just wanted to say a BIG thank you for Saturday night. It was a great night, the food was amazing and Matty and Rebecca were absolutely fantastic. Mum had a great night, thank you for helping us make her 50th Birthday so very special and a night we will be talking about for years to come.
Again, Thank You
Thanks so much for catering our wedding. The food and service was fantastic, totally exceeded our expectations. All the staff did such a wonderful job, we felt so special, the moment I thought about a drink someone was there with a glass or topping it up and the food was perfect. No one went hungry and Joe is still dreaming about the pork belly. Thanks so much for contributing to my dream wedding, it was truly a magic day.
Wanted to thank you and your team for a great job. The food was fantastic, and the guys did an amazing job making sure the event went well. They really went above and beyond, helping out wherever it was needed to ensure everybody had the best time possible. They are a credit to themselves as well as an amazing asset to your brand. The only hiccup of the night was when a friend sat on and broke a glass coffee table, there were lots of bare feet etc and although nothing to do with your guys, they raced in and basically took over the clean up effort.
My two adult sons and I dined at Ochre the night before the wedding and again what a brilliant experience. The food and wine were magnificent and the service was perfect. I generally find the level of service we offer in Cairns to be an embarrassment (with remarkably few exceptions) so it was such a delight to be so well looked after.
Again many thanks
Craig and his team were amazing. From the very first email, Craig was extremely helpful, answering all of my questions thoroughly and promptly and made organising from interstate easy. The food and the service was absolutely fantastic, high quality, great value for money, such professionals.
Nicole – Ellis Beach Yacht Club Wedding
Just wanted to say thank you again to you and your staff for all the efforts on Saturday! You somehow managed to run the event so smoothly in between all the disorderliness of the guests – apologies again for their behaviour. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the food and appreciated the kind and friendly service of your staff. Personally, I really appreciate all the behind-the-scenes hours you have put in and how accommodating you have been with our unexpected circumstances this year.
Many thanks again!!
On behalf of ICMS Australasia I am writing to thank Ochre for their participation in the ASBA 2013 conference. We well know the last thing the delegates will remember will be the final dinner and the food and what a memory you helped us to create.
This was a 4 year project and a professional and personal highlight, watching the delegates all 750 on the wharf as they arrived was amazing. Our clients were absolutely thrilled to bits which is the true indicator of success.
Every element of our vision for this event was executed professionally and with the highest customer service. All had a drink and food in hand before the fireworks even started truly remarkable, the food was superb and the choice of wine excellent.
Craig thank you for sharing this journey with us, it was a hard road to hoe at times with a lot of first time evers. I know how hard you worked on this production with me.
We will be sure to include you in the final Ezine communication being despatched next Tuesday, please feel free to check out the photo library we have some excellent function images and we are only too happy share if you would like any of them.
I can’t thank you and your team enough for the fantastic conference dinner.
The venue looked amazing, there seemed to be staff everywhere!! And food was awesome.
The set and theming were outstanding and I was delighted every time I queued.
Gudju Gudju were fabulous! So unique!
Craig, from my point of view as conference manager I can’t thank you enough for how easy you made this whole gig – coordinating all the necessary service providers.
I guess that is one advantage of being based in Cairns, and how the Business and Events network collaborates.
I was also totally confident I could rely on you and this was one area I would not need to follow up all the time!
5th SNAICC National Aboriginal Child and Family Services Conference
Again, I just wanted to thank you and your team for putting on such a fabulous day for us. The reception was absolutely amazing, it exceeded everything that we had hoped for. The food was delicious, the setting looked so beautiful and your staff were wonderful! There were a few sore heads the next day but the most common comment was that it was the best wedding that they have ever been to. Thanks for making it happen for us, we truly had such a great night.
Amanda and Andrew
Just wanted to say that the farewell dinner last week was excellent, India was the best and the food, wine and ambiance was all just the ticket.
