Cactus Jack's on Redcliffe Parade, Redcliffe is one of the area's newest eateries. Advertising itself as "the best Tex Mex over the border," my family had been eager to try it since it opened late last year. Our concern was our two children, 4 and 6, who are fairly fussy eaters. On a whim, and with grandparents in tow, we decided to try it out one Sunday for lunch.
The experience was definitely a case of the good, the bad and the ugly.
The good was the food and the atmosphere. It's one of those places with wacky weird stuff all over the walls and the copper pot light shades and bottle candelabras were a hoot. Plenty for the kids to amuse themselves looking at while the adults pored over the well priced and well stocked menu.
We had all our entrees and mains come out together so we could all share, and they came fast and as ordered. The kids had the Flag dip and the nuggets, the adults had the pork ribs, the burger, the prawn and avocado tostaditas and the Jalapeno and cheese poppers. The kids enjoyed the guacamole, as did the adults that tried it, but avoided the sour cream and salsa. The adults food was excellent although the texture of the meat patty was a little strange.
The bad was the service and a coffee lover's disaster. We came in at lunchtime and were lucky to be some of the first seated, thereby beating the rush. Our service was fast and accurate but the wait staff don't seem to know much about the food and had trouble with simple questions about how spicy things were and if they were appropriate for kids, hence our decision to go with the safe yet boring nuggets and dips. Kids on other tables also had colouring sheets, which we were not offered. The coffee was nobody's fault and the waiters response was actually pretty amusing. After ordering coffee and deserts he came out and told us, in great detail, about how the coffee machine blew up "there's milk everywhere" he told us, "it really blew up".
The bad is was the dessert service. We ordered the delicious sounding cheesecake and the signature chocolate nachos and then chatted while we waited, and waited, and waited. As anyone with kids will attest almost an hour waiting for desert with nothing to do is not going to make for happy and settled children. In the end we gave up and got an excellent gelato up the road.
Overall good food in a good atmosphere that was let down a little by average wait staff and let down a lot by missing deserts. We will be trying it again at a less busy time.