The Tamarind Restaurant is the culinary heart of The Reef Hotel and Casino complex. The multi-award winning restaurant has grown its reputation for an inventive fusion of Asian and Western cuisine, with staff that pays meticulous care to the smallest of details.
The restaurant is the only hatted restaurant in Cairns, and boasts a plush interior with a customer base to match. Floor to ceiling windows open the main room into the outside world, and atmospheric lighting perches above the tables. You can also opt for an alfresco dining experience with seating in the outdoor terrace.
Executive Chef, Mark Jensen, has racked up an incredible resume, starting his career in London as a Junior Chef to Ed Baines, and working his way through the greats – working with Gordon Ramsay, Marcus Wareing and Marco Pierre White in turn. After returning to Australia, he garnered more experience across the country, achieving two-hat status as Chef de Cuisine at Marco Polo in Brisbane and Head Chef at Spicers Peak Lodge.
His track record comes to fruition here at Tamarind, with a lovingly crafted menu born of experience and an inherent talent for fine flavours. Mark only uses the very best of hand selected, local produce. With this he forms contemporary cuisine that is rooted in Thai traditions but enhanced with broad Asian and Australian influences. The aim is to take diners on a taste journey around the region with local seafood, produce from the Atherton Tableland and exotic products from the Daintree.
Starting your meal with the Tamarind Taster Plate will prepare you for what’s to come – it features cured salmon with light miso, glazed pork with turmeric sauce and beef tataki with rendang oil.
The mains on offer range from black kingfish fillet with spanner crab congee, quail egg, smoked caviar and dashi, to whole crispy baby barramundi with tamarind, chilli and garlic sauce. Each choice is complimented by the authentic, simple sides, including lotus root chips with tom yum aioli and green papaya salad with peanuts and nahm jim. The vegetarian menu is equally as impressive, with tempura tofu and Penang pumpkin curry, and Moroccan salad and lotus root curry, there’s fine dining for everyone here.
Complete the meal with one of the delicious desserts on offer, we suggest the Callebaut chocolate terrine with summer berries, jelly and pistachio praline, or a classic vanilla pannacotta, served with poached pear, pear sorbet and sautérnes jelly.
After dessert take a moment to savour the artisanal cocktail menu, with delicious, bespoke drinks such as a Japanese Rose – a mix of Midori melon, peach, cranberry, passionfruit and lime. For something more tropical order the Kaffir and Coconut Caprioska – a sunny mix of Malibu, Smirnoff Vodka, kaffir leaves, brown sugar, lime wedges, soda and kaffir pearls. The list of awards and accolades received by Tamarind is almost as long as its 100-strong wine list, with old and new world choices that pair perfectly with the well crafted menu.
Every item on the menu is perfectly planned and well executed. Together with faultless staff and a tantalising cocktail list, Tamarind will remain a hotspot for both tourists and locals alike.