See you in September
I just wanted to send a quick note on the professional service of the staff last night while thoroughly enjoying the tasting menu. Having clients up from Sydney I always know that Ochre provides consistently high quality meals and service to match . Please pass on to all the staff involved that when my company is trying to impress our clients we can always count on Ochre restaurant to deliver.
Just to let you know how enjoyable our dinner was with our friends yesterday at your restaurant – 10/10 for glorious food (steak, pork and chicken – the pavlova, Crème brûlée, the Tasi wine) the service and staff.
I hear that you dished again some green ants – sorry I missed the tasting, dam.
A big thank-you is long overdue. You (combined with Brock’s generosity) really turned the Dioxin2012 gala dinner into an unforgettable event. We have received heaps of emails from enthusiastic people telling us about the great time they had. I remember when I walked into your office you sparkled with ideas…. – and you delivered every bit of it. What an awesome treat.
Thanx so much and hope to visit again when I am up there next,
Jochen and Caroline
The Dioxin conference has been held annually for 32 years.
This year’s banquet was by far the best.
It was the highlight of the conference.
The food was fabulous.
The refreshments were perfect.
The decorations, lighting and staging were beautiful.
The entertainment was great, and,
The entire evening flowed so seamlessly.
You and your excellent staff did a marvelous job.
Thank you again and again and again….
Nicole and Brock
Thank-you so much for organising the ‘Gala in the rainforest’ conference dinner. What a marvelous job…. awesome venue preparation…. amazing food…. and what a perfect program covering for all ages and ‘cultures’. It was really pure perfection. Also your team was just exceptional…. friendly and always there when you needed them.
Most importantly …. Brock and Nicole loved it and I have had only had outstanding feedback.
Hope to keep in touch and catch up with you for a drink when we visit Cairns again….
Jochen – Dioxin 2012 Conference – Tanks Art Centre
I don’t know how to thank you and all your staff for such spectacular wedding catering…..everything was more than we could have hoped for.
Your staff were so efficient and so nice to everyone – you should be very proud of what you have.
Whitfield House Wedding
I wanted to send you a follow up email after your sensational catering for our wedding.
We would both like to thank you for the work you and your staff did for us. During the lead up to the wedding I found you to be one of the easiest people to deal with among all the companies we chose to work with. Your communication was always clear, direct and forthcoming. It was truly appreciated.
We received so many comments about the food you provided: the majority of which proclaimed the food as the best of any wedding ever attended. It was lovely to hear so many people so happy.
Your staff did a fantastic job also. They were all so friendly, efficient and professional. Please pass on our special thanks to the lovely lady who seemed to be the senior wait staff member? She did a great job of keeping everything running smoothly and keeping me updated with what was happening throughout the evening.
We couldn’t be happier with the quality of service and food provided to us by yourself and your staff from start to finish of this process, so thank you once again. It was an absolute pleasure to have worked with you.
Read what Sydney event company, Eventful said about their Cairns Cruise Terminal event.
Cool cruising at the Cairns Terminal
Cairn’s rather cool new Cruise Terminal venue is an event producers delight. Keen to move beyond the more regular convention centre, Eventful opted to hold a gala dinner at the terminal for 400 guests.
Cairns, in need of a central offsite venue, can be justifiably proud of a space that rivals Australian capital cities. Located on Trinity Inlet, the terminal is the official cruising port for far north Queensland. It now doubles as a centrally located event space just a few minutes walk from most Cairns hotels.
The heritage listed wharf shed, over 100 years old has recently been converted, maintained and improved upon. Its wonderful historic features have been artfully showcased including exposed timber frameworks, over sized doors and now 930m2 of polished concrete flooring.
With access available from four sides, ample power, loads of rated rigging points and an outdoor area with sea breezes and water views over the inlet… it’s one of the finest blank canvases around to play with… and play we did.
