Choosing Café Balaena at the Great Sandy Straits Marina to catch up with long-time friends Peter and Yvonne last weekend proved to be more entertaining than Saucy Pierre* and I expected.
‘Dancing Dean’ was in fine form doing a knees-up routine and urging other guests to join him in singing Happy Birthday to three customers at different times throughout the evening.
I’d eaten at Café Balaena before, mostly about six or seven years ago when my youngest son Terry was a chef there. Pierre had also eaten there on many occasions.
So we were both familiar with the restaurant’s quality cuisine and stunning views over the marina but seeing owner Dean Major dancing around the tables was new to me.
It turns out Dean is well known for his enthusiastic routines, attracting positive comments on Tripadvisor.
Dirk W from Mermaid Beach wrote: “The man obviously loves his job and is good at it.”
LeanneP168 wrote: “The owner is fantastic. He is very hands on…. love his enthusiasm.”
Regarding the menu, another reviewer said there were some very strange combinations.
I wouldn’t say ‘strange’ as the word implies ‘weird’ or ‘distasteful’ but there were indeed some selections that you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else.
One such choice was Wagyu Beef and Caramelised Onion Pie.
It was made of rich and juicy wagyu beef chunks marinated in red wine, then enfolded in a homemade herb gravy with caramelised onion and garlic with Balaena green salad, chips and a mango and pawpaw chutney.
However, three on our table of four weren’t overly adventurous that night and we all ordered the Caribbean Chicken Breast (pictured above).
This was made of grilled chicken breast with Australian grown avocado, silky smooth hollandaise and camembert cheese on a bed of mixed potato mash.
All meals were brought to the table in good time and were well presented.
Of particular interest was that Pierre and I ordered our Rum & Cokes together at the same time but they were delivered in different glasses (pictured below), presumably to suit our male and female genders!
Mind you, I’m not complaining. We both enjoyed the Rum & Coke, as always. We just found the glass differences interesting in these days of gender equality.
*Saucy Pierre is not his real name. He’s shy, really!