I’ve had a quiet January cooking-wise, but I have wolfed down many tasty restaurant desserts. A few weeks ago seven female members of my immediate family gathered in Airlie Beach Qld for a big catch-up. Amongst our nightly barbecues, we squeezed in a trip to Cactus Jack’s Bar and Grill for some Mexican grub.
Tuesday nights are all-you-can-eat Chilli Con Carne for $10, but I have a pathetically low tolerance for spiciness so I opted for the Canrita Quesadillas hold-the-jalapenos-please for $9.50, which were filled with melted cheese and delicious pulled pork. I wasn’t overly hungry, so they filled me right up.
Others ordered the Chilli Con Carne so I had a spoonful. I wasn’t blown away by the taste but hey, for that price I’m not complaining.
For dessert we decided to share a plate of Chocolate Nachos for $6.95. They were cited as Cactus Jack’s famous signature dessert, described as “Crispy chocolate chips topped with our own special chocolate sauce then topped with cream and ice cream”. I resisted the urge to judge the double-use of ‘topped’ as I know how hard it can be to explain a dish where ingredients keep getting plopped over each other. ‘Plopped’. Hee hee.
When the dish came out it looked fabulous, but after sampling it we looked quizzically at each other. You know when you burn the toast you scrape off the singed bits, but sometimes you don’t get rid of it all and it leaves a slightly burnt taste in your mouth? Yep. That. These nachos tasted slightly burned, and that flavour overrode any goodness of the chocolate and ice cream. We sadly stopped eating.
When the waitress came to collect the plates and asked us how the dessert was, someone blurted out “terrible!” The waitress said darkly that she knew who must have prepared it, which made us wonder if there was an especially inept person in the kitchen that management had forgotten to fire.
The waitress asked if we wanted a replacement dessert, but we requested a small plate with just a few nachos on it so we could have one each and at least know what the first one was supposed to taste like. But a few minutes later, a full-size plate arrived at our table and we decided that yes, the large one would do quite nicely.
This time we got to taste what the dessert was really like – and although it wasn’t the most amazing chocolate experience I’ve had, it was very nice. The crunch of the nachos was lovely against the runny chocolate sauce and cold ice cream.
Aside from the first plate of chocolate nachos, all the food was reasonably tasty and exactly what you’d expect from a Mexican-themed grill. The service was fantastic, with lots of chatty waitresses, and although the place was pretty rowdy we could still hear ourselves speak.
Something to note: If you try to make a booking and they say they’re full, try a different waitress. The second one we spoke to promised us a table and made one appear when we arrived. Miraculous!