The Eventful team created a SHOWTIME roving dinner event. Guests transitioned between restaurant areas serving a multitude of cuisine offerings including Asian, fresh seafood, Italian and sushi made to order… each identified with unique and individual theming. Throughout the terminal Eventful installed bars, lounges, roving performances and the SHOWTIME stage entertaining guests throughout the night.
Working with Ochre Catering and Ward Benedict theming made the whole event a seamless and impeccable experience. We are pleased to be able to recommend both suppliers for your next event.
Just wanted to pass on a MASSIVE THANK YOU to you and your team on organizing an amazing feed at our recent Mali Mali function.
The food was awesome, your staff were great! All the guests were blown away with everything! Was truly a successful and amazing night.
Once again – THANK YOU!!!!
Marketing coordinator Cairns Airport
I would like to take the opportunity to sincerely thank and re iterate my satisfaction from a dining experience that I enjoyed Tuesday evening.
It was the second time I had been a customer of Ochre and trust me I had no qualms in returning. Attentive and wonderfully pleasant wait staff made me feel most comfortable as a solo diner. And from observation I was certainly not the only one receiving such marvellous service.
Followed promptly by divine meals and may I say possibly the best panna cotta I have eaten.
It is a wonderful delight and truly acknowledged the difference that great service and meals make a diners experience.
Thank you. I will surely continue my recommendation to any persons visiting Cairns to make a dining experience at Ochre a high priority. Till next time (I will persevere in replicating that panna cotta), keep up the top job team.
Jake Stewart – cafe manager
Now that I have recovered from Race Day and returned refreshed from a holiday, just wanted to say a big thank you to yourself and your crew.
The Race Day was such a fantastic event this year with just over $73,000 being raised for the Leukemia Foundation. I did not expect to reach this total given the economic climate but Cairns just keeps surprising me.
Thank you to you for the high standard of catering on our day…your staff were all brilliant and there were no hiccups at all. I have received several comments from guests re the quality of the food and how they thought everything ran well.
I also appreciated the fact that tables were being cleared by your crew as needed..this saved my volunteers a lot of time at the end of the day when we had to pack away the tables and chairs etc in the pavilion.
It was an absolute pleasure to work with you again Craig…as it has been over the past four years, and I look forward to being able to do so again in the not too distant future.
Berni McKean | Events & Branch Manager
Cairns & District Branch Leukemia Foundation
Just wanted to send you and all your staff a great big ‘thank you’ for all your effort in assisting to organise our wedding day.
Everything went to plan, on time, without fuss, and we were extremely happy with everything the day. The food was wonderful and I am still hearing about how fantastic it all was from our guests, that there was plenty to go round and how delicious the canapés were (big credits for the duck spring rolls, my favourite, Yum!). Your staff present that evening were well prepared and extremely organised and everyone had a great time thanks to them.
It has been an absolute pleasure to deal with such a professional business and we would highly recommend Ochre in the future, just as you were recommended to us.
Thanks again for everything!
Darcy and Belinda Woodburn
Just wanted to let you know that the food was absolutely fantastic, everyone enjoyed the selections and Nicole did a brilliant job.
We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Ochre as a fantastic caterer.
Just wanted to express my thanks to yourself and team for a great gala dinner last Thursday.
Your staff were amazing, totally efficient, friendly, helpful and the umbrella walk way at the end of the evening, just made the night.
The quality of the food that you produced from that little tent was also great and we have had some very positive feedback.
You totally exceeded my expectations and I really appreciate all your hard work and efforts from your team that went into making it such a great night.
Thanks again Craig, look forward to working with you again next time we are in Cairns.
Managing Director The Management Group Vic
The food and your staff were fabulous. Both staff and guests had a great evening…… Thank you for asking!
Our compliments to you and your staff on a great meal on Friday night. The food was fantastic and the staff were attentive and everyone here at work were super impressed with everything.
Thanks again and Merry Christmas to you and your family.
Thanks for everything last night. The food was fabulous and not one complaint from anyone! YEAH. Lots of variety, plenty to eat, wonderful comments just the weather was too hot to eats lots and lots……..Getting you in to do the main course was the best decision – freed me up to organise all the Survivor games for the night and be with our guests.
The night was a complete success thanks to your wonderful canapes . We still have staff & clients raving about the calamari skewers and the char sui pork with grilled scallops.
Please also pass on my thanks to the wait staff they were fantastic.
Angela Veschetti – Westpac
Thank you very much for catering for our NQ Solar Christmas Party on Saturday night. It was a great and seamless night, thanks to the catering professionalism of Ochre. I have received a stream of compliments about the food and staff. Your staff were extremely professional, very friendly, calm and efficient. I was extremely impressed, particularly with Justine and Amanda.
The food was exquisite and of exceptionally high quality and standard, all my guests thoroughly enjoyed the menu.
You have certainly maintained and exceeded your excellent standards I have experienced at other events in Cairns. We would highly recommend you to anyone on your services.
Janet here from Foremans.
And also, thanks to your staff who did such a marvelous job on Friday at our home. They were excellent. I also have the fruit platter and some cheese knives to return.
The dinner was beautiful last night – we had great comments back about the food and the wine. It was also good to see the venue and the options available for events.
Can you pass on a big “Thanks You” to all the staff that looks after us last night.
Head of Business Events
Business Events Cairns & Great Barrier Reef
Congrats on the total success of last night.
All of your staff were brilliant, totally friendly yet still maintained the professional approach.
The food blew me away … it far far far exceeded my expectations. The timing of the trays coming out was perfect. It wasn’t like a production line, it was as if the revellers were being observed and your staff knew EXACTLY when the time was right … brilliant …
I’ll pass the word around about the excellent service from Ochre.
Cathie Pearse | Administration Co-Ordinator
Douglas Partners Pty Ltd
Please pass onto Craig that we had a great night, food was beautiful and everyone was raving about it. The wait staff were great, very calm and did a wonderful job.
Thanks for accommodating for all the food allergies, I think they all got there in the end and it worked out well.
Thanks again for all of your help and correspondence, all paid off and it was a beautiful wedding.
Will be in touch when we get other friends to do the same – this time we can sit back and enjoy.. !
Lauren and Mitch
My team won the Best Theme for the recent Leukemia Foundation Car Rally to Cooktown and thereby won your sponsorship $300 gift voucher.
Consequently, I need to congratulate you not only on your charitable support but also on the most excellent dining we received at your restaurant on Saturday night. Everything was first class including the service. In fact, we were so impressed with the dinner that I felt you should know. After 25 years of dining around Cairns, this dinner has shot to the top of my list of best meals ever in Cairns – and am touting it to anyone who listens!!
Again, thank you.
Green is good – and tastes good too!
Craig is one of the chefs featured in this fantastic new publication “Green Food Generation” by hayden wood. Check out the article and if you would like to purchase a copy contact the restaurant. Ph: 0740581011 or ua.mo1419022452c.tna1419022452ruats1419022452ererh1419022452co@of1419022452ni1419022452
Read the Article
Great Gourmet Weekends in Australia
Ochre Restaurant is the must-go-to restaurant for corporate types. It has won many national awards since it was established in 1994 and chef Craig Squire is in demand around the world by chefs keen to learn more about Australian food flavourings and how to use them in contemporary dishes.
Read more | See the Book’s cover
The Travelling Texan’s Blog – March 2010
Billed as a Modern Australian Restaurant, and winner of Restaurant of the Year 2008 from the Australia Culinary Federation, Ochre Restaurant promised a plethora of new flavors to tantalize our palate and set our expectations high – and they were exceeded.
Restaurant & Catering Australia – July 2009
Sourcing local food is one of the mantras of running a sustainable restaurant, but that can seem challenging when you’ve got limited local produce. Craig Squire of Ochre rose to the challenge—and has created something unique. Lucy Robertson reports
CITY LIFE MAGAZINE FOOD REVIEW – June 2009
Words by Tanya Bird
As locals we all know Ochre is something pretty special and the fact it has been serving unforgettable food for the last 15 years only proves this.
Sorry for not responding sooner – we left last Thursday and have just arrived home from our honeymoon.
Please accept a huge thanks from both us and our guests for everything from Ochre on our wedding day – couldn’t have been happier with the setting and the food was nothing short of superb (and there was plenty of it!).
We would really appreciate it if you could pass on a special thanks to your food/bev wait staff on the night for being so attentive to us and our guests. We were really impressed with how pleasant and friendly they were, and we really did appreciate the fact that they tirelessly trudged across the beach to bring us our drinks and canapes! We also had a heap of people say how great they were – so thanks very much.
We’ll head to the bank tomorrow or Thursday to transfer the invoice amount to your account. Please let us know if you ever need someone to sing your praises, and we’ll see if we get a few good photos of the venue to email through to you.
Thanks again for helping us have a magic day.
Pete & Barbs
Lyall and I would like to sincerely thank you, Craig and all the staff at Ochre for helping to make our wedding very special. The food was fantastic and the wait staff were very helpful, friendly and professional. It was a wonderful night and we will be recommending Ochre to anyone that asks us. Lyall and I will have to come down to Ochre for a meal very soon.
I just wanted to say a big thanks to you and all of your staff for a fantastic time on saturday. The food was beautiful and everyone was so helpful and lovely. A special thank you to Anne Maree.. she was absolutely fantastic!
Thank you for the invoice and thank you for the excellent service and food at the wedding at Sanctuary Palm Cove on 20 September 2008. We had the best time at our wedding and in no small part because of the quality of the food and service.
Kind regards, Nieva
Dear chef’s and floor staff at Ochre
I too would like to express my sincere gratitude for being able to experience the fine food you serve in such a relaxed and efficient restaurant. It is a very rare occasion that I enjoy a meal this much. Sure we have some great restaurants in Melbourne, but they all seem to be missing the ‘wow’ factor that your restaurant has. Also, I think it’s wonderful that your restaurant has been going for so many years now.
I’m really looking forward to my next visit to Cairns and to your fine restaurant.
Thank you once again.
Advancement Associate for Events and Special Projects Trinity College The University of Melbourne
Dear Chef (s) and staff
Just wanted to thank you for a great night, last Thurs 16th Oct. Wonderful food and wine selection, an impressive floor staff who made our night with their service. Keep up the great work – we are supposedly from the food capital of Australia but you knocked spots off some of the local haunts down here. Shame we had to leave the day you were launching the new menu !
See you next time.
Senior Consultant – Accounting & Finance THE BROOKLYN GROUP Pty Ltd
Local seafood and native ingredients have top billing at this elegant spot that specializes in bush dining. Try the Australian antipasto platter of emu pâté, crocodile wontons, and smoked salmon for starters, followed by kangaroo sirloin with quandong-chili glaze. Some dishes have a Pacific Rim flavor, like the tea-smoked duck with mango or the twice-cooked pork. Red Ochre’s signature dessert, wattle seed Pavlova with Davidson plum sorbet, makes a fine finish; or you can linger and sip a glass of Australian wine while nestled into a violet velvet booth.
High Life 1998 British Airways Magazine
Kangaroo meat is delicious, nutritious thank goodness we’ve gone back to our past to find and tastier future.
Gourmet Traveler 2006 Australian Restaurant
One of the longest-established restaurants in the region, Ochre is the darling of the tourist world, specializing in the local, tropical and native cuisine which seems to be of particular interest to overseas visitors.
Courier-Mail Goodlife Restaurant Guide 2006
Ochre put a modern spin on dishes fashioned from emu, kangaroo and crocodile. This makes it a hit with the thousands of tourists that wing their way into North Queensland each year hoping for a taste of the outback.
You could accuse this restaurant of using weird and wonderful Aussie ingredients as a gimmick to pull in crowds, but the diners who have flocked here for the past decade or so know good food when they taste it. Daily specials are big on fresh local seafood, and the regular menu — which changes often — lets you devour the Aussie coat of arms in several different ways. Try salt-and-native-pepper crocodile and prawns with Vietnamese pickles and lemon aspen sambal, char grilled kangaroo sirloin with a quandong chilli glaze, sweet potato fritter, and bok choy. It’s slick enough for a big night out but still informal enough for a casual meal.
Courier-Mail Goodlife Restaurant Guide 05
In May 2004 it benefited from a facelift, giving it a more contemporary feel. It’s a landmark, and a favourite of locals, foodies and tourists alike. Pioneering the native cuisine scene back in the ’90s, Ochre made its name making emu, crocodile and kangaroo taste delicious.
Neoteric Australian cuisine is the focus of Red Ochre Grill’s sensational menu, incorporating Australian bush foods in innovative, exciting dishes. Menu changes seasonally, as different fresh produce become available. A must try!
Tripadvisor.com May 10, 2008
Very good at lunch – love the house salad, decent fries, prawn meat on sugar cane sticks, platters for two. Friendly but not overwhelming service. Air conditioning, banquette, perfect for a business or relaxed meal.
Polyglot APA Guide
Best 10 Australian Dining Experience’s.
This is destination restaurant for local and international visitors to Cairns. With very well respected chef Craig Squire in the kitchen, cooking with indigenous ingredients including kangaroo and emu, the menu is intelligent and beautifully flavored. A thoughtful wine list offers diners a guide to eating in harmony with the chosen bottle. Bookings are suggested in this must visit destination in Cairns.
Lonely Planet Guides
Cairns best fine dining..desserts worth moving to Cairns for
World Traveller Publications..2008
This is one “very special” restaurant with amazing cuisine..When in Cairns’ one should have at least one meal here, but be advised, one is never enough
Food Review – Words by Janessa Ekert
Setting: Situated in the busy city centre Ochre Restaurant is a popular destination for both lunch and dinner. I’d heard a great deal about this particular restaurant, and if the food was even half as good as the reputation preceding it then I knew I was in for a treat. Ochre is renowned for producing the epitome of Australian cuisine. Owner and executive chef, Craig Squire has created this reputation by keeping his focus and ingredients local, whether it’s the local cheeses and meats, or the fresh seafood and Australian game.
Upon arriving, Jacqui and I were led inside by restaurant manager Amy. The open plan of the establishment allowed for a fresh breeze, however avoiding the winter chill. The decor was refreshing and warm. I felt it exuded the sophistication of fine dining, coupled with the comfortable and friendly atmosphere only found at home.
Drinks: We each decided on a glass of Stella Bella Sauvignon Blanc ($9 or $40 per bottle). The wine had a beautiful flavour, completely avoiding that overly sweet aftertaste. We sat, enjoying the taste as we perused the extensive menu, which boasts a large variety of Australian game.
Entree: It took quite a while and various suggestions before we each decided on a seafood dish. Jacqui selected the bay bug tails and prawn mousseline, with watermelon rind and dessert lime salsa and crisp noodle ($24), while I, deciding to be more adventurous, chose the salt and native pepper crocodile and prawns, Vietnamese pickles and lemon aspen sambal (entree $22, main $33). The food was amazing. The herbs and spices chosen to accompany our selected dishes complemented each to perfection. Although there was an intricate combination of flavours, each was clearly distinguishable from the next.
Main: After the success of our entrée’s, Jacqui and I were eager to see what culinary delight our mains would turn out to be. As we sat, enjoying the ambiance of the evening, I was intoxicated by the rich flavours filling the air as we awaited our mains. I selected roast duck breast with confit leg, Asian green salad, coupled with a Davidson plum and sambal sauce ($32). Jacqui followed in my partners footsteps by choosing the ‘Terrarosa’ MSA beef tenderloin, with sweet miso eggplant, rosti potato and a star anise butter sauce with watercress ($35). We were also advised by our waiter Suriya to try the Ochre salad ($15). The salad was a meal on its own, generous in size and simply delectable. We almost forgot to start on our mains… almost. The duck was prepared two different ways, one part oven roasted while the other was slow cooked for hours. Both were mouth-watering. The beef was melt in your mouth quality, while the combination of additional flavours won’t be forgotten any time soon.
Dessert: I ended the night with the macadamia baklava ($15), while Jacqui tossed between an ultimate indulgence in the chocolate slut or the quandong pie ($15). She settled on the latter. While both our choices were delicious, neither of us could finish either, being extremely full from our previous meals.
The night was a huge success. Ochre has the perfect atmosphere for any type of get together, with a sectioned of area perfect for a private function. The décor is chic and elegant, offering both inside and alfresco dining, along with a fully licensed bar filled with the finest Australia has to offer. A compliment to the establishment was how friendly and informed the staff were. Jacqui and I were very well taken care of.
This is one “very special” restaurant with amazing unique cuisine that delights.
The proprietor/ Chef, Craig Squires is a genius and his menu selection like no other.
His awards would need an entire book to list but include, Queensland Restaurants & Catering Three Awards for Excellence: Cairns Best Specialty Restaurant, Best Event Catering and Caterers of the Year. There are heaps of other awards from American Express, Diners Club and other prestigious outlets.
Having travelled the world and sampled almost every type of cuisine in the world’s best restaurants, it was a revelation to find I was at a loss in understanding listed ingredients. What were Illawarra Plums, Samphire, Bunya nuts, Kurrajong Flour, Lemon Aspen and Pepper leaf? I’d heard of Wattle Seed, but could not remember how it enhanced food. As for Quandong, this completely mystified me.
Not until we’d finished our meal did Craig sit and enthrall us with his knowledge of Bush Food. Who if anyone in Australia, other than Craig uses so much Bush ingredients?
Starting with Salt & native pepper crocodile & Prawns – Vietnamese pickles – * lemon aspen sambal (* Small pale lemon coloured fruit with a unique sharp citrus flavour and found in the rain forests from Sydney to the far north).
Soba noodle, lemon aspen cured ocean trout & asparagus – * lemon myrtle dressing (* lemon myrtle dressing. The leaves & stems of the rain forest tree exhibits a wonderful citrus flavour & aroma).
The menu is extensive with a great variety of dishes from Soups, Salads, Fish, and Pasta’s, but don’t look for too many familiar dishes, as most are unique. On the menu there is Kangaroo sirloin, either Char grilled or smoked wild spice crusted, Ostrich fillet and Emu paté.
The familiar dishes all have some added ingredient that makes them unique, such as, Tea Smoked Duck breast – vermicelli and coconut fritter – mango- Davidson plum and ginger glaze, or Grilled Lamb short loin – Mungalli mozzarella and eggplant roll, herb salad and bush tomato balsamic tar.
Apart from the Modern Australian Cuisine menu Red Ochre Grill offer light snacks that can be taken at lunch and here dishes may be well known to diners.
The menu is extensive and one should be bold and order food never eaten previously for it is a revelation to sample such delicious dishes all cooked to perfection and exquisitely presented.
Craig Squire is a Master Chef. He is in demand worldwide and countries such as Singapore and Dubai constantly require his presence where he demonstrates and advises Executive Chefs in the five star hotel restaurants of his unique brand of cooking.
His awards extend to Canada, USA, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Argentina. Download the outdoor events on his website and pages and pages of information are shown from conference dinners of 1250 people to a simple Beach Private lunch for 4 people.
Craig is proud of the food he offers. It is healthy, environmentally sympathetic, sustainable, and most importantly, tastes GREAT! And we fully condone that.
This is one of the most exciting restaurants in Queensland. It seats over 200 people many outdoor, weather permitting.
When in Cairns one should have at least one meal here, but be advised, one is never enough.